The Importance of Accepting Failure Mindfully

Success and failure are two sides of the coin called life and if we know how to celebrate success, it is equally important to accept and understand failure too. Most of us are familiar with the concept of mindfulness, at least in relation to parenting and connecting with ourselves.

The same mindfulness might come in handy when dealing with failures too. Experts say that practicing mindfulness techniques might help individuals accept failure more gracefully and mindfully.

 Importance of Accepting Failure Mindfully

Failure is a common aspect of life, especially in the competitive world we live in today. Children face constant pressure to perform well, in school and outside. And, when this pressure to excel in everything gets to them, some children start taking even small failures to heart.

A natural reaction to failure, small or big, is shame, which can also impact our ability to think reasonably, induce negativity and may even lead to severe emotional problems depending on the magnitude of the failure.

Even if you are good at providing compassion and encouragement to your loved ones dealing with a failure, it might not be as easy to do the same for yourself. This is where mindfulness techniques can come into play.

Mindfulness techniques help us become more aware of the present situation and make a deeper connection with ourselves, and when practiced regularly, it may help us deal with failures more effectively.

The first step recommended by mindfulness experts is learning how to show self-compassion. Studies have shown that self-compassion can considerably improve emotional well-being by reducing anxiety and depression and improving optimism and satisfaction, bettering the overall quality of life.

How to Accept Failure Mindfully

Studies have shown that students who follow mindfulness techniques are better equipped to handle failures. One such research studied the reactions of 243 students who were given a short general knowledge test and provided the same score of 53 percent.

It was noticed that the students who regularly practiced mindfulness techniques were able to accept their grades gracefully and take it as a challenge to prepare better for a future test.

Another interesting study observed two groups of people, meditators and non-meditators respectively. Each person was given a set of words containing adjectives for self-praise and self-criticism and was placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) device. The scientists studied each individual as they read through the positive and negative words. The study showed that those who meditated regularly did not show much emotional fluctuation while reading each adjective when compared to those who did not meditate.

The researchers studying these groups believe that the group of meditators had an elevated level of emotional balance, which increased their ability to accept positive and negative qualities equally. This is exactly how mindfulness techniques are said to help with failures — by teaching us how to accept them just like we accept successes.

Mindfulness techniques to help us understand and accept failure:

  • Understand that humans are prone to failure and failures are stepping stones to future success.
  • Accept failure as an integral part of life. This acknowledgment might help you positively deal with the failure and future decisions based on it.
  • An integral part of accepting and understanding the failure is to figure out its cause. It may have been because of something you did or you may just have been outdone by an opponent who was better prepared.
  • Understanding the cause of failure can help you learn what not to do or what you could improve the next time you attempt the same task.
  • Learn your lesson from one failure and ensure you don’t fail again in the same way. While failing is not seen as a big drawback, failing the same way multiple times might be ridiculed.

The key to mindfulness is to learn to treat yourself with the same compassion and warmth you would provide to a friend who is suffering from a failure or setback. Once you learn the trick, failures will become just another experience that you can brush past with ease.


References

Germer, C. (2017, August 01). To Recover from Failure, Try Some Self-Compassion. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/01/to-recover-from-failure-try-some-self-compassion

Can Mindfulness Help Students Cope with Failure? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_mindfulness_help_students_cope_with_failure

M. (n.d.). 5 Ways to Fail Gracefully. Retrieved from http://thefreshexchange.com/business-time-moment-feel-like-failure/