We ALL fail at various points in our lives in different areas whether it is in relationships, sports, competition, job and career issues, medical and health issues, financial, and any other catastrophes and scenarios you can think of.

How foolish and narcissistic is it to think we will be the only ones that don’t fail?

So, if you are reading this article, then perhaps consider you were meant to, as there are no coincidences, and if you are experiencing some type of failure, which can be quite painful emotionally and psychologically, I present to you some ways you can work to get through it all in a kind and loving manner.

Since I have had a lot of experiences with failure, I consider myself to be an expert.

I used to identify as an athlete. Two times, at pivotal points in my life my body “failed,” as in I injured myself in competition, and my life path was diverted. The first time led me to discover a passion for traveling and experiencing the world and our common humanity, which was invaluable. I am forever grateful to John Romano for guiding me to Thailand. The second time my body “failed” I was considering focusing on playing a sport that would have taken me away from my life’s work. I had just started graduate school at the time and truly felt in my core that the Universe was telling me that while athletics were what I wanted to do, to be the star athlete, that there was far more to my life and my soul’s purpose.

Now, I already mentioned that there are no coincidences. That may be difficult to accept for some of you reading this, but everything happens for a reason. It was VERY difficult to accept that I was no longer going to be a star athlete (whether real or imagined, lol), that part of me had to die, and in fact years later I now know we die many deaths in our lives. Thus, we must allow ourselves the space and permission to grieve, this is very important. You can’t skip this step, otherwise you will end up like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite living in 1982.

When you have gone through the grief process you will at some point come to a state of acceptance. This is when you are at peace in your heart about the failure. Not to scare anyone but if you willingly put effort into healing and want to heal you will find peace, but if you refuse to accept the failure or learn from it then this process can take a lifetime, which unfortunately I have seen, where people cannot let go of the failure.

Mindfulness can play a role in your healing by learning to cultivate a kind, nonjudgmental, and investigative curiosity about the failure. What was the lesson? When in doubt, zoom out to see other perspectives, as many as you need to find closure. I find it helpful to think about The Blind Men and the Elephant poem. Keep in mind every life has a purpose and there are lessons we are meant to learn, grow, and expand. In fact we choose them.

Be careful not to get stuck in a victim mindset. Blaming others is a defense mechanism. It is easy to blame others for the failure, especially in relationships. You may need to forgive yourself, and you may need to forgive others, this is a powerful way of being. One technique I find extraordinarily helpful is the Ho Oponopono– which is a Hawaiian mantra/prayer: “I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you.” It can also be very difficult to forgive others, but I will say this, it is a superpower, and will unlock new levels in your life if you can.

Here is the brutal truth about failure. Failures are catalysts for growth.  Failures are opportunities for growth. Failures are valuable lessons that inform and teach us soul expansion so that we can become the fullest expressions of ourselves.

One of my failures on the golf course involved shanking a shot in front of people during a playoff in a tournament. I was exposed, I sucked, and felt embarrassed and was so angry at myself for my failure. I was ashamed. But you know what? It was one of my first tournaments of consequence, and I made it into the playoff. I think I broke 80 for the first time, in a lot of ways it was a monumental success for me, but I didn’t see it that way for a long time. It made me work very hard and practice until eventually I was nearly the medalist the following year. That failure paid dividends in the long run, heck, I’m still talking about it.

I know a lot of successful people; I am blessed in that way and hope you are too. One of the lessons that I have learned from them is they have great stories about failure, and they see obstacles as challenges to be overcome. Their failures don’t define them, they motivate them, for if you are going to be successful in life and you are living fully, then you are going to fail. So, I hope you fail, lovingly, because it means you are growing, and you are alive.

I shared on the Movement is Medicine Podcast some advice I received from Patricia Rockman, M.D.  who is a renowned mindfulness teacher who said to my classmates…”you will fail, you will let people down, you will let yourself down… go make glorious mistakes.” It is some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I hated hearing it at the time, because I knew she was right. If I wanted to be a great mindfulness teacher, then I was going to have to make many mistakes on my journey. I am still making mistakes, but that doesn’t mean I am not having fun trying.

If you have failed, don’t be hating on yourself, be kind, and remember you are alive, this is the essence of full catastrophe living.  May this guide serve you well as you overcome life’s challenges and become the fullest expression of your beautiful soul.