zenhabits : breathe

I Failed

By Leo Babauta

It’s a feeling deep within your heart, one you try to ignore, of heaviness. Of dread and discouragement. Of sadness and guilt and collapse.

I feel this heaviness in my chest when I fail.

It can make me feel like crying. I feel lonely and I want to give up. I want to fall on a bed and shut out the world. But that doesn’t work, because the feeling follows me into bed, and actually intensifies until finally I have to get out of bed to try to escape it.

Failure can hurt.

People get this idea about me, that I am successful and disciplined and gurulike. I’m successful at life, but not in the way people imagine. I’m not disciplined. I’m certainly no guru. I fail, all the time, and the heaviness can come in small doses or big waves, unpredictably.

What do I fail at? Let me count the ways:

I failed at all these things and more.

What Can Be Done

What can you do when you have the heavy feeling of failure in your heart? It’s not always so easy.

The answer, of course, is action. That’s not always easy because when you have the heavy feeling, you don’t feel like taking action.

You take the action anyway. You take it because you know if you don’t, you feel worse, and eventually your life degrades to the point where you don’t respect yourself anymore. You take the action anyway.

Here’s what I do:

Take one step. Any step.

It lightens the heart. It shows you that things aren’t insurmountable or impossible. It starts to dissolve the discouragement and sadness and pain.

The single step you take today is the antidote to the soul-tearing effects of failure. It helps me, every day.



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