What To Do When You Feel Like A Failure At Everything

Updated August 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Failing isn't fun. Whether it makes you feel like giving up or simply increases your stress level, failure can undermine your confidence and sense of wellbeing. It can also be demotivating and depressing. However, there are ways to cope with failure, like attending online therapy, so you can maintain a strong identity and move on, even when things don't go your way.

There Are Several Ways You Can Cope With Failure

You might feel like a failure when you don't meet your goals. As social beings, we sometimes experience negative emotions when we feel we don't measure up or can't meet someone else's expectations. Even if you feel like a failure, it doesn't mean that you are one. Everyone fails sometimes. That's why it's important to be ready to encounter and overcome defeat in your life.

When You Fail At Goals

Most people set work, relationship, and personal goals. You may choose goals based on the people around you or society in general, or your goals could be things that you are personally driven to achieve. Regardless of where they came from, it's normal to feel disappointed if you fail to achieve your goals. It's also important not to dwell on the negative for too long. Here are some realistic ways to get yourself back on track after a setback.

When You Feel Like You're A Failure At Work

Work is a major part of most people's lives. Whether you enjoy it or not, you likely spend most days at your job. If you feel unappreciated or unfulfilled at work, your happiness can take a hit. If your work feels like part of your identity, a defeat at work can have an even larger impact.

It's common for people to think of work as a big part of their identity. When you meet someone new, one of the first questions they usually ask is: "What do you do?" While your work may be important to you, always remember that it's only one part of who you are as a person.

Therefore, if you fail at work, it doesn't mean you're a failure as a person. What you need to do is start practicing self-acceptance. You can learn from this experience, and you can interrupt your negative feelings by focusing on more positive things. For example, think about the tasks you do well and why your work is important.

If you're constantly feeling defeated at work, you may want to assess your job satisfaction in general. Ask yourself:

  • Are you bored?
  • Do you feel like you're not making a difference?
  • Is the pay lower than you would like it to be?
  • Do you feel like your job has little to no prestige?

These questions can help you determine why you might feel the way you do.

Once you determine the real problem, you can take steps to move toward figuring out a solution. If you're bored at work, find a way to take ownership of your work and keep yourself engaged. For example, you could start your next task without being asked.

If you want to make more of a difference, think about your customers. How would they be inconvenienced without you? If you improve your interactions with them, you might notice immediate changes in how you feel about yourself at work.

In some cases, you may realize that you want to change your career path. As long as you're not ignoring the real cause of your dissatisfaction, that might help you address some of your feelings of failure and frustration. If, however, it's not the real problem, then you'll eventually find yourself in the same situation at your next job.

When You Feel Like A Failure At Love

Humans are social by nature, and for that reason, our relationships with others can affect our self-worth. That said, it can be dangerous to tie your self-worth to how well you're doing in a romantic relationship. Putting your worth at the mercy of another person will lead to a roller coaster of emotions, and it puts you at risk for depression if that relationship ends.

There Are Several Ways You Can Cope With Failure

Do not be afraid to be yourself in a relationship. Speak up about your opinions, feelings, and hopes, and keep spending time with a variety of people. Being with another person doesn't mean you have to lose yourself. Recognize that your partner will (and should) have lots of feelings and interests that are not related to you. Similarly, when your partner is in a bad mood, try not to assume it means that you've done something wrong or that your relationship is in trouble.

On the other hand, if your partner puts you down or tells you that who you are is not enough, then something is wrong with the relationship, not with you. Ending a relationship can be scary, but you will be okay. When a relationship ends, it doesn't have to be a defeat. Instead, it can be a new beginning. Think about how your life might change for the better if you focus on yourself for a while. In many cases, the end of a relationship can be an opportunity for growth and new happiness.

Values-Based Goals

If you're constantly having trouble reaching your goals, you may discover that your goals are not aligned with your personal values. It may be worth reassessing your goals and finding new ones that can bring you greater satisfaction over time. Furthermore, goals based on your core values will be more meaningful to you, and research shows that we tend to feel our best when we're working toward goals like these.

First, you'll want to be sure that you know your personal values. Some examples of core values include:

  • Dependability
  • Reliability
  • Loyalty
  • Commitment
  • Open-mindedness
  • Consistency
  • Honesty
  • Efficiency
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Good humor
  • Compassion
  • Spirit of adventure
  • Motivation
  • Positivity
  • Optimism
  • Passion
  • Respect
  • Fitness
  • Courage
  • Education
  • Perseverance
  • Patriotism
  • Service to others
  • Environmentalism

Take some time to identify your core values, and then see if your goals match up. When we hold a core value without taking any actions related to it, we might feel like our priorities aren't right. If your goals don't reflect your core values, you might want to set goals that are more aligned with the way you want to live.

Online Help For Feelings Of Failure

Recent research has shown that online therapy has positive effects on people who are dealing with confidence issues, depression, or problems with motivation. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders compared the efficacy of online therapy with that of traditional therapy, when treating depression. The study focused on the immediate and long-term effects of both types of therapy, and found that online therapy was more successful in treating patients with depressive thoughts, after a follow-up conducted three months later. Online counseling was administered using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a method of counseling that is widely implemented to help patients deal with negative thoughts. Those undertaking online-based CBT work with therapists in limited sessions, in addition to completing assignments and utilizing specialized techniques on their own time, to help manage their symptoms.

As discussed above, internet-based CBT can be an excellent way of dealing with fear of defeat, and similar concerns. The licensed counselors at BetterHelp can give you actionable exercises to complete in between sessions. These can help you throughout the week to determine your core values, and ensure you are aligning your behaviors with those values. You will also have the opportunity to connect with your therapist more often than is possible with traditional counseling, helping you to check in—as needed—with your feelings of defeat related to work, relationships, or other aspects of your life. With BetterHelp, you have the option of interacting with your counselor through text, email, or video chat—providing you both with more opportunities to work together to bring back your confidence. If you are having feelings of failure or self-doubt, reach out for help today.

Read the reviews below to learn how people with similar issues feel about working with BetterHelp counselors.

Counselor Reviews

"Dr. Spohn has been unceasingly positive, supportive, and smart in helping me confront difficult to discuss issues and convince me to actively support my goals. With her incredibly kind advice, I've been able to achieve things I once thought impossible. She's helped me form beneficial habits and guided me into modifying my incredibly negative thought patterns into better, kinder ones. Jamie has truly been my lifeline at times and I can't imagine how much worse off I would be if I hadn't been working with her."

"After a long down period in my life, I hesitantly turned to therapy. I chose Jennifer as my counselor and it's one of the best decisions I've made. She was able to identify and guide me through my issues. Each session she would provide me with tasks to complete during the week that would help me bring back my confidence. My outlook on life has changed thank to her. If I ever find myself stuck in dark period again I would trust her to help me find the answers. Thank you so much for your help."


You might feel like a failure if you don't meet your goals or someone else's expectations.

When you let yourself down, it can lead to feelings of self-criticism and dissatisfaction, but you can learn to move forward. All you need are the right tools-take the first step today.

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