Seeing Successes During Difficult Times


Failure. You may wake up one morning and think “I am a loser” or “I am never going to amount to anything”. You might also think “No matter how hard I try, nothing gets better!” It’s easy to get caught up in the endless tape of negativity. You can have one negative thought in the morning and the negative thoughts can continue throughout the day. By the time the end of the day comes, you are exhausted and emotionally drained. Where did your day go? How did it get this far? It is all about changing your thoughts and moving towards positivity.


So what is failure? Merriam Webster defines failure as: 1) Lack of success and an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing; 2) The omission of expected or required action; 3) The action or state of not functioning.

Even though the definitions may or may not apply to you, definitions are subjective to the person. It also involves your definition of success. Success is the opposite of failure. Failure cannot be present when there is success. Others may see you as successful but you see yourself as a failure. You hit all your milestones but one and then the focus falls on the failure. Successes and failures are subjective. How can you be positive when you have setbacks?


Setbacks are a part of life. You and someone you know may experience a similar setback, but respond to it differently. Setbacks can be painful. Being present in the moment and acknowledging your successes is a way to stay positive. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson states that in order to accept the positive you need to sit in that feeling for 7-10 seconds. For example, if you receive a compliment from a colleague, instead of brushing it off, sit in the positive feeling for 7-10 seconds. You might also repeat the compliment during the 7-10 seconds. This helps to change the neural pathways of your brain (Hanson, 2013, Hardwiring Happiness, Harmony Publications).


It is easy to focus on setbacks and “failures”. It is very easy to allow yourself to ruminate and beat yourself up. Instead, focus on your successes. Focus on what you have accomplished thus far. You have already accomplished so much. You are alive. You are breathing. You have today. Start today on a positive note.


Do you need help implementing some of these steps and live in the Kansas City area? I would love to meet with you to discuss you and your family's specific situation. To make an appointment, you can reach me by email