We all need some failure in our lives in order to grow, but failure quickly becomes a problem when it goes from a learning tool to a tyrannical autocrat. For many, failure has a tendency to quickly scribe an identity without giving a second glance. This persistent type of failure removes dignity and replaces it with shame. Fortunately the helping relationship has the power to speak into this kind of failure and renovate the damage that failure has brought to the soul.
The helping relationship hears, sees, and recognizes the pains behind failure that few others have ever been privy to. It hears the shame surrounding the gossip from peers back in grade school; it sees the self loathing that past financial mistakes have implanted; it recognizes the much needed, tightly withheld forgiveness from a selfish and manipulative parent. The helping relationship perceives the things that other relationships have completely missed. Truly this relationship keenly perceives the poison that failure imparts on its victims.
“Fortunately the helping relationship has the power to speak into this kind of failure and renovate the damage that failure has brought to the soul.”
But what do we do to help? We continually move in, we continually listen, with humility, and we redeem their humiliation. We reallocate their perception of their own story, we allow them to reexperience their hurts with the future in mind, and we release comfort into the past with truth and friendship by helping them accept these event properly. We help them see that no amount of mistakes, by them or done to them, can ever take their innate dignity. We let them know that neither their failure nor the failure of others defines them and we remind them of what actually does define them… We look failure dead in the eye and call its bluff; it is not in line as heir to the throne of personal worth.
What next? We revaluate failure and restore its redemptive qualities. We remind them that their story is not yet completely written and that they are still the architect of how they choose to perceive their past and what they want from their future. We equip them for the future; we give new ways to see how appropriately contextualizing the failures of the past can allow them to face their future with hope. We show them that a past once wrought by failure is now a stepping stone to long-term success. We redeem once forgotten strengths and lessons that failure has oppressed for so long.
“We show them that a past once wrought by failure is now a stepping stone to long-term success.”
In summation we teach, hands on, how to isolate failure’s influence by recognizing where failure doesn’t belong and recontextualizing it. We model what to do with excessive feelings of failure; we remind ourselves of our inherent dignity and that our value does not come from our shortcomings. Instead it comes from something far greater.
Guest author: Jared Pogue, Professional Counselor and Public Speaker in Atlanta/Metro Atlanta.
Contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out his blog: https://jaredpogue.wordpress.com/