My cosmic karma is pretty immediate. Every time my ego starts getting out of control, the universe sends it a pretty prominent message, “YOU ARE NOT THAT COOL”.
I can think of a perfect example: I had just turned 21 and thinking I was just unstoppable because I could get right into the bars. There I was strutting along in my highest heels telling my BFF that I just HOPED my little sister was out tonight so she could see me bypass the bouncer with ease….and the next thing I knew I was flat out on my stomach in the middle of the street, directly in front of the bar and the plethora of people waiting to get inside, with a large hole in my new jeans and a skinned knee.
I feel like I’ve been receiving this same message loud and clear recently. I had reached a point in my career/schooling where I started thinking I knew my stuff. I updated my CV and puffed out my chest and though I was SO cool. Then pretty much immediately, I got a semester full of public speaking assignments plus my first ever lecturing experience…served along with a big slice of humble pie. Sidenote: if there is something stupid to say in front of a large audience, you better believe I will open up my big mouth and say it.
It’s hard to handle the thoughts and feelings that come after an embarrassing/failure experience; “Wow, you suck”, or “Ugh, I just looked like a total idiot”. As someone trained in cognitive therapy, I try and reframe those thoughts into, “Wow, that is a learning experience. How can we grow and get better?” or “Yeah, you do look like an idiot, but it’s good for your character”
As you can see, these reframes could use some work, but I think the thought behind them is important. Failure is an inescapable part of life. Although it might not feel that way, it can be such a valuable learning experience.
I found this list online, and I loved it. It has subtle ways you can shift your perspective about a ‘failure’ experience. Basically, ways to get over it, learn from it, and come out a better person. For me, that’s accepting the fact that I’m not perfect all the time, embracing those uncomfortable feelings when humbling experiences happen, and getting right back out there and trying again.
As (allegedly) Dale Carnegie once said “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”