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Rebuilding Self-Esteem After Failure

Written by: Succès Scolaire

April 13, 2015

There are so many meaningful sayings or quotes about success and failure, some of the more famous being:

  • "The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every fall." (Confucius)
  • "Falling is not a failure. The failure is to stay there where you fell." (Socrates)
  • "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." (Thomas A. Edison)
  • "all seven times and stand up eight." Japanese proverb

Failures are life lessons. We fall so we can learn to pick ourselves back up again, whatever the situation. It’s good to remind ourselves of these quotes when going through tough times or after failing at something, anything. But is there a manual of some sort to help us get through this unpleasant experience faster and regain confidence? Let’s explore the subject further.

An F graded exam or paper can be crushing

Failing an exam at school can be tough as this occurs at a time when children are building their self-esteem, and can hinder this development. Weather 6 or 16 years old, the feeling that comes with failure is never pleasant. W experiencing it, it’s important to remember that we are fundamentally built to overcome such challenges. Mankind, regardless of age, has an amazing capacity to bounce back. This is what psychologists refer to as resilience. Keeping one’s chin up, head held high and persevering through hardship can be learned and applied.

Taking your mind off things

The first step consists in recovery. The student should find an activity to take his mind off the event in question. Failing can often trigger feelings of inadequacy; these have to be kept in check as being overly self-critical is very unhealthy. Self-compassion is the prelude to regaining self-confidence. So, as soon as the opportunity presents itself, find an activity in which it’s easy to rebuild a sense of worth. This is the best way to regain self-esteem. If history or mathematics are subjects that come more easily, then focus on your upcoming presentation of Canada’s history or practice a few math problems. You’ll find satisfaction in the feeling that you can successfully achieve your goals. 

What went wrong?

Once you’ve recovered from the initial blow, it’s important to establish what happened; to make a diagnosis of some sorts. However, it’s crucial to tread carefully. According to some experts, one should be careful to interpret what happened properly... and do not forget to show yourself compassion. Basically, rather than declare yourself to be a loser, try to understand what led you to fail. This step is simple as there are only two answers to this outcome!

The first option is that the student neglected to study or prepare sufficiently. Such situations bring the student to realize that not everything comes easy, and that time and effort are needed to succeed.

The other option is that the student didn't understand the subject matter or assignment. This type of situation should raise a red flag regarding the student’s comprehension of a school subject. The only solution is to work extra hard to master this subject or turn to another subject to excel, while remembering that we all have our limitations.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that failure does not have an irremediable effect on a student and his self-esteem.

Once these two recommendations are applied, students will be able to take a step back from this event and see that failures are nothing more than opportunities to rise above and gain self-knowledge.

Article by School Success

 

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