When You Feel Like a Failure Consider This

We’ve all experienced it haven’t we?  

That unwanted, and perhaps embarrassing, feeling of failure.

You look at what you have or haven’t done in your life; whether that’s over the last few days, weeks, months or years, and you can’t help thinking how pathetic it all is especially when you compare yourself to what other people have managed to accomplish.

Thoughts of ‘I’m going nowhere’, ‘they’ve done xyz and I’m still in the same place’ taunt you, and then to make matters worse you start asking yourself a ton of unhelpful questions:

What’s wrong with me?

Why can’t I do xyz?

Why am I so slow?

Why can’t I get xyz right?

Why do I have to feel this way?

Before you know it, you’re caught in a downwards spiral.

If you take a moment to step outside your thoughts of what’s wrong and how bad you feel, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that everyone has those kinds of moments. People you don’t know, people you know—those closest to you.

Most of them have, as the saying goes, been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and it’s an ongoing epidemic that many will continue to feel.

Some people are able to deal with it a lot better than others and keep moving forwards, and others let it bring them down. If you fall into the last category, it doesn’t matter. How you feel is how you feel.

The thing is, whether we like to hear it or not we often cause our own misery.

How? By staying stuck in our heads. By staying stuck in the thoughts that come through of not feeling good enough and of being a complete failure. I’m not saying this in order to point my finger and make you feel bad, but to point out something that we all do (yes, me included) without realising that we have a choice. Maybe we simply forget, if it’s something we already know.

We have a choice as to whether we follow those thoughts and hold onto them for dear life therefore perpetuating the feeling of failure, or we can choose to turn away from them and put our attention elsewhere.

That doesn’t mean the feeling will automatically disappear, but at least it won’t have as much of an impact on how you feel. And because you’re not paying the thought or thoughts as much attention, they’ll disappear a lot quicker.

So instead of going into all the ‘you’ve got this’, ‘keep on going’, ‘believe in yourself’ motivational talk, which can be helpful to a certain degree, I’m going to take you in a different direction.

Think about this for a second.

Your closest family member, or friend, tells you she doesn’t feel good enough and feels like a failure. She has a craft business, but she didn’t manage to sell any of her products last week. What would be your response to that person?

At a guess, I’d say it would be something along the lines of, ‘no, you’re not. Everyone in business has slow days or weeks here and there. It’s normal. Don’t worry and keep going. You’re more than good enough!’ Am I right?

Now, let’s say you have a business too (if you don’t, let’s just pretend). Months after hearing that that person had a week of no sales and feels not good enough and like a failure, you experience something similar. You’ve done all you can to market your business and yourself every day for a whole week but no joy.

You start feeling down on yourself, and you can’t help feeling that sense of failure that your close friend or family member felt a few months before. You start to see yourself as some kind of loser, and you’re feeling pretty silly.

Now, that may be what you believe – that you’re a silly loser – but what about your friend? She experienced the same kind of feeling all those weeks ago, so does that mean she’s a silly loser as well?

‘Oh come on!’ I hear you say, ‘of course I wouldn’t call her or see her as a loser. That’s a terrible thing to suggest.’ But that’s my point. If she isn’t a loser for feeling like a failure, and if you would never call her as such then why are you thinking that of yourself?

If she’s not a failure, you can’t be either no matter how much you feel it. It doesn’t make sense that two people can go through a similar experience and for one it means she’s hopeless, but for the other absolutely nothing.

Even if you don’t know anyone who’s going through something similar to you, there will be people out there—guaranteed. So if you’re going to call yourself a failure, you’ll have to include all those other people.

And by taking you in this direction, all I’m doing is flipping your thought process. Like I said, we get trapped in our thoughts and it’s important to do what we can to look at a situation from a completely different angle rather than thinking we’ve got nowhere else to go.

But now you might be thinking that if you consider someone as something even more unpleasant than a failure or a loser based on what they have or haven’t done, and you’re in the same boat, then it means you’ll have to consider yourself in the same way.

In other words, if your situation or the way you feel is similar to someone else’s, however you see them – good or bad – means that the ‘rule’ applies to you too. But what it really comes down to is perception. We can choose to see ourselves however we want, so the question is what are you going to choose?

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