How To Stop Feeling Like A Failure

Do you feel like a failure right now?

It’s okay – we’ve all been there.

We’ve all felt that crushing disappointment when things go wrong.

We’ve all pointed the finger of blame squarely at ourselves.

We’ve all beaten ourselves up for not doing better.

Whatever the cause, you can rethink your current position and the outcomes you have experienced.

You can stop this feeling of failure in its tracks.

In this article, we’ll work through ways to identify what’s triggering this feeling, as well as the steps you can take toward moving on from it.

The first step is to…

Speak To Loved Ones

At times, we feel so helpless that it seems as though there really is no way out.

This is when we need to invite others into our lives to help. This can come in the form of close friends or family members.

Speaking to people you trust is one of the best ways to get through whatever it is you’re experiencing – in this case, a sense of failure.

Whether this is a short-term dip in a mood cycle that you’re already familiar with, a new feeling that’s arisen due to a relationship breakdown or other upsetting event, or an issue that you’ve been battling for years, there will be someone who cares.

It’s very important to remember that when you’re feeling this low – you are not alone and you do matter.

By reaching out to those around you, you can try to work through whatever is going on that’s made you feel as though you have failed.

What might seem impossible to you when you’re sitting at home alone can be broken down into something more manageable when you’re talking with people who are close to you.

Sometimes, acknowledging these emotions is the biggest step, and that awareness often comes through conversations.

Make sure you’re speaking with someone you trust – a partner, close friend, family member, or colleague/ boss that you get on well with.

You need to feel comfortable being completely honest. Don’t worry, it’ll be much easier than you think and you’ll find the words just pouring out once you get going.

If speaking face-to-face sounds too difficult for you, messaging in one form or another is still a good option here.

Your thoughts and feelings are heavy, but sharing how you feel will lift some of that weight from your mind.

When you invite someone in to understand how you feel, you’re no longer alone in the situation and things will start to feel less daunting and all-encompassing.

Keep Track Of Accomplishments

Feeling like a ‘loser’ can spark from a huge variety of things, many of which are centered around work. If you think this may be the case, it’s time to start keeping track of what you’re doing.

It may be that your day-to-day life at work isn’t enjoyable, even though you’re delivering really great results. This may be because you’ve got bogged down in the menial, everyday tasks and lost sight of the bigger picture.

In your mind, you’re slogging away at your desk, punching in numbers or replying to emails.

In reality, you’re part of a huge campaign or are behind the creation or marketing of an award-winning project.

When you’re feeling stuck and unfulfilled, you have a tendency to forget about all the great things you’ve done.

By keeping track of these things now, when you look back in a few months time, you’ll be able to see just what you’ve been part of.

By recording projects you’ve worked on, strategies you’ve developed, and presentations you’ve delivered, you’ll be able to look back and realize just how much work you put in and how well you’re doing.

Keeping track of everything will remind you of your abilities and the responsibilities you’ve been given.

Each time you revisit your list, you’ll be reminded that these are not the traits or experiences of someone who is a failure.

Remember to keep going with it so that you always have something to turn to.

These accomplishments don’t need to be work-related, of course. You can jot down anything that you’re doing.

If you’ve travelled somewhere new recently or been on a date for the first time in years, make a note of it.

It might not have been the best trip ever and the date might not have led to anything, but these experiences are a big deal, especially if you are prone to anxiety and feelings of failure and self-doubt.

It might sound silly, but these activities take up a lot of energy and are worth documenting – they are accomplishments in some way and you should be proud of them.

By keeping track of these types of things, you’ll feel more prepared and comfortable doing them again, and again, and again.

Getting into this pattern of being proactive is a fantastic way to start working on your self-confidence. In no time at all, you’ll find those feelings of failure being quashed.

Remember The Good Days

Making notes of the things that leave you feeling good is another great way to create something you can turn to during more difficult times.

Some days can hit you really hard and you might feel as though you’ll never feel confident or satisfied again, and that you’ll always be a failure and always have been a failure.

By having something to look back on that reminds you of more positive times, you can start to rationalize your feelings a bit more.

Things can seem hopeless at times and you may feel as though you’ve never had any joy in your life. When this happens, look back at your list and remind yourself that things have been good in the past and use that to power you through to them getting better again.

The list doesn’t have to include anything amazingly special if you’re feeling a bit daunted! You can keep a note of small things that boost your mood and that cheer you up when you’re feeling low.

You can write down things you’ve done with your days off from work that have made you feel happy and capable, and you can track how much progress you’re making with your mood and attitude.

It can be really strengthening to see how much better you’re becoming at managing your moods, and it will serve as a reminder that you can take control and take positive steps forward.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

We all know about this one, of course, but it’s still so worth mentioning.

A lot of our feelings of self-doubt are in relation to other people. This is totally natural, so try not to beat yourself up over it.

As human beings, we’re designed to be competitive and size ourselves up against others. In reality, this makes life very difficult and can lead to feelings of unhappiness, jealousy, and inadequacy, which all too often lead to us feeling like failures or losers.

If you notice that these feelings crop up more when you’re talking to certain people, it may be time to distance yourself a little bit.

Most of us have someone in our lives that we look up to and absolutely adore, but who accidentally makes us feel quite bad about ourselves.

We’re drawn to certain types of people, so it’s normal to find that you have some friends who represent what you want – be it how they look, their partner, their career plan, or just how fun they are to be around.

Some feelings of jealousy are normal, but if it’s leading to you feeling like a failure in comparison, you need to find a way to stop this toxic behavior.

If you feel much worse about yourself after being on social media, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember that most of us feel a bit inadequate after seeing filtered photos of people on holiday or wearing the latest designer clothes or showing off their ‘perfect’ bodies.

It’s important to remember that we don’t need to feel this way – we have control over what we view, even if we feel we cannot control how we react to it.

Start by unfollowing any people or pages that make you feel really bad about yourself.

If you can’t for some reason (they’re a close friend or you know them through work), you can mute them from your newsfeed or homepage – they won’t know that you’ve done this and you won’t get bombarded with posts or photos that leave you feeling horrifically inadequate.

Remember – feed your feed.

Try To Rationalize Your Thoughts

This can be incredibly difficult and it isn’t something that will just happen overnight, we know.

By trying to set up healthier thought processes, you will start to create a much better mindset for yourself.

You may or may not have heard the expression ‘neurons that fire together, wire together.’

This essentially means that if we have a similar thought process over and over again, it becomes very natural to us.

One thought will automatically link us to another thought, which will link to a behavior.

If we get ourselves into the habit of thinking irrational thoughts, such as “I’m such a loser” or “Why am I such a failure?” after relatively small setbacks, these thoughts will become an automatic response and our minds will just jump straight to them in future.

Sounds pretty scary, but you have to remember that this works both ways.

If we can try to rationalize our thoughts and re-program our minds, we can reroute them so that they jump to another thought.

Rather than going straight to “Why am I a loser?” we can start to teach our minds to think, “Okay, is it really so bad? What can I learn from this?”

The more we actively try to have these positive, developmental thoughts, the more they’ll become second nature.

Pretty soon, we’ll be rationalizing our thoughts almost subconsciously.

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Ask Others If They Feel The Same Way – They Will!

This links back to our earlier point about talking to loved ones about how you feel.

It’s pretty likely that they have felt that way at some point. They may even be feeling the same as you right now.

By asking them about these kinds of issues as well as just talking about it, you can start to make a lot more sense of what is going on.

Part of feeling like a ‘loser’ is us comparing ourselves to everyone else who just seems to breeze through life and never have any problems.

The more aware we are that other people struggle too, the less daunting and huge our own feelings will seem.

Again, speak with people you trust if you want to be fully open, or try to be casual if you’re talking with those you don’t know so well.

Most people you work with will have a freak out about being awful at their job at some point.

Your friend with the husband and the baby might actually be slightly miserable deep down and may resent you for being single.

Equally, your single friend may feel like a failure because you’re married and she’s not.

By having these kinds of conversations, you’ll start to realize that everyone has something that makes them feel bad about themselves.

We all have something that nags away at us when we’re lying in bed at night, and something that pops into our minds when we’re having a low day.

But we’re not saying that your problems aren’t real.

We’re simply saying that as soon as you realize that everyone around you has something going on in their lives and minds, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more able to deal with them.

We all react very differently to things and your response to the same trigger may be very different to someone else’s.

By learning more about how other people feel and how they deal with their emotions, you may find ways to tackle your own issues.

For example, your friend’s breakup may have lasted for a few months before he went on a date with someone. This date may have made him feel good about himself once again.

You, however, have convinced yourself that you’re a failure and that nobody will ever want you. So it’s been almost a year since you dated.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, if you’re comfortable with it. But, by looking into how other people have dealt with similar experiences, you can start to try to shift your behaviors.

Find The Trigger(s)

When we’re feeling miserable and inadequate, our moods tend to take over and we feel pretty hopeless about every aspect of our lives.

It can be hard to pinpoint what actually makes us feel this way, which can make it even harder to deal with and move on from.

Do your best to find whatever it is that triggers these feelings. Keeping a journal of your emotions can be really helpful – you can record simple parts of each day and then fill in what feelings crop up and when.

By doing this kind of thing, you’ll be able to figure out if there is a pattern (e.g. your days off from work feel unfulfilled and you feel miserable) or if these emotions just crop up randomly.

By working out what is causing these feelings, you’ll be in a much better place to confront them and, hopefully, cope with or eliminate them.

If you do feel like there is no real reason or pattern behind the mood swings or low moments, it may be worth speaking to your doctor as there could be something physical going on.

This isn’t as scary as it sounds, don’t worry!

It could simply be a slight hormone imbalance or an intolerance to something you’re eating that is making your body react through your emotions.

Remember while doing all of this that you are a human being – you are built to react to things around you and there is nothing wrong with that.

Feeling like a bit of a ‘loser’ from time to time is natural and something that most people experience.

It’s when it begins to take over your life that you should consider reaching out to a professional.

Seek Guidance And Set Goals

Part of feeling like a failure is feeling very stuck where you are in life. When you feel unable to progress in your life, you start to focus on the lack of experiences you’re having.

This will inevitably lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, which is where “Why am I such a loser?” feelings normally come from.

One way to tackle these feelings head-on is to ask for guidance.

Speak to your boss about setting objectives. Having a target to work toward is great for most of us – a little bit of pressure can be beneficial as we push ourselves that bit harder…

…and you’ll feel incredible when you reach these goals.

You can ask for figure-specific targets if you’re motivated by stats and numbers. Or, if you’re more creative or wordy, ask your boss for objectives that reflect this side of you so that you feel motivated and invested.

Similarly, ask at your gym for a list of goals to work toward, or set them yourself. Things like pushing yourself to run a few extra kilometers over the next month or moving up the weights system are good ways to empower yourself.

By achieving something, whatever it may be, you’ll instantly see a boost in your self-esteem and you’ll feel more confident going into other activities, too.

Practice Mindfulness

Shifting your mindset can seem almost impossible at times, but there are some simple steps you can take.

They won’t have an immediate effect in the sense you may be wanting, but the changes will be happening on some level.

Mindfulness links to the concept of ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’ that we mentioned earlier. By setting your mind up to follow certain pathways, you can start to move away from the feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

Mindfulness comes in many forms, some being meditation or yoga and some being gratitude practice or other daily rituals.

Mindfulness is essentially focusing on being present; in the moment. This practice aims to still the mind and keep you focused on what’s happening right now.

Feeling like a failure often stems from either the past (mistakes you feel you’ve made, not achieving what you ‘should’ have done, etc.) or the future (I’m never going to achieve my goals, I won’t amount to anything, etc.)

Our minds are masters at jumping between these two without sparing much thought for the here and now.

By encouraging your mind to stay present, you can start to appreciate what’s going on around you.

You’ll start to develop an understanding and enjoyment of where you are in your life now, which will really help with those feelings of dissatisfaction.

If you’re new to meditation, head to YouTube for some helpful tutorials, or download apps like Heapspace and Calm – these both offer guided meditation so you’ll have someone talking you through it all.

Yoga is another great way to practice mindfulness, as so much of your energy is spent focusing on your breath and body that negative thoughts tend to just melt away.

Again, YouTube is a great option if you don’t fancy joining a club (although we’d suggest joining a class at some point just for fun!).

If you’d rather ramp it up a bit, other forms of exercise can act as a gateway to a mindful state – it’s all about keeping yourself focused on what’s happening right now.

Running is perfect as you can maintain your awareness on placing one foot in front of the other, as well as your breath.

Try Something New And Do Something Uncomfortable

Feeling like a failure can be stifling and it can start to infect every aspect of your life. Once you let it in, it can be very hard to shift away from negative feelings and self-doubt.

By trying something totally new, you’ll find yourself in a different situation and you’ll be forced out of the comfort zone you’ve built around yourself.

For many of us, however much we hate it, our negativity can be quite comforting in some ways.

Many of us wallow in our misery – we indulge ourselves in feeling bad because it’s easy and familiar.

Of course, for some people, it really isn’t a choice and we’ll come on to that shortly.

If, being totally honest with yourself, you do have some control over what you’re doing with your life at this precise moment, it’s time to cancel that pity-party.

Being in a new situation with people we don’t know almost forces us to act in a certain way. While you may be comfortable crying and having a strop in front of a close friend, you’ll quickly realize that you just have to suck it up and get on with it when you’re in a room full of strangers!

This can be strangely liberating and can serve as a reminder that you can feel ‘normal’ and comfortable.

You’ll also gain confidence through trying new things. This may be because you’re secretly incredibly talented at X, Y, or Z, or simply because you’re proud of making yourself try.

Either way, you’ll come away feeling like you’ve done something to better your situation, and being proactive is a great way to start feeling more in control, confident, and capable.

Reframe And Reword

A lot of us get very stuck in our ways and some of our behaviors are just knee-jerk reactions.

We say and do things without really thinking about them, and without thinking about their impact.

The more of a habit you make of saying “I’m so rubbish at this” without even thinking about it, the more your mind starts to believe it and the worse you feel.

To a large extent, thinking leads to manifesting. This basically means that the more you focus on certain things, the more likely they are to occur. You create self-fulfilling prophecies.

For example, if you’re going on the first date you’ve been on in years and you keep telling yourself that you’re awkward and boring and that you’ll ruin it, you’ll be so convinced of these ‘facts’ that you’ll be more likely to act in those ways out of fear and anxiety.

This is a very hard habit to break, but it is one that needs to be broken – sooner rather than later.

The more you tell yourself that you’re useless/pathetic, the more this becomes your default, go-to thought.

The more these feelings crop up, the more you believe them, and the more likely you are to see things in your life negatively – back to those neurons!

By reframing and rewording your feelings, you can start to shift away from such damaging thoughts.

Rather than “I’m a loser, that date was awful,” try to say to yourself, “Okay, that wasn’t the best experience, but what have I learnt?”

It may be that you were on a date with someone who isn’t on the same level as you, so it’s actually a good thing that you figured that out nice and early.

Rather than telling yourself you’re a failure for making a mistake at work, see it as an opportunity to do better next time and overcome the issues you’ve accidentally created.

Nobody really has a problem with people who make a mistake, they tend to have an issue with people who make a mistake and have no intentions of solving the newly-created problems.

By being more proactive and looking at how to spin situations into positive experiences, you’ll start to see everything differently…

Seek Professional Help

Of course, if it seems as though these feelings are starting to take over and affect your daily life, we’d suggest seeking professional help.

This doesn’t mean that there’s anything ‘wrong’ with you, don’t worry. It just means that you need some help finding coping mechanisms that work for you.

It may be that your hormones are imbalanced, especially if you’re a woman. It may that your body is reacting badly to something and it’s throwing your emotions out of whack.

Your doctor will be able to help you find appropriate solutions to whatever difficulties you’re going through, from medication to counselling to self-help and lifestyle changes.

Remember that some really basic things can make a huge difference to how you feel from day to day.

You may have heard it all before, but a balanced diet, lots of water, and regular exercise will really boost your mood.

If these factors feel too hard to change on your own, your doctor will be able to provide appropriate guidance on improving your general well-being.

It’s also worth remembering that you are absolutely not alone in these feelings. Take that as a comfort and do not punish yourself for feeling like a failure or having low moods from time to time.

It is perfectly natural to have emotional responses, so you’re not doing anything wrong by having these feelings.

The important thing is to focus on a future where these feelings are less intense and less frequent, and we hope that these suggestions are the first of many positive steps in that direction.

About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.

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