“I feel like I messed up, and can’t stop feeling like a failure.
What should I do?”
So you’ve landed on this article.
In fact, it should be called a letter to every sad little soul who feels like a failure right now – I might have something to lift you out of this dark cloud you’re in.
I can’t even express how easy it is to be brought down in this world right now.
These high demands everywhere (work, family, relationships, looks, achievements) can feel overwhelming already, and just in case you fail at something important, it can take a split second to feel like a failure.
If you’re prone to anxiety or gloomy moods, it only adds up.
I know this well and have been in this dark cloud numerous times.
I have tried, I have failed, I tried again, I failed again.
But here I am – alive, safe, moving forward, and not going to stop.
Here’s how I overcame feeling like a failure – and you can too.
How To Stop Feeling Like a Failure
1. Understand That You Are Not What You Do Or Have
This is the first thing to remember when you’re feeling like a failure: what you do, what your job is, what you own, and how you look are NOT who you are.
These are just your life situations, things, symbols, or surrounding objects.
The amount of your achievements is also not who you are.
Think about it – if you wiped out everything from your memory – would you be… nothing?
You would still be You, just not affected by the things that happened in your life.
Being able to disidentify from your life situation can be an extremely liberating thing.
Did you fail at something?
So what – do not identify with that failure and don’t let it affect the real You.
After all, it is the only thing that really matters.
Not your career, relationships, possessions, or achievements.
“So should I just stop trying to advance in life?
Should I stop chasing my dreams?”
You should go for them with all of your heart, but NOT because you have to, NOT because you’re useless without it, but because it is something you want to do.
It can be something that can improve your life situation.
It might be something you want to have, but it is NOT something that can complete you.
You already are complete.
Goals, careers, relationships & success are just some cherries on the cake, and chasing them should be an entertaining game, not an endless fight VS feeling like a failure.
2. Feeling Like a Failure?
Good For You!
Yes, believe it or not, failures can be good for you.
When you stop letting failure define you, it actually becomes beneficial.
Every failure is a lesson, even if it’s painful.
Can you ride a bike?
Remember how you were learning to do it.
You’ve probably fallen a few times, cried looking at that scraped knee, and thought that “it’s just impossible to ride a thing with only two narrow wheels!”.
But you tried again, learned to avoid those bumpy rocks on the road, and strived to keep that balance – until you’ve learned to ride like a winner of Tour De France.
Every painful experience teaches you a valuable lesson.
If you are feeling like a failure right now, think about everything that led you to this thought and look for a deeper meaning or a lasting lesson.
What have you learned?
What information have you gathered?
It doesn’t matter how long your life has been going in the downward spiral – it’s never too late to look back, appreciate what you’ve learned, accept the pain, even if you’re feeling like a failure right now – and move up.
3. You Can Change, Even If It Takes Multiple Tries
If people gave up on their dreams as soon as they felt like a failure, this world wouldn’t be as it is right now.
We wouldn’t even have electricity if Nikola decided that he’s a failure and it’s not worth trying anymore.
Even if you feel like you or your life is a mess, especially if you already tried changing it several times and failed, it’s not an end yet.
You can push through this dark cloud, try again, and work on your dreams until you succeed.
You should not stay feeling like a failure for long!
My own life experience taught me that those “never give up” quotes are true.
There were times when I was depressed, broke, completely unmotivated, and anxious to the sky, but I tried to stay focused, as much as it was possible for me at that time.
If I needed a pause, I took a pause.
If I needed to realign myself, I did that for a while (mindfulness, meditation, and journaling work great for this).
If I wanted to cry, I cried until I looked like a dragon with bloodshot eyes.
And after that, I went back to my goal planners and slowly got myself back up.
Failing and trying again, even multiple times is NOT wrong.
Feeling like a failure is a phase.
For some people, gently waiting it out, or actually pushing through it is a way to go forward.
You might be one of those people and it’s fine.
4. How To Stop Caring Too Much
If you’re feeling like a failure right now, here’s what you can do.
- Rethink everything that causes these thoughts.
- Accept every failure and thank it for the lessons it taught you.
- Agree that your failures, achievements, possessions, and looks are NOT YOU.
- Let everything go.
Scream, cry if you need it.
Set yourself free.
- Decide to not be defined by failures.
- Set new goals.
- Accept the fact that you might fail again and be OK with this.
- Give a genuine effort to change what it is you don’t like in your life.
- And if you ever need to – do these steps again.
Just don’t settle for the feeling of failure, because you are not.
No one is.
When To Seek Help
Please note that if you have deeprooted feelings of failure that don’t respond to your own effort to accept and move past them, it is crucial to seek professional help.
A mental health specialist can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore these feelings and understand their root causes.
They can offer effective therapeutic strategies and tools to navigate and manage these overwhelming emotions.
You might be dealing with conditions like depression or anxiety disorders that manifest in feelings of chronic inadequacy or failure.
These are not personal shortcomings, but serious health concerns that deserve appropriate care.
If self-help methods aren’t enough, remember it’s not only okay but absolutely, vitally important to reach out to a mental health professional.
There’s no shame in seeking help.
In conclusion, the feeling of failure isn’t necessarily a debilitating one if you reframe your perspective and start seeing it as a stepping stone towards growth and success.
The most important thing to remember is that failure is not a flaw.
It is not a defining characteristic that cages you within the walls of regret and self-doubt.
Instead, it’s a fundamental part of life’s learning curve, offering precious lessons that prepare you for the journey ahead.
Remember, every successful individual, every inspiring leader, and every innovative genius in history has been feeling like a failure at least once in their lives.
But they took their failures as lessons and used them as fuel for their journeys.
So don’t stop.
Most importantly – stop caring about what others think about you or the way you live your life.
Wear your choices like a crown and if anyone ever tries to tell you how you should live, refer back to your goals and ask yourself – is it them, or you who set those goals?
Is it their life, or your life?
Here’s more on this topic:
However, if it seems too hard or even impossible for you to deal with these negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings by yourself, it’s time to talk to a mental health professional.
Working with someone who understands how you feel can be a liberating, healing, and empowering experience.
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