How Do I Move Past Failure? 5 Steps to Embrace Your Mistakes

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How Do I Move Past Failure? 5 Steps to Embrace Your Mistakes

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
February 12, 2024
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We all imagine the glory of success – accepting an award, signing autographs, or getting a big promotion – but we don’t usually fantasize about the times we fall short or mess up along the way to that success. Looking at our role models and the people we admire, it’s easy to only see their successes. We aren’t often privy to all the times they have failed prior to their success. It can give us a false perception of what it means to make mistakes.

Failing doesn’t feel good. It can make us feel shameful, down, or lesser about ourselves. But failure is actually an important part of our spiritual journey that can lead to positive transformation and lasting fulfillment. Failure sets us up for future success and is an integral part of our growth when used properly.

Here are 5 steps to embrace your mistakes and move past failure:

1. Seek to become a better person, not just a successful one. 

It’s natural to want to be successful in life, but we don’t always think about the importance of becoming better people. In truth, the path to happiness and fulfillment is through actively bettering ourselves. We are meant to be in a constant process of change and transformation, and failure is an important part of that process. 

Envision the blessings you want in life and understand those blessings are waiting for you, but the version you are now is not ready to receive them yet. Those blessings are waiting for your transformed self. 

Seeking transformation is not just about gaining success or new skills – it is a view of life that influences how we face each day. Seek change for the sake of your soul, not for success or to impress other people, and know that failure is naturally part of that transformation.

2. Create a judgment-free, safe space with yourself.

When we don’t have a healthy relationship with ourselves, failure can lead us to become overly self-critical and feel shameful. These negative feelings can cause us to avoid learning from our mistakes because we are scared to admit them to ourselves. 

People sometimes think change isn’t possible for them and have so much fear around failure that they can be paralyzed in their lives. We think people will laugh at us or that we’ll look stupid if we mess up. We get stuck by that narrative in our heads instead of looking at failure as necessary practice until we excel. 

Work on creating a safe space with yourself. Give yourself patience and mercy. Failure doesn’t mean you aren’t capable or intelligent. It means you are putting in effort and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. 

3. Understand mistakes reveal powerful areas for you to grow. 

When you realize your reason for being is to change, then you can start to view failure as one of the most important aspects of that process. Failure shows us the areas we need to put effort towards. If you’ve never mistakenly hurt someone, how do you know you have to learn to be more conscious of others? If you’ve never yelled at someone and felt bad about it, how would you learn that your work is to diminish your anger? 

Mistakes shine a light on the areas we need to change. In that way, they are actually a blessing! So often, we are blind to the areas we need to focus our growth on. Mistakes give us a roadmap to becoming the person that can receive the blessings we are meant to have. 

Ask yourself, “What are the 3 biggest things I need to change?” Becoming clear about those areas for change is the biggest blessing because it is the road towards transformation.

4. Take responsibility and avoid shifting blame to others.

Very often, when we make mistakes, we look to see who we can blame because we don’t want to take the burden of the responsibility on ourselves. Admitting we’ve made a mistake means we have to now do the work to process it and learn from it. Blaming others is our ego saying we don’t need to change because it’s all someone else’s fault. This only limits our ability to grow. When we don’t admit our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them and not grow from them. We grow from our failures when we take responsibility and reflect upon the mistakes made.

Think about an area of your life where you are blaming someone else. Reflect upon where there’s something about you that needs to change in the situation. It isn’t about who is right or wrong but about how you can use the situation to better yourself.

5. Put in consistent effort to change.

So many people have a moment of clarity about what they need to change but fail to have the perseverance to see it through. We often address mistakes in the immediate but don’t invest the long-term effort needed to truly transform them. Change only happens over time with consistent work. 

Think about the things you’ve given up on because you weren’t immediately good at them. What would’ve happened if you had kept trying before giving up? What are the things you did stick with and change about yourself? Remind yourself how fulfilling overcoming that hurdle was, and strive to keep that mentality in the most important areas of your growth.

No one likes to fail, but with the right consciousness, we can start to understand the spiritual purpose of mistakes and embrace them as powerful tools for transformation. Use your mistakes as guideposts, showing you the path to becoming a better person. Take responsibility for them and have kindness for yourself when you stumble. Know that your mistakes and failures are leading you to the person you are meant to become. We can’t rise without falling first.

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