IT’S TIME TO PARTY NOW… I FAILED ONE MORE TIME !!

“I feel so lost Aastha. I did work hard, so many late nights, many iterations of refinement, many tries, I see no success. This is my dream to be able to make this venture work, trust me, I gave all that I could. I don’t know what I can do differently to make this work. The final option for me is to quit my job and fully concentrate on my venture, but that would push me into complete crisis in terms of finances. What do I do?“, this is what he said holding my hand, with tears in his eyes

My friend is quite matured, is very well aware of the risks he was taking. He was prepared for the struggle that’s gonna last long and yet, he wanted to do. I consoled him for then since it was already late in the evening, but promised to meet him the next day. I opened up my laptop, reviewed all his work for the past one year, took my notes, came up with some ideas, but most importantly, I see that he is upset, very much with himself, that required to be treated before anything else.  

What is a failure ???

I am not asking about failures that lead to tremendous successes .. Plain, simple failure , what is it ?

Being unable to achieve ‘something’ that we wanted is failure, it can be big or small. There is a lot of stigma that we have put around failure, which is causing us not to see the good it has brought. Failure is a milestone, it tells us what we did right, what we could have done differently and most importantly what can go wrong. Our assumptions are often invalidated during turbulent times, we are not prepared and hence we do fail. If you think about it, failure is just feedback; it’s simply showing you what’s not working so you can find out what will work.

Failure isn’t bad, then why do we feel so devastated, lost and depressed when we fail ? Sometimes because it has implications on the stability of our life, career or finances, hence it inadvertently makes us feel bad. But many times, the effect is not so huge. Even In such situations where the impact is less, we tend to feel sad, where in being more happy would make us feel better.

When I was going through a training, I got to know that there are companies that celebrate failures, they throw parties and give away awards for those who failed. I was not very surprised by the concept itself because, even at our homes, irrespective of how good or not so good the kids perform in education or sport they are given some goodies. So we are actually not taught failure is bad or we shall never fail, however we inferred this understanding from the how the world perceives failure. I asked myself, “what do I do when I fail ?” Surprisingly, nothing. 

Oh, that’s not a good sign. I thought of celebrating failures. I will treat myself with the most exotic flavor of ice-cream. As I started doing this often I realized, I started liking the phase of failure, it relieves me off being upset faster and let’s me think more clearly.

We made the conscious decision of what we chose and due to uncontrollable factors which caused the failure. There is always a second chance, a better thought, a different way of looking at things. Even when we think differently, we may not succeed, we may end up failing many times, but every time we fail we are only getting better at what we are doing , more wiser and are a step closer to success. So, let’s celebrate our small success, that’s the better way of calling it, isn’t it ?

THE WHYS AND THE WHEREFORES

“Why did this happen to me?” he shot back. His eyes were almost bloodshot. His whole body was shaking, gesturing the disbelief in his soul. I could hear the clock ticking by as a cloud of silence encompassed us. He continued, “Never in my life have I touched liquor nor do I have any bad habits, then why?” From the corner of his right eye, I did see a tear drop fall. “They said, you are on the best around here, can you not do something? Are you really telling the correct thing?” he questioningly smiled at me while tears flowed down like a leaking drain pipe. I nodded in unison only to find him suddenly slouching on his chair, to collapse.

Scenes like this happen at my Surgical out Patient Clinic on a daily basis. He had come with complaints of acidity, heartburn, vomiting and significant weight loss. Investigations revealed that he had Cancer of the Stomach and as a Surgeon I had to tell him this. The myriad of emotions that he displayed came very suddenly, just when I explained him his condition. Youngish man of 38 years, his whole world came crashing down. As a doctor I knew his pain and thought process. His myriad of emotions that flowed through him, asking the “The Whys and Wherefores” is how we define Grief.  Every time grief makes its presence felt in my office, lines written by the Poet Delmira Agustini come alive:

“Suddenly I laugh and at the same time cry

And in pleasure many a grief endure

My happiness wanes and yet it lasts unchanged

All at once I dry up and grow green”

(Excerpted from the Poem, I Live I Die I Burn I drown by Delimira Agustini)

 

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the questionable emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. However, even subtle losses can lead to grief. For example, you might experience grief after moving away from home, graduating from college, changing jobs, selling your family home, or retiring from a career you loved. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

In her groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying noted Swiss-American Psychiatrist and pioneer of Near Death Studies, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, says that there are 5 stages of the grieving process.

  • Denial:“This can’t be happening to me.”
  • Anger:Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  • Bargaining:“Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
  • Depression:“I’m too sad to do anything.”
  • Acceptance:“I’m at peace with what happened.”

If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages—and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in.

Grief is not a medical condition until depression sets in and adds injury to insult and yet Psychiatrists have gone ahead to define a Symtomatology for it. While loss affects people in different ways, many experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal—including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.

  • Shock and disbelief– Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting him or her to show up, even though you know he or she is gone.
  • Sadness– Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.
  • Guilt– You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.
  • Anger– Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry with yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.
  • Fear– A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.
  • Physical symptoms– We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.

Grief though is just a passing phase. It fades away with time but is the first step towards depression. If handled correctly it is a roller – coaster that ends quickly. As a doctor I often have to deal with this and this had lead to a care plan that starts immediately I encounter grief in action.

  • Turn to friends and family members– Family members and friends are superb in doing this. I might be technically better at handling grief but strong family bonding wins over all technicalities. It then boils down to one fact, “Better Relationships lead to better grief handling”. A grieving person should have good inter-personal relationships to handle grief better.
  • Draw comfort from your faith– If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you—such as praying, meditating, or going to church—can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or Elder in your religious community.
  • Join a support group– Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers. Look to open up on social media if you can’t open up to anyone. Social Media nowadays has various openings for grieving people.
  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor– If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.
  • Take care of yourself and your family. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest help us get through each day and move forward. 
  • Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones. Possibilities include donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by your emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find ways to get back on track.

It is no secret that we live in a throwaway society and that goes for bereavement too. People don’t want to hear too much about your grief when they are too busy living. It forces them to look in the mirror and confront their own mortality. Thinking too much about grief is maudlin and thinking too much about death seems macabre and wasteful. Let’s choose to examine the open wound of our grief and almost befriend it. It has visited and cast its shadow over our life. We can only live with it. We should be open to what it has to teach us, that when those we love die, they leave holes in our lives that can never be filled. Grief is the fate of us all. Maybe it’s about time we all had an honest conversation about it.

If I should go before the rest of you 
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone, 
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice 
But be the usual selves that I have known. 
Weep if you must, Parting is hell, 
But Life goes on, So sing as well.

Joyce Grenfell

HERE’S ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT FAILURE

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Earlier I had spoken about ceasing to live in failure and moving forward. But to most of us this would seem as a Herculean task as our mind replays the mishaps occurred to us again and again. However, we should make an attempt to believe that there is always a way out. No situation especially bad ones is constant. We have heard that time is the best healer but some questions pop in my mind. Do we really come out of our failed situations completely? Do we have the strength to visit those places in our minds years later without getting hurt?

When I questioned myself, I probably could answer and it was a yes. I viewed my bad times as a time of assessment. I was able to do a reality check on myself. It was an opportunity for me to look for good in the situation so that things can be better. There has to be some good in the failure that will inspire.

It was during this time that I had an urge to learn new things and make myself updated about the world around me. An android language learning application helped me to learn a foreign language along with which I concentrated on my passion as a dancer. We all have hobbies, interests and hidden talents. This is the time to discover and nurture them.

I found my way out of the failure when I chose to view it differently. I thought about what good it did to me and soon I encountered the strong and confident person who was hidden within me. My failure seemed to be a tiny error in front of the new achievements that I made.

Let us believe we are worthy of rewards even though at times we are at fault ’cause it would help us spring up to a height whenever we hit the bottom. It would be a wonderful gift from you to yourself.

Ruth Samarpita Sarkar

WHY FAILURES ARE CALLED THE STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS?

stone-steps-409522_1280There was a boy who wanted to be one of the best batsman of his school cricket team. He played 2 tournaments but failed miserably, scoring really low. He was disheartened and broken to the core and prayed to God to give him strength. God gave him something else, He gave the little boy an information. God said “Boy, if you continue to learn from your mistakes in previous tournaments, you will succeed exactly at your 8th tournament.”

Boy was astonished but he believed it. He now felt excited, because now he knew that every failure was getting him one step closer to success.

That’s the reason, failures are called the stepping stones to success. Success is incomplete without these steps and impossible to reach.

So, do not avoid failures, learn from them and move on…

Prabhjot

FAILURE AND RISK ARE THE STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS

There are times when we are encountered with failures in the different spheres in our lives.

But these should not be viewed as the end of the story.

Risk-taking comes in as an advantage as eventually it leads us to success.

If not success, a lesson for sure.

Ruth Samarpita Sarkar