Failing at Not Failing

No one likes to fail. The problem is that those who grow the most in their personal and professional lives aren’t afraid of failure either. They’ve not only learned, but also internalized the fact that failure is how we learn.

Yet failure is particularly difficult for me. My anxiety disorder convinces me that I am destined to fail. It convinces me that everyone will judge me because of my failure. And it makes me fear that everyone I love will leave me because of that failure. When this vicious cycle is particularly bad, it will trigger a depression that prevents me from doing anything, even those things that I know are well within my abilities.

Yet even when it is less severe, this anxiety over failing nevertheless holds me back. It prevents me from taking calculated risks. It prevents me from trying something new because of my fear of failure. And instead I fail at not failing.

And I know, that sentence is a hot mess full of failure. If any grammarians are still reading, I am sorry, seriously. What I am really saying is that I am failing at succeeding, at growing. But that isn’t how my brain works. My brain doesn’t look at it as failing at succeeding. My brain looks at it as succeeding at not failing.

Yet by not trying I fail before I even begin. I fail to grow. I fail to learn. I fail to experience new things. I fail to push back against my mental health demons when they tell me that I am not good enough, I am not strong enough, or that I am not smart enough to succeed at this new challenge.

Because history does not support the lies my demons whisper in the dark of night. I have accomplished a lot. And I’m betting so have you.

Because I know that I am not alone among the anxious minds out there. And I am guessing that some of the other anxious minds let their anxiety hold them back too. But even without knowing you personally I can tell you that you are capable of so much more than your mental illnesses will ever let you believe. All you have to do is put the mental illness in its place and stop failing at not failing.

It is hard, and there will be times you fail to have this growth mindset. That is okay. Growth isn’t linear and neither is your journey with mental illness. And I guess if you take away anything from this rambling post it is that is okay to fail, because that is how we all grow.

And growing is something I am sure we all want to succeed at.

2 thoughts on “Failing at Not Failing”

  1. i kinda agree with most of what u said. but when u said “it makes me fear that everyone I love will leave me because of that failure.” if the people you “love” aren’t there for you to make you keep pushing and trying even if u failed thousand times, you shouldn’t be worried about them leaving you, because they don’t deserve you in the first place.


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