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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

No one likes to fail. We all hate not getting things right, messing up or just plain being bad at something. Research shows fear of failure, and shame after failure can have a profoundly negative impact on our mental health. But, did you know that failure can help us to become stronger and more connected to other people?

Literature outlines that failure can have a positive impact on helping individuals become more aware of themselves, teaching life lessons and increasing emotional resiliency. The ability to walk into a situation and be content with the prospect of failing is what researcher Dr. Brené Brown refers to as “vulnerability.” While the vulnerability is different from failure, the ability to steer into vulnerability with gusto is knowing failure is possible, but it is not life ending.

So why is the belief of being vulnerable even in the face of failure so important? Because stepping into treatment is all about being susceptible to failure. Real treatment involves looking honestly and forgivingly at the missteps we have taken and admitting that we did not get it right. It is about saying that my past failure is acceptable, and those events do not define me.

Treatment is also about having the courage to try something new without an attachment to getting it right the first, second, third, or even fourth time. It is about implementing change, but understanding that if these changes do not work that you are not flawed, but just need other techniques. Dr. Brown calls it “the courage to be imperfect.” She says that people who are connected and feel worthy are also those who “can jump into something even though there are no guarantees.”

“Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.”

If you think that there is no way you can face your fears alone consider partnering with a good therapist. Working together, with the therapist as navigator, you can grow to accept the failure for what it is; gather lessons from the failure, and move forward to a place of strength afterward.

How do you get started on the path to the best you?

  • Be willing to laugh at yourself. We are all human, and we all make mistakes, so why not laugh about it?
  • Be open to accepting feedback. How do we know what we can improve if no one tells us?
  • Be willing to step into discomfort. Just because we do not like something does not mean it will not help us grow. I mean, look at kale.
  • Gather support. Talk about your fears about failing and get support going into something scary. Knowing we are loved from the start makes it easier to fight the demons.

The truth is we never get rid of the fear of failure. But, with help and practice, we can be better at accepting and growing from failure. The result of this is better relationships overall, not just with others, but with ourselves.

If you or a loved one have questions regarding a mental illness, seek guidance from a mental health provider that is right for you. You do not have to face this challenge alone, Pasadena Villa can help. Call us at 877-845-5235 or complete our contact form to help with the next steps of treatment. Pasadena Villa Network of Psychiatric Services currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health disorder, Pasadena Villa can help. We are here to answer questions and connect to care. Pasadena Villa currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Cary, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about our program, call us at
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