What To Do When You’re Feeling Like A Failure
Self-criticism is a common theme among people who experience setbacks and difficulties in jobs, college, or relationships. Sometimes this self-criticism leads to a common problem—feelings of failure. Nearly everyone feels that way at one time or another. However, sometimes the feeling is persistent and leads to an overall lack of self-worth and self-acceptance. When a person lacks a general sense of self-acceptance and self-worth, then the failure feeling may become ever-present and serious intervention is necessary.
Setbacks, relationship issues, and other problems are always a possibility in life, and understanding how to psychologically bounce back can lead to fewer feelings of failure and more self-acceptance. Learning how to change unhelpful thought patterns and discovering methods of building your self-confidence can help improve your mental well-being and the way you feel about yourself.
List your successes
Often, people get into the habit of focusing on their failures. It makes sense to a certain degree, because by paying attention to things that didn't go well, you can determine what went wrong, and you can make a new plan to do better next time.
On the other hand, if you focus too much on your failures without acknowledging when you have succeeded, you can end up feeling incompetent. When you feel that way, make a list of your successes. Creating that list will help you realize how distorted your thinking has become.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It is believed that Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Sometimes people judge themselves as a failure because they have not accomplished what they believe others have accomplished.
If this describes your thinking, consider stepping back and reminding yourself that you are a unique individual with your own talents and skills to offer the world. You might not be able to do exactly what others do, but by the same token, others might not be able to do what you're capable of doing either.
Take care of your physical needs
Don't discount your need for a healthy diet, a good night's sleep, and adequate exercise. When you don't take care of your physical needs, everything can begin to look dismal. By taking care of yourself, you can feel better quickly, and your thoughts will naturally turn in a positive direction.
Engage in self compassion
Perhaps finding ways to experience good thoughts and change the bad thoughts to good thoughts may help. This might be achieved through cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to redirect negative thought patterns and encourage critical analysis of negative thinking.
Watch for signs of depression
The feeling of being a failure can be one signal that your mood is dipping toward depression. So, it's imperative that you pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical condition. If you notice any of the following signs of depression, you may benefit from discussing your feelings with a licensed professional, such as a therapist.
Always feeling sad or empty
Insomnia or sleeping too much
No appetite or overeating
Loss of interest in the things that usually make you happy
Feeling irritable or restless
Difficulty making decisions
Thinking about suicide
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 988 and is available 24/7.
Find social support
Individuals who struggle with feelings of failure and inadequacy might find it helpful to identify truly supportive friends and family who express unconditional positive regard. Choose one of these individuals and ask them what they truly value about you. Then think about what they tell you. Allow yourself to really take in the positive messages you receive—and while you may feel uncomfortable accepting their message, remind yourself that they really do see you in this way, and that they care about your well-being.
Having the thought, "Why am I such a failure?" doesn't mean that it's true. Only when you stop experiencing emotionally painful feelings can you begin to enjoy your life. As a bonus, you can build off your past successes to accomplish even more than you have in the past. Counselors are available to talk to you right now at BetterHelp.
In addition to being convenient, online therapy is proven by research to be an equally effective form of treatment for several different mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and more, when compared to face-to-face options.
What does it mean when you feel like you're a failure?
Feeling like a failure can often come from a negative perception of yourself due to low self-esteem and often causes emotional distress. It can arise when you compare yourself to others and fall short. Everyone makes mistakes, however. Mistakes provide chances to learn and grow.
What is it called when you always feel like a failure?
If you always feel like a failure, it might be a sign of a deeper problem or mental health condition like depression or anxiety. A feeling of failure can occur due to negative core beliefs and low self-esteem. Consider seeking emotional support from family members, friends, or mental health professionals to gain insight and learn healthy ways to cope.
What causes people to feel like failures?
People may feel like failures because of different factors like high personal expectations, pressure from family or friends, and past experiences of tough times. Some people find themselves stuck in a comparison trap in which they constantly measure their success against others. In addition, factors like substance abuse, stressful life events, and a lack of support from parents or other family members can worsen negative emotions about failure.
How do I stop feeling like I failed?
You can stop feeling like you've failed by shifting how you think about success and mistakes. For example, you can shift your perspective by learning from mistakes and viewing them as lessons learned. Practice being kind to yourself and remember that not everything in life has to be perfect. You can also spend time on activities you're confident in to improve your self-esteem and rebound from a mistake.
What are the signs of a failure?
The concept of failure is often subjective. Common signs might include being unhappy with past achievements and overlooking successes. However, in many cases, failure is in how you perceive your situation. Some people may experience failure and use it as motivation to try again and succeed in other ways.
Why am I not succeeding in life?
A sense of lacking success in life can be caused by different factors. It might be due to setting unrealistic goals, achieving goals that don’t interest you, or experiencing unexpected challenges in life. Sometimes, external factors such as living situations or limited opportunities can influence a person’s success.
Why do I feel like a failure with ADHD?
Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often struggle with feelings of failure because of symptoms like difficulty concentrating, disorganization, and impulsivity. If you have ADHD, you might repeat mistakes or fail to meet certain expectations, which can affect self-esteem. However, many with ADHD have special strengths that can set them up for success, such as creativity, enthusiasm, and the ability to think outside the box.
What is the psychology behind failure?
The psychology behind failure typically involves how we interpret and react to not meeting expectations or goals. For example, if you've had a tough time in the past, you might start to think you'll always fail, which can hold you back from trying new things. It’s possible to overcome negative patterns of failure through mindset shifts and support from other people, such as friends and mental health professionals.
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