Empowering Yourself Through Failure

“Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous.” – Frank O’Hara

Alright, so this post was originally titled “Why Fucking Up is Empowering,” but maybe I am not gutsy enough to go there… I need a nice warm-up before cussing (at least on Tuesday mornings). But let me get into what I have to say. This morning I want to tell it straight.

I have fucked up MANY times.  In work, at school, with partners, with family, you name it, I have probably screwed it up or made it awkward in some way at some time.

The thing is, old Frank here is right. Each time we fail (in love or in other parts of life) we can make that failure an opportunity to strive harder and to put ourselves out there even more. If we survived our first, second, and third failures we are sure to be able to survive a fourth, fifth, and sixth – so why not just go for it?

If you open yourself up and then fail but keep going you can learn about yourself AND it’s kind of like that idea that when you hit rock bottom, you can’t really sink lower. Instead of allowing things like failure or heartbreak to be limiting, why not allow the hard experiences to free us beyond a concern for how others see or feel about us?

I’ve been meditating a lot about this idea and this ability to be open and free in a way that surpasses being concerned with the way other people see me. Maybe it’s a basic thing and maybe other people have mastered it, but truthfully I often grapple with my own vulnerability and the intense contemplation was all sparked by a recommendation to watch Brene Brown’s groundbreaking Ted Talk :

This Ted Talk paired with Frank’s enduring quote remind me that being candid and vulnerable and sometimes failing is important and really, it’s the key to being true to yourself. Ultimately, letting go of other people’s judgments as well as your own (likely much harsher) judgments of yourself is one of the most liberating and empowering things you can do. I used to feel as though my intense vulnerability was embarrassing, pathetic even. But it’s one of the things that makes me the most me, and I am proud to be so open about my desire to be accepted for my most authentic and real self, even when I am not perfect. Especially when I am failing.




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