I Keep Asking Myself: Why Am I Such A Failure?

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated January 28, 2019

Reviewer Lori Jones, LMHC

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You may think you are a failure because you did something wrong or because something bad happened to you that you believe is your fault. Maybe you got in trouble at work, or your significant other criticizes you. It could be that your family is putting those ideas in your head by telling you things they think you should be doing with your life. Even strangers can make you feel like a failure with critical comments on social media. However, failing at something does not make you a failure. Focusing on your failures will not only make you feel bad, but it can also cause depression and lower your self-value.

Is It Low Self-Esteem or Depression?

Most people would not worry too much if their boss told them they messed up or if their parents told them they need to do something different with your life. In fact, all of us have been called a failure at least once in our lives. But, if you are taking these things too seriously and letting the comments make you feel like you are a failure, you may have low self-esteem or depression.

Low Self-Esteem

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Self-esteem is important to your mental health, but you have to have the right amount of it to feel best. Not enough self-esteem can make you self-conscious and believe that you are not as worthy as others. This can eventually turn into depression, which can negatively affect your life in many ways. Too much self-esteem will make you feel like you are in a higher class than others and that you deserve to have things better than anyone else. Low self-esteem usually starts in childhood and could be from a rough upbringing or difficult life events, abuse, neglect, and even from living in poverty.

While low self-esteem can be challenging, it is not impossible to overcome if you are determined and motivated to better yourself. First and foremost, you will want to begin by surrounding yourself with a network of people who see your value as an individual. You want positive influences who will inspire and uplift you. This will make such a huge difference as you work to improve the quality of your self-esteem.

Next comes self-care. The manner in which you take care of yourself can drastically impact your self-esteem. Right now, if you are suffering from low self-esteem, you most likely do not take very good care of yourself. This matters because the way you treat yourself sends a message both to yourself and others. It sets the standard for how you view yourself and how others will view and treat you. Thankfully, it's never too late. Each day, you have a new chance to get out of bed and decide that you're going to put in the energy and effort to take better care of yourself. This may mean exercising, going to the gym, eating healthier, taking up a recreational activity, or simply spending more time around nature.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but if you're truly serious about improving your self-esteem, you can begin as early as now.

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Depression is a common mental health disorder that can create havoc in your life and make you feel like a failure sometimes. Across the United States, an estimated 16 million people (7% of the population) have had at least one episode of depression in the past year. Women are 70% more likely to get depression than men. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Feeling unusually sad for more than two weeks
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Lack of appetite or eating more than usual
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Feeling hopeless or lost
  • Chronic pain
  • Thoughts of harming yourself

While there are many factors which contribute to depression, or susceptibility to depression, there are various steps which you can take to lessen your likelihood of depression.

First and foremost comes living and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle. There are a variety of reasons which bear responsibility for individuals who suffer from depression, and some of them include a lack of balance, a lack of health, and overextending oneself. The temptation to ongoingly push and push oneself can be great, but when you're pushing yourself at the expense of your well-being and personal stability, then problems and arise and ultimately open up the door to depression.

If you feel as though these reasons apply to you, don't fret. There is still hope. You can make a change today by finding activities which you enjoy, periodically taking breaks, and making sure that you don't feel overwhelmed or stressed out. Spend time with your loved ones and make sure that you are feeling OK before attempting new ventures or feats.

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Understanding that You are NOT a Failure

No matter what is causing you to feel like a failure, it's imperative for you to understand that you are NOT a failure. The reality is that everyone falls on hard times or goes through certain struggles in life. However, what ultimately makes or breaks us is the manner in which we choose to process and manage difficulties and struggles. Some people are broken under pressure, while others choose to fight through it and keep pushing forward to achieve the goals and objectives which they've set for themselves. You are not a failure because you are struggling. You are not a failure because you are going through a hard time or feeling uncertain about certain things.

If you feel as though you are a failure, then you might want to consider the individuals which you are surrounding yourself with. Do you have a positive, supportive, and uplifting network of friends? Do your friends encourage you or are they negative, toxic influences. Believe it or not, the people whom we choose to associate ourselves with matters. We are the average of the individuals who we most frequently associate with. Ultimately, this comes down to personal choice, but if you are feeling like a failure, then you might want to consider whether or not the individuals you share time with are the greatest influences on your mental and emotional health. At the end of the day, this will come down to a personal choice for each.

What You Can Do to Help

There are several treatments for depression including medication such as antidepressants, cognitive therapy, brain stimulation therapy, and psychotherapy (talk therapy). Low self-esteem can also be treated with medication if it is severe enough to disrupt your daily activities, but it is usually treated with talk therapy as well. If you do not have a therapist, there are many websites online that have professionals who are trained in this field. You do not have to make an appointment or go to an office. You can talk to someone online or on the phone from the comfort of your home. They also have support groups and chat rooms that can help. You are not a failure.

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