Failure stings bad. It really hurts and there is no one great way of processing it. People always tell you to learn from your failures, but I’ve found myself taking that too far sometimes. Blaming myself for small mistakes that didn’t go right, getting upset and frustrated, vowing to be better and to learn, only to fail again. I find that too often I end up in a cycle of blaming myself for failing to improve on previous failures.
I lost 5 elections at university before winning my first one. As a candidate and campaign manager, I have failed over and over again. And it used to keep me up at night. It sucks not being able to fall asleep because I keep replaying moments in my head. It’s awful to walk down the halls past your peers and think “did that person not want me to represent them” with every passing face. It’s dreadful getting flustered and anxious when I make any small mistake because I am terrified of failing again.
I spent a lot of time in my first few years of university getting hung up on the things that I did wrong and failing to recognize everything that I did right. But now I’ve started to realize that despite all my losses, I made so many new friends, had tons of really cool discussions, pushed my opponents to be better leaders, and did way more things right than I did wrong. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture has allowed me to appreciate that I am not a bad person or a failure or just a collection of my mistakes, I’m more than that. And if I have to fail to get all the other good stuff, then that’s ok with me.