What To Do When You Feel Like A Failure At Everything

By: Joy Youell

Updated March 25, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley

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, 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
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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 failure in your life.

When You Fail at Goals

Most people set work, relationships, 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 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 failure 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.

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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 like a failure 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 the right of the 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
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Do not be afraid to be yourself in a relationship. Speak up about your opinions, feelings, and hopes, but 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. Having a relationship end can be scary, but you will be okay. When a relationship ends, it doesn't have to be a failure. 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 Feeling Like a Failure

There are many different exercises that can help you to determine your core values. If you would like help setting values-based goals, you can speak to a mental health professional like the counselors at Betterhelp.com. In addition to helping you set goals, they can also support you when you don't achieve your goals. If you feel like a failure or are filled with self-doubt, reach out for help today.

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you know if you're a failure?

When things don't turn out the way you expect, it can be easy to feel like a failure. The important thing to understand is that "feeling" like a failure, doesn't actually make you a failure at life. Failure is a part of everyday living. Everyone is new at something at least once in their lives. Each incident where you don't get the results you want -- is an opportunity to learn how to improve.

How does failure make you feel?

When people feel like a failure, it's often the result of the current circumstances not going their way. It's important to learn that it's unnecessary to feel hopeless after a perceived failure. 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're finding it difficult to pick yourself off and begin again after a failure, talk to a therapy professional about how to feel good about yourself again.

How do you not fail in life?

Failure isn't something you can always avoid. As you learn to overcome feeling like a failure as you fail at doing new things successfully (the first time), you'll begin to understand that failure isn't a negative part of life. Each time you fail, you learn new ways of finding success.

What to do when you're failing at work?

Each time you fail at doing something at work. Take it easy on yourself. 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're having trouble with trying to feel good -- despite a failure, 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 don't understand is that the road to success is paved by 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 failure by understanding that failure is a normal part of life. Everyone has failed at something in their life. Even from the time of being a child, simple things like learning how to ride a bike were affected by success and failure. When you're new at something, you may not be perfect at it on your first try. This is normal. Failure only becomes an issue -- when you can't move past it.

What does failure mean to you?

Failure is a relative term that means different things to everyone. What one person considers successful, another may consider a failure. 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 whatever you're doing. For example, if you're trying cooking for the first time, failing to make the perfect first meal might look like a failure. Burnt bacon and eggs can actually lead you 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 don't give up.

What is failure life?

Many people who feel like a failure at life 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 from failure to failure.

Is it okay to fail?

While it doesn't 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 of failure 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 actually a sign that they may not have been the best fit for you -- or that you've outgrown them.

Does a person's failure define them?

A person's failure doesn't have to 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're having trouble moving beyond failure, talk to a licensed therapy expert to learn coping strategies for overcoming failure.

How do I know if I'm bad at my job?

If you find that you're struggling with meeting the expectations of your job, this isn't 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.

What's your biggest failure?

Since failure is relative, what someone considers as their "biggest failure" depends on the person and what they value. Failure is normally related to how someone feels they are going to be perceived by their peer groups like family, friends, and coworkers.

How do you overcome a large career failure?

If you've had a major career failure, the first thing to do is figure out what caused the failure. Figure out what key step led to the failure and focus on improving this in order to bypass this obstacle in the future.

How do I know if I'm successful?

If you've achieved the goals you've 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.

How will you know you have been successful?

It's up to you to set your personal standards for success. When you find yourself achieving the goals that you've set for yourself -- you're 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 failure interview?

If you didn't 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 face failure?

Face failure by learning to look at the positive side. Just because things don't go your way in one situation -- doesn't mean they won't ever go your way again. Take notes on what you can improve, and apply the improvements the next time. If you're having trouble moving beyond failure, reach out to a licensed therapy expert at BetterHelp for support.

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