Failure seems like one of the hardest things to deal with in life. When it comes, we end up feeling things like disappointment, embarrassment, vulnerability, discouragement, and shame. I recently experienced a failure in my life. I didn’t meet the agreed upon expectations and let down some important people in my life. I found myself sinking into despair, feeling like I was a failure. Instead of addressing these feelings, I secluded myself, ignored my responsibilities, and hid. When processing these events with a close friend, I received a much-needed reality check. She reminded me of my humanness. Reminded me that failing at something didn’t make me the failure, it made me human.

Dealing with failure isn’t an easy task, but it’s one that we all experience at many points in our lives and must learn how to navigate. I definitely don’t recommend following my example and avoiding it. Instead, I recommend starting by acknowledging your feelings, all those bad feelings I talked about before. You’re probably going to be embarrassed and sad. Let yourself feel that. Cry if you need to. Scream into a pillow. Punch your bed or couch if you’re feeling angry. But, then give yourself space for compassion. Remember that you’re human. You’re not the first one to fail, and you definitely won’t be the last. It may feel like you’ve made the biggest mess up ever, but you haven’t. Even if you have, you’re still worthy of compassion and forgiveness.

Another thing that may help you heal from this event is to consider what went wrong. Looking back, you may realize you made a bad choice or trusted the wrong person. Don’t beat yourself up over this. As I said before, we all do it. This is a great time to learn more about yourself and how to improve chances of success in the future.

On the other hand, maybe nothing at all went wrong. Sometimes things just don’t work out or aren’t meant for us. That might make it hurt even more because there’s nothing else you could’ve done. One of the hardest parts of life is accepting that things don’t always go our way. Relationships fail, jobs hire the other candidate, and that doesn’t mean that you weren’t enough. It’s in those moments that we have to remind ourselves that our value is not found in our successes and failures.

Sometimes our failures affect other people. Maybe you let down your boss, friend, or partner. This brings up another hard thing to deal with: taking accountability for our actions. For me, this meant going to the people I had hurt, apologizing to them, and seeking ways to begin rebuilding the trust I had lost. You may also have to correct some work that you did incorrectly or repair the relationship in other ways. Often, acknowledging your mistake will do more to heal the fractured relationship than anything else. It’s challenging, but it’s so worth it.

If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: failures are a normal part of life. You aren’t less worthy of love, acceptance, or compassion if you don’t succeed at something. If anything, it means that you deserve it even more!