Rachel’s Reads: Finding Confidence Through Failures

Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

Every morning, I try to read a page of the book “Affirmations for the Inner Child” by Rokelle Lerner. Although sometimes the affirmation of the day is something I only think about briefly, other days the concept feels a little more important, and I really pay attention. 

“Each day I grow more confident.” These words were sprawled across the page and I couldn’t help but get a little excited. I, like every other person on this planet, want to be confident. 

Under these words of confidence, the author gives an example about a little girl who is learning how to climb a fire pole. Each time she falls down, she gets back up and tries again. “I am amazed by her efforts,” the affirmation continues. “When I was four years old, I was easily frustrated. If I didn’t succeed the first try, I got angry. Unfortunately, my anger wasn’t allowed. So I turned my anger inward and learned to give up.” 

The affirmation then calls for the reader to allow themself to try, fail and try again. 

After reading that, I was a little let down and found myself wondering, “What the heck does that have to do with confidence?” Well, after a moment of reflection, I realized the acceptance of failure has everything to do with confidence. I used to think it was about being satisfied with how you look and act. However, I found that throughout my journey to self-love, I was forgetting a very important element: allowing yourself to be human. 

I know I am not the first to admit that I hate being bad at something. However, I have this toxic trait: After I fail once, I immediately want to quit. If I try and fail again, I start to really beat myself up. For example, after I lost my first debate, I told my coach I wanted to quit. He told me something that has stuck with me for a while: “Rachel, we all hate being bad at something. Keep at it and you won’t be bad anymore. It’s simple.” 

I have found that learning from your failures is what makes you step closer to success. I am trying to make an effort not to feel so ashamed l when I do fail. That’s where the confidence comes in. Be confident in your process. If you focus on what you did wrong, you won’t be able to embrace yourself for what you did right. As the book says, “She [the inner child] wants to quit but I tell her what a great first attempt she made. Encouraged, she tries again.” 

At first, the failures may seem to crowd your mind, but the constant work toward success does not go unnoticed. It is important to recognize that everyone is in their own part of the process. I have noticed that comparing myself to others does me no good. Instead, I have learned to embrace the qualities that I have and praise all that I have accomplished. Did I expect a better grade on that paper? Sure. But did I learn something new for the next time? Absolutely. I am confident about the work I put in and will continue to try. As time goes on, I will see my hard work was not in vain because I will be getting better grades. Mindfulness like this will help you be more confident when you do fail, or don’t do as well as you had hoped.

From that day on, I took it upon myself to change how I looked at my failures. They should not be seen as negatives, but as positives. Even further, I am proud of myself for trying again. I think that we tend to forget to be gentle with ourselves. Every day, we are trying to be perfect, but we are prone to imperfection. With the understanding that failure is okay, we can start to move toward achieving what we want in life. Through that, you will find a confidence growing within yourself.