Failing can be distressing for some people. If failing or a fear of failing makes you feel like giving up or increases your stress level, you're not alone. These responses to failure may seem to undermine your confidence and sense of well-being, demotivating you and causing a shift in mood. However, there are several professional techniques to cope with failure; you're not alone in these experiences. Understanding your options when failure arises can help you prepare for future situations that may cause distress.
Why Do I Fail?
Some people set goals they want to attain to improve relationships, their status at work or to meet personal aspirations. You may choose goals based on the people around you or society or use your ambition to set goals for the distant future.
Regardless of where goals come from, it can be natural to feel disappointed if you fail to achieve them. People may fail due to multiple causes, and not all causes may be in your control. Although you might make mistakes, sometimes failure comes from the mistakes of others or misunderstandings. These situations can be stressful, but they don't necessarily mean anything negative about who you are. It can be possible to reframe failure and find ways to let it motivate you instead of causing you to want to give up.
How To Cope With Failure At Work
Work is a significant part of many people's lives. Whether you enjoy working or would rather stay home, you may spend most of your days at work. If you feel unappreciated or unfulfilled at work, happiness can decrease, and work morale may be low. If these emotions impact your work quality or a failure occurs, your distress with the situation may increase.
It can be common for some people to think of work as a part of their identity. When you meet someone new, they may ask about your job and what you enjoy. If your work is important to you, it can be helpful to know that it is only one part of who you are, and failure doesn't mean that every aspect of who you are is ruined.
Ask Yourself Questions
If you frequently experience feelings of defeat at work, you may assess your job satisfaction in general. Ask yourself:
- Am I bored at work?
- Do I feel like I'm not making a difference?
- Is the pay lower than what I believe is fair for this job description?
- Does my job offer me a chance to be promoted?
- Have I ever received a raise?
- Am I making my best effort to complete my duties?
- Is there any outside circumstance that may be distracting me from work?
These questions can help you determine why you might feel like a failure. Once you determine the cause, you can take steps to move toward a solution. For example, if you are bored at work, you might outline a schedule that keeps you more engaged. You might also ask your boss for a few odd jobs or new duties to help keep you busy.
Think About Your Impact
If you want to make a difference, consider your customers or clients. 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.
Consider A Career Change
In some cases, you may realize that you want to change your career path. If you are not ignoring the real cause of your dissatisfaction, that might help you address some of your feelings of failure and frustration. However, if your career choice is not a problem for you, changing careers may cause frustrations to travel with you. Failure can be a chance to grow at work, and it's not necessarily negative.
How To Cope With Feeling Like A Failure In Love
Humans are social by nature, so relationships with others may affect your sense of self-worth. However, it can be dangerous to tie your self-worth to romantic relationships and whether you are loved. Putting your worth at the mercy of another person can lead to anxiety and fear if a relationship ends or doesn't turn out as you hope. Below are a few strategies for coping when a relationship fails.
When entering a relationship, be yourself from the beginning. Speak up about your opinions, feelings, and hopes, and spend time with diverse people. Being with another person does not mean you have to lose yourself. Recognize that your partner can have feelings and interests unrelated to you. In addition, if they are upset or distressed, it may be helpful not to assume it is your fault if you haven't made a mistake. Being yourself from the beginning and looking for healthy behaviors from potential partners may lead to you having healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
Leave Unhealthy Relationships
If your partner puts you down or tells you that you are a failure, this may be a sign of abuse or an unhealthy relationship. In these cases, it might be safest to end the relationship. When a relationship ends, it does not necessarily signify defeat. Instead, it can be a new beginning and a phase of growth. Think about how your life might change if you have time to focus on yourself and fewer instances of someone calling you names and hurting you.
If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.
How To Set Healthy Goals
If you often struggle to reach your goals, you may discover your goals are not aligned with your values. It may be worth reassessing your goals and finding new ones to bring you more significant satisfaction over time. Further, goals based on your core values may be more meaningful to you.
Examples of core values may include the following:
- Good humor
- Spirit of adventure
- Service to others
Once you identify your core values, see if your goals align with them. If your goals do not reflect your core values, find ways to fit them. For example, if your core value is honesty, but your goal is to change your personality to fit in with popular people, you aren't being honest with yourself or others. Instead, you might restructure your goal to find friends who value you for who you are.
Professional Support For Perceived Failure
If you're struggling to set goals or understand why you think you're a failure, it may be helpful to speak to a therapist. A counselor can help you outline your goals, restructure your thoughts, and help you develop healthy behaviors. If you can't find a counselor in your area or struggle with financial insecurity, you can also try therapy through an online platform like BetterHelp.
Recent research has shown that online therapy positively affects people with confidence challenges, depression, or a lack of motivation. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders compared the efficacy of online therapy with that of traditional therapy in treating depression. The study focused on the immediate and long-term effects of both types of therapy delivery and found that online therapy was more successful in treating clients with depression, with results lasting at the three-month follow-up.
Participants received online counseling using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a talk therapy widely implemented to help clients cope with and restructure negative or maladaptive 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 manage their symptoms.
Internet-based CBT can be a convenient and cost-effective way to cope with a fear of defeat or failure. An online therapist can offer actionable exercises and worksheets for clients to complete between sessions. You may also have the opportunity to connect with your therapist through messaging during the week, outside of sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you know if you are a failure?
When things do not turn out the way you expect, you may feel bad about yourself. The important thing to understand is that "feeling" like a failure, does not make you a failure at life. It is a part of everyday living. There is always going to be a learning curve. Each incident where you do not get the results you want -- is an opportunity to learn how to improve.
How does failure make you feel?
When people feel bad about themselves, it is often the result of current circumstances not going their way. It is important to learn that it is unnecessary to feel hopeless after a perceived defeat. Failing is indeed a part of life. You win some and you lose some and that is perfectly okay. Keep this in mind if you ever find yourself having to deal with failure. If you are finding it difficult to pick yourself up and start again after a defeat, talk to a professional therapist about how to feel good about yourself again.
How do you not fail in life?
It is not something you can always avoid. As you learn to overcome feeling like a failure when you struggle with new things, you will begin to understand that failure is not a negative part of life. Each time you fail, you learn new ways of finding success.
What to do when you are failing at work?
Take it easy on yourself when you fail at doing something at work. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you could have done to facilitate a more positive outcome. Remember that failing is an action and not a personality trait. If you are having trouble with trying to feel good -- despite a defeat, reach out to a licensed therapy professional for support.
What does success feel like?
When people are successful, they often feel elated and excited at their accomplishments. However, what many people do not understand is that the road to success is paved with failures. When trying new avenues in life, very few of us rarely get it exactly right the first time.
How do you accept your failure?
Learn to accept your defeat by understanding that failure is a normal part of life. Everyone has failed at something in their life. Even from childhood, simple things like learning how to ride a bike were affected by success and failure. When you are new at something, you may not be perfect at it on your first try. This is normal. It only becomes an issue when you are unable to move past it.
What does failure mean to you?
It is a relative term that means different things to everyone. What one person considers a success; another may consider a defeat. In most cases, our perception of success and failure is set in early childhood as we take social cues from our primary caregivers, families, and friends.
How is failure important to your success?
Failure is important to success, because each time you fail, you understand more about the process of the goal you are trying to accomplish. For example, if you are trying cooking for the first time, failing to make the perfect first meal might look like a failure. Burnt bacon and eggs eventually leads to success when you learn that the "wrong" temperature on the stove will burn. Getting it wrong will eventually lead you to the right answer -- when you do not give up.
What is failure at life?
Many people who feel bad are having trouble moving beyond negative experiences. These negative experiences can seem to carry more weight if the person is prone to obsessive behavior or has other issues with existing mental health issues. Talk to a licensed therapy professional to learn how to cope and move seamlessly past your failures.
Is it okay to fail?
While it does not necessarily feel good to fail (at the time) it is okay to fail. No one expects perfection from you every single time, performance in life is affected by many external factors like environment, opportunity, emotional state, and other critical factors.
What are some failures in life?
The definition in life is relative. Some people think that ending relationships, jobs, or other desirable situations is a sign that they are a failure. In retrospect, the ending of everyday situations in relationships is a sign that they may not have been the best fit for you -- or that you have outgrown them.
Does a person's failure define them?
A person's defeat does not define them. Failing is an important part of life that provides us with the opportunity to learn just how strong we really are. If you are having trouble moving beyond failure, talk to a licensed therapy expert to learn coping strategies for overcoming defeat.
How do I know if I am bad at my job?
If you find that you are struggling with meeting the expectations of your job, this is not necessarily an indication of failure. In most cases, issues with performance can be addressed by making changes to training procedures or taking time to learn new skills.
How do you overcome a large career failure?
If you have had a major career failure, the first thing to do is figure out what caused it. Figure out what key step led to the failure and focus on improving this to bypass this obstacle in the future.
How do I know if I am successful?
If you have achieved the goals you have set for yourself in life, some people consider this as being successful. When you achieve the goals in life that other people value, they will perceive you as successful based on how well you perform. Success is a relative term.
It is up to you to set your personal standards for success. When you find yourself achieving the goals that you have set for yourself – you are on your way to becoming successful in your own life.
What is the synonym of success?
Most of us equate the word success with "achievement." This means that we often judge ourselves on how well we perform at meeting a specific set of standards. We can set our own standards for achievement or adopt the standards of others.
How do you deal with a failure at an interview?
If you did not get the results you were expecting from your interview, think about how the conversation went and ask yourself if you missed any important cues. Learning to understand body language can help you improve the results of interviews in the future.
How can you face failure?
Face failure by learning to look at the positive side. Just because things do not go your way in one situation – does not mean they will never go your way again. Take notes on what you can improve and apply the improvements the next time. If you are having trouble moving beyond failure, reach out to a licensed therapy expert at BetterHelp for support.
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