Hey everyone! It’s no secret that we all experience tough times and sometimes feel hopeless with no end in sight. Always remember that you are not alone! Here are a few healthy ways that we believe can help with feelings of failure and negativity.
Not Letting Failure Define You
Oftentimes, when we want something so badly and we miss it just by a few inches, we let that failure define the way we view ourselves. Rather than letting that one experience define our sense of self and discourage the pursuit of other challenges and goals, we need to take that one failure off of the high pedestal that we have put it on. Instead of centering our entire life around that one setback, it's healthier to allow ourselves to sulk for only a temporary amount of time, and then find ways to learn from that experience and move on. When we reach for the moon and land at the stars, it's not a failure; rather, we should commemorate the successes and achievements that even got us there. The journey traveled is far more valuable than just the destination.
Going to a competitive college surrounded by so many other high-achieving students, we often get wrapped up in numbers, stats, and comparing ourselves to the person next to us. Sometimes it even comes to a point where we feel better as long as we did marginally better than others. It's in these times that we should remind ourselves that we each have unique goals, and comparing ourselves to others is pointless given that we each have different, defining experiences. People may look perfect on paper, whether it's a good GPA, test scores, or social life but everyone has insecurities and difficulties, and you probably just don't know the whole story. Do you, because nobody can do it better.
Make a Concrete Plan to Achieve your Long-term Goals
Everyone tells you to dream big, make a vision board, and reach for the stars, yet we often don’t know where to start to make those dreams a reality. Start by making a plan; it’s probably not a 5- or even a 10-step plan to make your dream happen, but realizing that is often half the battle. Don’t be afraid to start small, maybe step 1 is googling something or even just having a meaningful conversation, but when you accomplish that small task, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re one step closer to accomplishing your goal. Also, if plan A doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to explore plans B-Z! Sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, but what’s important is to not give up if we really, really want something. Trust yourself, believe in the process, and make it happen!
Block Out the Haters
For many people, friendships evolve and change throughout life, and when you feel that a friendship is doing more harm than good to your mental wellbeing, it is totally fine to slightly distance yourself from that person. Allow yourself the power of choosing who you want and don’t want in your life. Negativity doesn’t have to just appear as a form of added stress in your life, but it can also appear in the form of downers. These are the people who are always complaining, gossiping, or flat-out just don’t have your best interest in mind. If this is the case, take the time to distinguish if this person just needs to vent or if they’re being intentionally negative. If this person is actually just having a rough day and needs a friend to hear them out, then be there for them. Cutting people out of your life doesn’t mean you hate them, it just means you respect yourself.
Differentiating between negativity and constructive criticism
We all have an ego, and when that gets hurt or compromised, we sometimes retaliate in unhealthy ways. Remember that how we perceive feedback is entirely in our hands meaning that once we stop deciding to hide behind a wall of defensiveness, we can allow ourselves to perceive feedback as constructive criticism, rather than negativity. The next time someone gives feedback, try and detach the information from the messenger. It’s important to do so in order to maintain a healthy relationship with the messenger regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the feedback.You have the power to decide whether or not you want to take the criticism. If you feel like it is helpful and can make you better, embrace it, and if not, don’t feel bad in discarding it. It takes both sun and rain for a flower to grow!