Am I a failure or have I simply failed?

Failure. The word can be so devastating to our ego and our will. It can make us stop dead in our tracks. But are we really failures just because we sometimes fail?


To me, failure is giving up. That is all. It is the act of giving up on our dreams, our potential, our everything…failure

Here is what the Merriam-Webster online dictionary says about failure.
Definition of failure

1a: omission of occurrence or performance specifically: a failing to perform a duty or expected action, failure to pay the rent on time (1): a state of inability to perform a normal function kidney failure— compare HEART FAILURE(2): an abrupt cessation of normal functioning power failure: a fracturing or giving way under stress structural failure2a: lack of success: a failing in business: BANKRUPTCYHe was trying to rescue the company from failure.3a: a falling short: DEFICIENCYa crop failure: DETERIORATION, DECAY4: one that has failed He felt like a failure when he wasn’t accepted into law school.

I see failure a bit differently, though. Because these all tend to be “temporary” actions (except maybe kidney failure and heart failure). I mean, I could fail to pay my rent on time or the power could fail to work. But I can probably make up my rent and the power will in all likelihood come back on.

Failure, as I said, is the end. It is more than a simple fail.

Failfail to success

To fail, on the other hand, is more of a one or two-time thing (maybe a thousand times, but I don’t believe it’s a failure until you give up).

I love the following quote by Thomas A. Edison. He didn’t see himself as a failure.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.― Thomas A. Edison

It is hard not to see ourselves as failures when we repeatedly fail. But like I wrote above, I really don’t think we are failures unless we give up.

Edison found thousands of ways that didn’t work, but he didn’t give up and neither should we.

I think we can fail our way to success just as Edison did in the hundreds of inventions that he perfected. But we have to keep our minds going and believing that eventually, we are going to find the way that works.

How does this relate to diabetes?

You might be asking yourself how this relates to type 2 diabetes? Well, today, I was feeling a bit like a failure because I had not made good choices as far as eating went. I felt like I was a failure. Not that I had failed—a one or two-time occurrence—but an utter and complete failure. As I was recording tonight’s video, it occurred to me that I was NOT a failure, but had simply failed.

I can start afresh tomorrow. I don’t have to take this sitting down! I will not be a failure!

Today’s Video

In today’s video, I talk about feeling like a failure and ultimately, talking myself out of being one!

Thank you for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you very soon!

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The posts that I write are not to offer medical advice, but merely what I am doing on my journey and things that I personally have found helpful. I do a lot of reading and researching from an academic standpoint and will use some content that comes from people in the medical profession. If you have questions or concerns about anything that I write, please contact me at karin@diabeteshealthnuts.com. Thank you! 🙂

About the author

Karin Nauber is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 13 years ago and has faced many challenges with the condition. If you would like to contact her, please do so at karin@diabeteshealthnuts.com.

2 thoughts on “Am I a failure or have I simply failed?

  1. Okay girlfriend. First of all I hope you know how brave you are for sharing this kind of personal information for the world to see on the internet. 

    I recently wrote an article on the difference between a lapse and a relapse. (I am a recovering substance abuser.)

    Interestingly, I am able to draw a lot of parallels between your definitions of a fail and a failure. A fail is something, like a lapse, that you are able to pick yourself up from. A failure, like a relapse, is when you have given up on sobriety, and drugs have taken over your life again. Notably, even a failure, completely giving up, is fixable, UNLESS YOU ARE DEAD. SO, REALLY, ITS NEVER TOO LATE.

     Interesting how many similarities there are between controlling our food intake for our health and an addicts ability to control whether or not they use a substance.

    something I try and keep in mind, I’ll be it it doesn’t always help, is how much time it takes the average person to form a new habit. You brought up the idea that your choices are dictating how you feel. It’s important to remember that it only takes 21 days to form a new neural pathway in your brain, which is just a fancy word for a new habit. 

    So, if you can keep telling yourself for 21 days that you are only going to be eating a salad for dinner for the next 3 weeks, eventually after those 3 weeks eating that salad starts to feel normal and your old habits, like Tootsie rolls, actually get easier to break. 

    I hope that makes sense, but it really helps me when I’m feeling like I have screwed up. 

    Just because I have a lapse in judgment, doesn’t mean I have to turn to full-blown relapse. Just because you failed on your diet for one day, doesn’t mean that you have to give up completely and stop working towards your goals.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story here. Although it’s not me who currently has diabetes (one of my cousins does), I’m also struggling a bit about a certain ‘failure’ that I experienced a while ago in my work. You remind me to not give up because it doesn’t really a failure, just a failed attempt. Thanks again.

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