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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

There are many reasons perfectionism is toxic, but ultimately, the search for perfection is never-ending and will leave you stressed and unsatisfied. Luckily, there is much to learn from failure. 

Therefore, you must allow yourself the space to make mistakes, and not only forgive yourself for faults but actively embrace failure. 

But how do you embrace failure in a society that praises perfection?

Practice Self-Forgiveness

Before you can embrace failure, you must first forgive yourself for making mistakes. There are obvious benefits of self-forgiveness; however, forgiveness requires understanding, empathy, and maturity. To forgive yourself, there are three steps:

  1. Acknowledge your mistakes. Understand your errors, how they occurred, and who they may have affected. 
  2. Apologize to anyone you may have hurt– including yourself. Apologies recognize the negative outcomes and validate any feelings that may have followed.
  3. Accept the consequences. After reflecting on your mistakes and apologizing, the only thing you can do is forgive yourself, learn from the experience, and move forward with acceptance. 

View Failure as an Opportunity

Failure is often seen as an ending when it is actually a beginning. Avoid allowing failure to stop you by embedding fear into you. Fear can literally freeze you, causing you to remain stuck. Don’t let this happen! 

When one door closes, another door opens.

Alexander Graham Bell

Yes, your previous approach failed. However, mistakes are an opportunity to try something new– begin a new journey. Failure is something to embrace, not something to fear.

Focus on the Journey, Not the Result 

When you tie your happiness to the future, you deny yourself satisfaction in the present. You cannot embrace failure if you are attached to a specific result. 

Instead, try to enjoy your life as it is right now. Sure, you may make a mistake and fail every now and then. So, what? There are always details to appreciate about a situation. Ask yourself what you can learn and love about the present.

Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.

Eric Thomas

Rid Yourself of Unrealistic Expectations

Stoic philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca suggests that human dissatisfaction stems from unrealistic expectations. Because you expect yourself to be perfect, you are unhappy when you fail. 

Drop these unrealistic expectations and strive only to grow and learn. Whether you fail or make a mistake, try again. If your goal is to persist and develop even through error, success will follow when you embrace failure. 

 Allow yourself the space to make mistakes. Failure is inevitable, but it need not be harmful. By forgiving yourself, recognizing the positive opportunities mistakes present, focusing on the process rather than expected results, and dropping impossible expectations, you can embrace failure to further grow, learn, and truly succeed.

What are you waiting for? Go make mistakes!

Kelly Wilcox

Georgia Southern '22

Kelly Wilcox is a senior Writing & Linguistics and Philosophy double major at Georgia Southern University. She has a passion for writing in all forms; however, her areas of focus are essay writing--articles and features, editing, and new adult fiction. When she isn’t writing, Kelly enjoys caring for her two cats, betta fish, tank snail, and ferret. She also values spending quality time with her loved ones when possible. Her dream is to write and edit content for a lifestyle, entertainment, or news-focused publication while writing romantic NA fiction during her spare time. Want to see more of Kelly? IG: @kelly_wilcox_c //Twitter: @kellywilcoxc //Gmail: [email protected]
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