adjustments you’d make in the future but, Tartt adds, “It’s really about evaluating what went wrong, and looking at a failure as information for the future.” Of course, not taking it personally is easier said than done. The key is remembering that the dream represents something you did, not who you are. It also helps to think of something else that you failed at the first time around and later completed successfully. “Your perspective determines whether you deem failing 10 times as reason to quit versus feeling 10 times closer to finding the answer,” says Tartt.
Making peace with it (and yourself)
Any decision to let something go will take an emotional toll. “You may feel angry at the world,” says Tartt. You may also feel embarrassed, humbled, and anxious about what’s next. Grannum-Skinner felt all these things even more acutely because her marriage also ended during this time. “I felt like a failure,” she admits, “as if my entire world was caving in.”
“It’s similar to the stages of grief because the person is mourning the loss of something,” Sanders points out. Give yourself time to move through denial, anger, and maybe even depression. Good self-care habits such as adequate sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition can ease the grieving process. Spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation can also help. To put the experience in perspective, talk to those you trust about some of their failures.
For some, the decision to walk away from a dream can have far more serious emotional consequences, such as intense feelings of unworthiness, helplessness, and self-doubt. In such cases, the person may be afraid to try again, or even feel hopeless about life in general. “When the emotional pain from that loss gets so overwhelming that feelings like low self-worth start to come into play, that’s when talking to a psychologist or licensed mental health counselor would be helpful,” says Sanders. “When you’re feeling ineffective as a parent, business owner, or homeowner because of the failure, a counselor can help to challenge those feelings.”
Expect to feel sad while you’re adjusting to the loss. But Sanders advises, “if months pass and you’re still feeling hopeless or not doing activities you once enjoyed, seek out a professional you can talk with to regain control of your life.”
Having a Plan B can help you move forward when you’ve decided to close the doors on an endeavor. “There should always be a Plan B, C, D, and even E since things always change,” Tartt urges.
(Continued on page 6)