Beautiful Failures

3 mins read
person running in the hallway
Photo by Michael Foster on

Allie Ostrander is an American distance runner who recently competed in the Olympic Trials 3000 meter steeplechase race. She ran a personal best in the finals, but came in seventh, outside the top three finish she needed to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

On her Instagram, she recapped the race and said that she was proud of her race, even though it was a failure since she didn’t make the team. But it was a beautiful failure.

I’ve reread that post several times because beautiful failure has not left my mind since I read it.

The processing of her race has resonated with me because much of mental health is about allowing space for contradictions to reside. Allowing grief and gratitude to both sit at our table. Allowing sadness and joy to be present at the same time.

But, I’ve never allowed a failure to sit alongside beauty before.

As I continued to sit with this, my motherhood journey immediately rose to the forefront of my mind. Raising a strong-willed son is something I am finding does not suit my natural strengths. Every day has its challenges. And most days, after he is asleep, I think about how I could improve numerous things.

But, I’ve started to allow beauty to seep into these recollections lately. I had seen beauty in other moments with my son, but I hadn’t seen it in my failures with him. How beautiful is it that we both are learning and growing together every day? No matter how hard the day before was, we wake up and begin each day anew. We don’t check out on each other, we don’t hold grudges. Instead, we continue to grow. He is learning all that toddlers have to take in and I am learning all that motherhood presents. Both learnings are beautifully overwhelming, and we both beautifully fail daily. 

Perhaps as a recovering perfectionist, this phrase resonates with me because failures were often met with criticism and ridicule, never beauty. It’s unnatural so far but very much welcomed by my soul to embrace the inevitability of failures with a hand of beauty, too.

And this will likely be the case for you, too. So when those failures inevitably come, may you not avoid the failures that have occurred, but take time to find and hold the beauty in them, too.


Kylie Larson, MA, LPC

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Find Kylie’s reading commendations by clicking here.

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Outside of the therapy room, Kylie enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the world through the eyes of her son, adventuring with her husband, running around with her dogs, cheering on our Kansas City teams, gardening, being active, reading and exploring new recipes.

Professional Background
Bachelors in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, 2015
Master of Arts in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2020

Kansas Counseling Association
American Counseling Association

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