If you suffer from feelings of failure – that you should have done better in life, that you aren’t popular, or that you’re no good in interviews – you may take some comfort from knowing you aren’t alone.
Everyone has times when things don’t go according to plan, whether it’s relationship tension or not getting a promotion. When you fall short of achieving a goal it’s easy to feel let down.
You may start to think you’ve never really succeeded and aren’t good at anything. Your inner voice might be saying you’ve failed at life in general. Thinking that you’ve failed feels bad, so many people try to avoid it at all costs.
Reasons for feeling like a failure:
Feeling different degrees of failure can happen at any age and for many reasons. Young children may experience this if they find it hard to make friends, and throughout education, success is largely measured by exam results.
For young adults in their 20s to 30s success can be about finding “The One”, settling down, and having a family. As we grow older the breakdown of relationships in our sixties and over can make us feel that we have failed, especially if one partner moves on and the other doesn’t.
Other reasons include:
- One potential reason for feeling like a failure is that you’re not meeting the expectations that you set for yourself.
- Feeling like a failure or like you’re not good enough also stems from comparing yourself to others.
- You may also feel like a failure when you are rejected by someone or when something didn’t work out the way that you wanted it to or thought it would.
- Whether your failures are real or only your perception, your feelings are still very real.
- The failure life trap, or failure schema, is usually rooted in your past. It’s down to how you think about failure, based on your childhood experiences – and how you behave as a result. This pattern of thinking about yourself negatively can be caused by expectations from parents and caregivers as a child, depression or other unresolved mental health conditions, perfectionism, etc.
Ways to cope with feeling a failure.
Those feelings of failure can creep up on you in many situations. The good news is that you can take steps to tackle them before they get out of hand. It may take a little practice before you stop negative feelings in their tracks, but these tips should help you feel more positive.
Below are recommendations on healthy ways to cope with failure.
Minimize comparison to others:
Social media can make it hard to feel good about yourself when everyone’s accomplishments and victories are all you see. Not everything online is true and posts might not even be examples of things you truly value.
If you notice certain social media accounts bring up feelings of comparison frequently, consider unfollowing them or taking periodic breaks from social media.
Keep control of your inner voice:
Saying to yourself “You should have tried harder, you’ve made yourself look stupid”, is what we call a faulty dialogue. When you start giving yourself these negative messages just say, “STOP”, and throw the thought out. Managing your inner voice is a life skill.
Never label yourself as a failure:
Labels tend to be self-fulfilling. If you believe you’re a failure you won’t buy a lottery ticket because you’ll know there’s no point, you’ll never get lucky. And that’s the best way to assure you never will.
Ban yourself from saying ‘I knew that would happen:
It’s a phrase only ever associated with perceived failure.
Start facing challenges
Instead of running away, gradually expose yourself to situations where you can succeed, to break the pattern and reinforce success.
Connect with your goals, aspirations, and talents.
Think about what you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail. This could involve a career change. You can work on your good habits to reach your goals by using the Habitomic app.
Make a plan.
Take one small step today to move closer to your goal.
In conclusion, it’s normal that all of us sometimes feel failure in life but it’s dangerous when it prevents you to start doing something. If you have difficulties with feeling like a failure, surround yourself with people who support you. Consider seeking guidance and support from a therapist and try these strategies. Don’t scare of starting a new task.
The only thing worse than starting something and failing is not starting something.