The Lounge | A Column for Men: You ARE NOT Your Failures

In his biweekly column, Langley Shazor speaks to issues important to men within the territory. This week’s introduces The Lounge.

The pursuit to be the best version of yourself is also the pursuit of being the most authentic and honest version. It is the quest to trust yourself as much as you trust others. It is an evolutionary journey that requires accountability for who you are today and lays the responsibility of who you want to become wholly on your shoulders. Do not look at this challenge as debilitating or unachievable, but rather as an opportunity for transformation. Step up and rise to the occasion. No one said it would be easy, but I can assure you that it will be worth it, and you can bounce back from any mistake you have made.

The first realization of the worth of this journey must come from within. Your self-worth must outweigh the world’s perception of you. You ARE NOT your failures, missteps, miscues, mistakes, poor decisions, or anyone’s negative opinion of you. These are simply parts of your evolution that have brought you to this point. As you progress, improve, and transform, you will reap vast benefits from this new you. However, you will also incur the scorn of those who wished to keep you where you were. These “labelers” will only ever see you through the lens of your past. DO NOT LET THEM PUT LABELS ON YOU.

The only labels that should ever matter to you, the only ones that should ever be accepted by you, the only ones that should apply to you are the labels you create for yourself. I pause here to say that if your labels are negative, self-loathing, self-deprecating, or lowering your self-esteem, then you are being the exact person I am trying to steer you away from.

This is also where accountability begins. You must take ownership of your role in your own anguish. This power is what the leeches, emotional vampires, manipulators, and haters don’t want you to tap into. Do not be surprised when the attacks come from would-be friends, family members, and those from your previous circles. These are people, places, things, you must separate yourself from in order to keep walking forward. You will have moments of weakness, they will prey on them, and you will have to dust yourself off and keep moving. They will hope to see the labels stick, reminding you of the person you once were.

I have had to battle this on more than one occasion, in more than one relationship, and lost more than one friend for staying true to my pursuit of self-improvement. I do not have the secret recipe for success here. I had to end communication with certain individuals, stop frequenting areas and businesses, as well as seek professional help. The most difficult aspect of this transition is the constant introspection and adjustment. Of all the tools that I could speak on, this is the most fundamental; the willingness to look at yourself, see your faults, and work to change them. This work also takes the most courage. If someone isn’t proud of your progress and pushing you forward, they are holding you back from your greatest potential. They are not your wings; they are your warden. It is time to break free and liberate yourself from anything that does not align with the direction you are moving.

If you are reading this, listening to podcasts, live videos, reading, or breathing, you are well on your way. If you wake up, you are presented with the opportunity to take another step toward a new and better you. A you that has the capacity to create a future you had only dreamed of and one that is vastly different from your past. I encourage you to take the leap of faith and see what lies on the other side. You do not have to be identified, categorized, marginalized, or held captive by your previous life any longer. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR NARRATIVE.


Langley “Casual-Word” Shazor is a poet, author, publisher, entrepreneur, public speaking coach, podcast host, and pastor who is an advocate for youth and men. His goal is to enlighten, empower, and liberate those who are silenced, marginalized, and enslaved to self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. Visit