Today’s conversation is about two common ‘F’ Words: Failings and Forgiveness.
There are a number of reasons why these are on my mind this week. One, because a friend of mine competing in a major Iron Man challenge had to pull out towards the end of it. Another is the Simone Biles conversations that are spinning around in the news and social media this week. The third is the result of meeting up with some friends who are currently struggling to come to terms with a past failure.
Why is Failing Bad?
Firstly, I explore the word Failure and why failing is considered such a bad thing. Going back to childhood early years, our life is predominantly made up of failures. Babies fail all the time, and yet we don’t criticise them for it. In fact we congratulate them for trying and actively encourage them to try again.
So where does it all go wrong? What happens in individuals and in society to turn failure into such a terrible thing? And why is it filled with guilt and shame? When do we start comparing ourselves to others and interpret not being ‘as good as them’ as not good enough?
The pain of our own failure is deeply embedded in our human psyche, and criticism and comparison is deeply engaged in our culture. What happens when we fail and choose to give up has repercussions especially when others have expectations on our success.
So when is giving up acceptable and when is it something to fear or be ashamed of? What are the triggers that make failing good or bad? And what happens when our own failing has a direct negative effect on the lives of others?
This is a massive topic and people spend years in therapy dealing with the issues of failure, guilt and shame. So it is not feasible to unpick it all here. However, when we do start picking it apart, we can easily recognise the benefits of being kinder to ourselves and others.
Where Does Forgiveness Fit In?
It’s time to start facing our difficulty with failure and learn to forgive ourselves and other people.
There are already many people like this week’s podcast guest Nate Dukes, who are challenging their own views of failure and learning to forgive themselves. And there are others like Elon Musk who have overcome the stigma and use failure as a positive tool for learning and development. So what can we learn from them and apply to our own lives? And what can we learn from accepting other people’s failings?
In exploring both our own failings, and our reactions or criticism to the failings of others there is an opportunity to change the way we view failure forever. So I am inviting you to join me in exploring your personal relationship with failure and discover the benefits you can gain through acceptance and forgiveness.
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