Life is all about ups and downs. Sometimes things go well and you feel right on track. Unfortunately, what goes up, must come down. Feeling like a failure is a very common occurrence when life isn’t going as planned.

It happens to everyone at some point in life. Here’s how to deal with it and get right back on track.

When you’re caught up in your daily life of work, meetings and draining personal relationships, your mental health is often overlooked. Not taking care of your mental wellbeing can be very dangerous and can let your thoughts get the best of you.

Why Do I Feel Like a Failure?

If you are not maintaining your mental health and emotional well being, you may end up feeling like a failure when you fail to achieve any goal.

Seeing public figures, celebrities or even your friends online on a day to day basis can also lead to you feeling like a failure. On social media, people tend to show their best selves and share their personal achievements with their followers.

Overcoming Self-Doubt

As you scroll through Instagram and Facebook, it is natural for you to subconsciously compare yourself to their achievements without giving credit to your own.

When you know that you’ve worked your hardest to achieve a specific target, not achieving it appears as a fault of your own. Then you’ll disregard any external factors that might have caused it.

Overworking yourself in the process, leads to overworking yourself over the result no matter what it is.

Other than dwelling over your sorrow listening to Coldplay, there are other physical and mental techniques to help you get rid of thoughts making you feel like a failure.

What to do when you feel like a failure imposter syndrome
Feeling like a failure is highly tied up with imposter syndrome, which causes a number of concrete problems. Image credit: Intuit

Tackling Feeling Like A Failure

To get rid of the problem, you must identify the root of it. Feeling like a failure is usually a result of feelings of inadequacy that arise once you realize you are not good at something as you expected.

These feelings are relevant at school, at home, or even in the workplace. Anywhere that exposes you to the achievements of others, allows room for you to compare yourself to them.

You must keep in mind that in order for you to learn and improve, you need to fail and make mistakes. We can learn more from our losses and failures than our victories.

In that sense, you need to overcome obstacles and understand the struggles of feeling like a failure in order to truly enjoy your triumphs. When you think negatively of yourself, it is not surprising when you begin feeling like a failure when you’re defeated by anything.

This is usually the root of the problem, in order to eliminate this issue you must understand what causes them. Here are some potential reasons that could lessen your self motivation and lead to feeling like a failure.

Brighten Up Your Bubble

Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and motivate you to always do your best becomes an essential factor in getting rid of your self doubt and feelings of failure.

On the other hand, having people who are constantly criticizing you and diminishing your accomplishments and self worth, the image you have of yourself will reflect these opinions.

You Are Your Own Self

When you’re constantly bombarded with posts about millionaires in their twenties and child prodigies, you can easily feel like your own accomplishments are worthless. Feeling like a failure is inevitable in our world of shareable social media.

Understand that you are your own self, and working at your own pace is never a bad thing.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

You might not be directly comparing yourself to people online, but your ideal image of yourself may be heavily influenced by what you see on TV and in magazines.

The skinny model on the front cover of the magazine is not really that skinny, and the rich man with the expensive watch is actually not rich at all. You need to acknowledge the fact that these standards are more often than not based on unreasonable standards.

Once you’ve acknowledged and worked on reassessing these issues and their presence in your life, you will begin to feel much better about yourself and more proud of your own accomplishments.

If there’s one thing to take away from this section, is that failure is a result of comparing yourself to others. Learn to be satisfied with yourself and your achievements in order to maintain your mental health and live up to your potential.

What to do when you feel like a failure graphic
Negative emotions can create a vicious cycle. Image credit:

Overview of the psychology of failure

Failure is an inevitable part of human experience. It is a natural consequence of taking risks, trying new things, and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones. While failure can be a painful and discouraging experience, it also has the potential to be a valuable source of growth and learning.

Prevalence of Failure

Failure is a common experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. Research suggests that up to 90% of people experience some form of failure in their lives. This includes both personal failures, such as not getting a desired job or relationship, and professional failures, such as making a mistake at work or losing a business.

Impact of Failure on Individuals

Failure can have a significant impact on individuals, both emotionally and psychologically. It can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, shame, and self-doubt. It can also damage self-esteem and make it difficult to trust one’s own abilities. In some cases, failure can even lead to depression or other mental health problems.

Potential Benefits of Failure for Growth and Learning

Despite its negative connotations, failure can also be a valuable source of growth and learning. When we experience failure, we have the opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and identify areas where we can improve. We can also learn from our mistakes and develop new strategies for success.

Key Benefits of Failure:

  1. Increased Self-Awareness: Failure can help us become more aware of our strengths and weaknesses. It can also help us identify our patterns of behavior that may be contributing to our failures.
  2. Development of Resilience: The ability to bounce back from failure is a critical skill for success. Failure can help us develop our resilience by teaching us how to cope with setbacks and maintain a positive outlook.
  3. Greater Creativity and Innovation: Failure can often lead to new ideas and solutions. When we are forced to think outside the box, we may come up with creative solutions that we would not have considered otherwise.
  4. Enhanced Humility: Failure can help us develop a sense of humility. It can remind us that we are not perfect and that we all make mistakes.
  5. Deeper Appreciation for Success: When we experience failure, we can appreciate our successes all the more. We can also learn to savor the journey of success, rather than just focusing on the end result.

In conclusion, failure is a normal part of life that can have both negative and positive consequences. While it can be a painful experience, failure can also be a valuable source of growth and learning. By embracing failure as a learning opportunity, we can develop the resilience, creativity, and humility that are necessary for success.

Self-Motivation: How to Get Up and Go into Business?

Self Motivation Within You

Since feeling like a failure is usually a mental dilemma, it needs to be mentally tackled with positive thoughts and encouraging ideas. To get rid of this feeling, you need to develop a strong sense of self motivation.

Here are some ideas to always remember on a daily basis and when you’re feeling down.

Your Weaknesses Are Your Strengths

Nobody is perfect at everything, we all have our weaknesses. You need to be aware of your weaknesses and find enjoyment in working to improve them.

For example, if you lack public speaking skills, make it your goal to improve and keep the bigger picture along the way of reaching it. Don’t get stuck in the loop of drowning in your failures and shaming yourself because of what you can not do.

Perfect Imperfections

The image you have of yourself is often flawed, and that is why you become susceptible to feeling like a failure.

To get rid of these feelings of insecurities, understand that your imperfections are more often than not imposed on you by societal standards. Rather than aspiring to fulfill an unrealistic image of greatness, and find the beauty in being yourself.


If you’re working towards a goal, or a certain image of yourself, start visualising! Create a mental picture of what you aim to become and work towards it.

This will help you assess your progress and push you to your limits. Feeling like a failure will become miles away when you can notice how much you’ve accomplished and how fast you’re doing it too!

Be Grateful

To feel grateful, you need to start thinking like you’re blessed, talking like you’re blessed and acting like it too.

Making yourself believe that you are blessed with everything you have, will generate feelings of gratitude and self worth. That way, when you’re feeling like a failure, it will be easy for you to count your blessings rather than your problems.

Take Control

You can’t take control of everything. Identify what you can change and what you can not change. Then, begin from there. Focus on changing what you can change. This includes your mindset, your daily routine and your attitude towards life.

You can not change what people think, you can’t change the past and it certainly does you no good to dwell over what you can not change.

Only YOU Can Motivate You

Lastly, motivation comes from you, not from anywhere else. You can watch as many motivational YouTube speakers and TED talks on self motivation and empowerment, but if you do not want to improve you will not improve.

Your own image of yourself is the most powerful tool to find self motivation.

Confidence, Self-Esteem and Life Goals with Kathryn Thompson | Facing Challenges, Resilience

Physical Self Motivation

Although they are truly powerful, sometimes just thoughts and ideas are not enough. We all need some physical reinforcement to get going.

Seeing your own self motivation play out in front of your eyes can be very powerful, and generate more motivation along the way. If you’re looking for something to specifically do to gain some self motivation, take a look at these techniques.

mental health

Start Your Day The Right Way

As soon as you wake up, start doing something productive. Once you get your daily dose of productivity, you will not want to get rid of that feeling throughout the day. This will improve your approach to challenges and the way you deal with difficulties along the way.

Now, you might be thinking what kind of productive thing could I do first thing in the morning? This could easily be a morning jog or making yourself breakfast to get yourself energized and feeling accomplished.

In an article called ‘Top of Mind: 7 Way to Boost Self-Motivation’, Ekaterina Lyapustina, founder and CEO of JetNest starts her day like this:

I start the day with 15 minutes of meditation, followed by asking myself a series of questions: What do I plan to achieve today? How can I be more successful than yesterday? Which of my various qualities and abilities will be most useful? I then challenge myself by trying something new every day. I exercise and try to get out of the house to attend events and meet positive, interesting and successful people who can teach me new things.

Take Some Time Off

It doesn’t have to be a long time, but you can make some time for yourself during your daily routine to find sometime to think about your value and what makes you you.

Reflect on how you feel about yourself, nurture the positive images you have of yourself and always remember these feelings. Developing these feelings on a day-to-day basis will help when you are facing an emotional crisis.

On the other hand, if you decide to do this under negative circumstances, it would be difficult to find the positive feelings you have of yourself if they have not already been generated.

Effective Motivation All Day Long

Keep your earphones in and tune into your favorite songs to hype you up everywhere you go. Find the songs that make you feel energized, inspired and motivated and add it to a playlist.

Keep updating the playlist and listen to it when you’re failing down, and on a daily basis to get your daily dose of inspiration.

Try Books As Well

There are many online and hard cody books that could help inspire you. Finding phrases or ideas that speak to you can help you regenerate a sense of motivation.

Sometimes, the act of reading a book and going through the chapters and the sense of accomplishments when you complete an entire book can be very rewarding and help you become productive.

Whether the text itself is meant to be motivational, or the story speaks to you on a certain level, books are definitely able to help when you feel like a failure.

Reward Yourself

Remember to always treat yourself and for your hard work. If you’re working hard on a project, and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Instead, take a break and give yourself credit for the work you put in and point out your mistakes to steer away from them next time. Also, even though it seems childish, working towards a reward from yourself at the end of an accomplishment can help you get a lot done!

Five key steps for overcoming feelings of failure

Overcoming feelings of failure can be a challenging but rewarding journey. It requires a shift in mindset, a willingness to confront self-doubt, and the courage to take action. Here are five key steps for overcoming feelings of failure:

1. Reframe Perspective: Challenge Negative Self-Talk and Embrace Growth Mindset

The way we perceive failure significantly impacts our emotional response. When we view failure as a permanent setback, it reinforces feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Instead, adopt a growth mindset, recognizing failure as a temporary hurdle and an opportunity for learning and improvement. Challenge negative self-talk by replacing self-deprecating thoughts with more neutral or positive self-statements.

2. Identify Strengths: Acknowledge Accomplishments and Build Self-Confidence

In the midst of self-doubt, it’s easy to overlook our strengths and achievements. Take time to reflect on your past successes, both big and small. Make a list of your strengths, skills, and talents. Recognizing your strengths can boost your self-confidence and remind you of your capabilities.

3. Set Realistic Goals: Break Down Objectives and Avoid Overwhelm

Setting unrealistic goals can lead to discouragement and feelings of failure when they are not met. Instead, establish achievable goals that are aligned with your abilities and resources. Break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps. Celebrate your progress along the way, no matter how small.

4. Seek Support: Build a Network of Encouragement and Guidance

Surround yourself with supportive individuals who believe in your potential. Share your struggles with trusted friends, family members, or mentors. Their encouragement and guidance can help you navigate challenges and maintain a positive outlook. Consider seeking professional support from a therapist or counselor if you need additional guidance in managing negative emotions and developing coping strategies.

5. Embrace Self-Compassion: Practice Self-Care and Forgive Yourself

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially in the face of setbacks. Avoid self-criticism and harsh judgment. Instead, acknowledge your feelings, validate your experiences, and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Engage in self-care practices that promote your well-being, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness exercises.

Remember, overcoming feelings of failure is a process, not an overnight transformation. Be patient with yourself, practice self-compassion, and celebrate your progress along the way. With consistent effort and a growth mindset, you can overcome self-doubt, embrace challenges, and achieve your goals.

What to do When You Feel Like a Failure: Takeaways

There are definitely a few essential points to take away from this article. Always remember to never compare yourself to others, this is where feeling like a failure comes from. Working at your own pace is never a bad thing, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Value yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and be grateful for your blessings and even your limitations.

Feel Like a Failure FAQ

Q: How do I identify patterns of self-doubt in my thinking?

Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions in different situations. Notice when you engage in self-criticism or negative self-talk. What are the triggers that lead to these negative thoughts? Identifying these patterns can help you anticipate and address self-doubt before it takes hold.

Q: What are some practical mindfulness exercises I can practice to manage self-doubt?

Mindfulness practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindful movement can help you ground yourself in the present moment and reduce the impact of negative self-talk. Find a mindfulness practice that resonates with you and incorporate it into your daily routine.

Q: How can I replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations?

Start by identifying specific negative self-talk patterns. Then, formulate positive affirmations that directly address those negative thoughts. Repeat these affirmations regularly, especially when you’re feeling self-doubtful.

Q: What are some additional strategies for building resilience?

Developing a strong support system, practicing self-care, and engaging in activities that boost your self-esteem can all contribute to building resilience. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, learn from setbacks, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Feel Like a Failure Conclusion

Self-doubt is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to control your life. By cultivating self-awareness, mindfulness, and positive self-talk, you can effectively manage self-doubt and build resilience. Remember, resilience is not about avoiding challenges; it’s about adapting to them and growing stronger in the face of adversity. Embrace the journey of overcoming self-doubt, and you’ll discover the strength and confidence to achieve your goals.

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