A dropped ice cream cone lies on the ground, melting into the sidewalk.

5 tips for embracing (and learning from) failure

Let’s face it: things don’t always turn out the way we’d like. A setback, rejection, a loss – however it comes at us, we’ll all have to face disappointment at some point. But learning to face hurdles with emotional maturity and resilience can make all the difference between moving forward onto something better, or getting stuck.

When life knocks you down, follow these five tips to get yourself back on your feet.

1. Feel those feelings for real

Failure and rejection can leave you feeling down in the dumps or even humiliated. You may be tempted to put on a brave face and soldier on. But the fastest way to move through a painful experience is to acknowledge that it hurts. You don’t have to wallow in sadness, but by being honest about your emotions, you’ll validate your feelings. Practice a little mindfulness to slow down and let yourself feel what’s going on inside.

2. Be kind to yourself

We’re often quick to jump to self-judgment. While you may think being harsh on yourself will motivate you to do better, research suggests that self-criticism hinders your ability to achieve your goals. The best thing you can do is to treat yourself with the care and concern that you would a friend who is going through something similar – be encouraging and kind and you’re more likely to get up and have another go.

3. Reframe it

Put things into perspective: it’s pretty unlikely this one failure will last forever. It’s just one small part of a bigger picture. Don’t take it personally. Plus, consider what lessons or benefits you can take from this setback. Asked for a raise for the first time ever, and got knocked back? You just took an important first step. Maybe you’ll approach it differently next time – but at least you’ve lost that fear of the unknown.

Put things into perspective: it’s pretty unlikely this one failure will last forever. It’s just one small part of a bigger picture.

4. Talk it out

Heard that saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”? It’s a classic for good reason. Talking it out with someone else can give us perspective, and having a support network makes us more resilient, so we can bounce back faster.

5. Take action

Once you’ve had time to process your thoughts and feelings, it’s time to move forward. What you choose to do next will depend on your situation, but the important thing is to do something that initiates momentum and change. You may have to take a step back to move two steps forward, but at least you’re moving again. Success needs a springboard, and this could be yours.

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