Failure. Just the word on its own hits like a punch. But why? Obstacles, unmet goals, ups and downs—in other words, “fails”—happen along our life journeys. To all of us. And while we know these moments are an inevitable part of life, they still knock us down and make us question our sense of self. Here at SI Swim, we see no benefit in adding shame to what is naturally a part of living, growing, and navigating the world. So what do we do to avoid the sense of failure?

A Mantra for Facing the Inevitable Fail

We believe an authentic, honest and grounded self-image, one rooted in a healthy body, mind and spirit, translates to resilience when dealing with life’s biggest hurdles. When we feel confident in our sense of self, we unlock the ability to respond powerfully to challenges even when they feel very big. Uninvited as they may be, fails do not have to diminish our dreams. They can instead spark an honest conversation with the most authentic version of you.

Ask Yourself Good Questions

Just like swimsuits, fails come in all shapes and sizes. Missing out on a job assignment, going through a bad breakup or sensing you don't quite fit in ... something just doesn't FEEL right. These feelings have a way of morphing into anxiety, disappointment and self-doubt. Whether it's work, relationships, fitness goals or body image, fails turn into failure only when you give them permission to do so. When you refuse to let a fail define you, it becomes an opportunity to define who you have the potential to be.

Change Up the Conversation

Here is where YOU get to change the conversation. What is this moment asking me to do? Fails can help shape our best self if we are strong enough to use them. Each time we come up against a difficult and disappointing moment in any area of our life, we are invited into something new. These moments can be an opportunity to learn and take action. So how do we shift this internal dialogue with ourselves? How do we continue to strive toward a strong mind, body and sense of self that can take life's fails in stride? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Aligning Self-Care and Self-Awareness

SI Swim is excited and ready to share our best resources for a confident, more radiant you. But this conversation truly begins by turning inward and understanding the important of aligning our self-care and self-awareness. Together, these reflect the whole you—the self that others see and the self that only you know. Think inside and outside fitness. Inner and outer beauty. These aren’t clichéd concepts but real signs of a solid sense of self. Take a minute to think about moments in your life where you feel radiant—the moments when you feel strong, healthy, happy, beautiful. Then take action from what you learn. What is happening in your body at those moments? What are you thinking? What are you eating? How are you exercising? What are you wearing and why? Who are you surrounded by? Answering these questions will help you make choices that fit with your goals and support you moving forward. This is self-care that matters.

Warning Label: Be Careful of Careless Messages

Which brings us to this thing called timelines. Because let’s be real, acting as your most authentic self 24/7, 365 is easier said than done. In every aspect of life, we are pressured to have it all figured out. Society loves to set expectations, and we absorb them as rules. We are told that we need to have certain things accomplished by a certain age: marriage and job title, just to scratch the surface. Choosing a different path, one that may fall short of these norms, is often perceived as “failure,” but we argue that it really isn’t failure at all. It just means you are on your own course, one that is building a strong, authentic self. So life isn’t linear, and there is no “right course.” Start to believe each fail in life is just another learning opportunity. Meet these moments with a stronger sense of identity. With each pivot, gain a better understanding of what fuels you so you can take steps in any direction.

How?

The more you turn to positivity, movement that means something, mental health and community, the more you can use the inevitable “fails” in life to guide a better, more fitting path forward. It’s about knowing what is important to YOU so your response isn’t filled with hopelessness, it’s a call to action to make a change. Pay attention to what feels right. Honor that inner spark and your intuition. Own it.

1. Active Solutions Over Passive Ones: This may seem obvious, but it’s so important. The approach to a “failure” sets the tone for what comes next. With confidence and a deep breath, remind yourself that you’ve got this. As expert Brené Brown says, we have to embrace our limitations and vulnerabilities to live with radical self-love.

2. Break It Down: Oftentimes we get overwhelmed by thinking about the big picture. So don’t. If you find you are unhappy in your job, take a moment with yourself to break down why. Write down what is bothering you and find solutions to the smaller details first. Daily changes pave the way for massive shifts.

3. Mindfulness: the most powerful tool in cultivating a strong sense of self. Pay attention to your thoughts. Are they often critical and self-defeating, or are they light and flexible? Then, carve out the time to engage in mindfulness practices. We love five minutes of meditation in the morning and body scans at night (this practice allows you to connect with your physical self and notice sensations without judgement).

4. Movement That Means Something: a workout for the whole you. Check out our article HERE to read more on this.

5. Community: None of us should go at failures alone. We recognize that a strong sense of self takes community to keep it alive and healthy. So find your heroes but love yourself. Look to your choir of inspirational voices but be careful to avoid looking outside yourself for validation. Consult friends, family or experts that encourage your journey of being fully you.

First things First and Last: Keep Loving Yourself

What we’re saying is, take charge of what you CAN take charge of. Owning your health, a sense of style, your beauty and vitality. It’s more important than ever in moments of real challenge to take stock of all you ARE, not what you aren’t. We believe that if you love yourself, if you connect deeply to who you are in your core, if you work at the journey of feeling fully you—and help others do the same—then there is nothing that you can’t achieve. 

Written by Lori Ball