Literary First Aid Kit: When You've Failed

I'm the worst at failure. Late at night, I like to lie in bed and project all my recent and old shortcomings in a failure show on the back of my eyelids. The main character never seems to grow, and the themes tying all the failures together seem clear for the whole world to see. This escalates into some sort of shame-filled failure fever dream. 

You may say I'm being dramatic and take myself far too seriously, but I think we're all a little like this. Others may look at our failures from the outside and see it as a bit of bad luck, or an honest mistake, but to us, it's part of a story we tell ourselves, that we're not good enough. 

Well, because I clearly suffer from this acutely, I have not one, but two books in my Literary First Aid Kit that can help you deal with failure. 

The first is Rising Strong, Brene Brown. Everybody is going about this book for good reason. Brene teaches us to change the story we tell ourselves about our lives, and change the narrative to one in which we rise above our supposed failures. It is an amazing mental exercise in taking what we've got, and making the most of it. What I LOVED about this book was the message that we should love the process, and take pride in getting our hands dirty in the muck of real life. Often I judge myself when I'm struggling, especially with work, but it's in the struggle that we are being the strongest. I'll be honest, Brene has collected the best of a lot of existing ideas, but she's done it in such a way that hits home and gives you some really great lessons to take away from it. 

The second is Instrumental by concert pianist, James Rhodes. This book revolves around James' continuous struggle with coming to terms with childhood sexual abuse, and how classical music helped save him. I'm slapping a massive trigger warning on this for anyone who has experienced abuse as a child. This is a raw, inflamed book in which James speaks openly about what happened to him and how it destroyed a great chunk of his life. He suffers from addiction, goes mad, destroys his marriage and a few friendships along the way until, finally, one of his attempts to get back on track sticks. He's not always likeable, but he's honest in his attempts to be true to himself and living a full life, doing what he loves. Read this if you feel too damaged or broken to be deserving of a life and love that fulfils you.

What do you read when you feel like a failure? I'd love to know!