Feeling Like A Failure? Here Are The Causes And What You Should Do

Feeling like a failure is something we encounter often or less frequently in our quest for survival or success. It is a feeling of despair when you know that you’ve failed at something. It comes with a slight rejection in self and a punctured self-esteem.

The major issue is not about feeling like a failure; it is mainly about what happens afterwards. Besides, failure is relational and depends solely on someone’s perception.

What you actually perceive as failure may be someone else’s greatest dream. As an above average student, getting anything below 80 in your assessment may be a total failure for you. But, someone else in your class may be highly delighted to score 50 in that same assessment.

More so, feeling like failure is entirely different from being a failure. The feeling of failure is temporary and could be a source of courage when properly managed. Being a failure, means you are the architect of your own downfall.

Feeling like a failure

You failed to take opportunities and pieces of advice. That is not even the end of the road, there would always be enough time to rise up and try again.

Assuming a restaurant business was started for profit making and eventually, the business couldn’t sustain the costs invested and couldn’t yield the expected profit, such a venture could be regarded as a failure.

On the other hand, if the restaurant was established for research purposes, the outcome wouldn’t be regarded as a failure.

As you continue with your daily struggles and aspirations, there are bound to be moments when you feel you’ve failed. It could be because of a failed relationship, it could be because of your inability to secure an internship or your inability to make it to your team’s first option despite your efforts. 

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It is not something to lose sleep for. Many people tried and failed. And you can only fail when you try. To enable you to have a better grasp of what it means to feel like a failure and how to manage such feelings, we’ve uncovered some major reasons for feeling like a failure.

Why you’re feeling like a failure

1. Undue Comparisons.

You’d feel like a failure if you’re always comparing yourself to others. You rarely get contented with your little achievements or get proud of your small victories, because you have your mind fixated on the exploits of another person.

Unhealthy comparison breeds envy, anger and resent towards self. It is unwise to compare yourself to others when you do not have a good knowledge of their strategies and techniques. 

You’d feel down because you’re having a difficult relationship while your friend is having a rosy and adventurous relationship. This is not just enough to get you worked up because you don’t see what goes down behind the scenes. 

2. Unrealistic expectations

Keeping high expectations exposes you to high risk of suffering disappointment. When expectations are unrealistic and eventually unmet, you cannot possibly avoid feeling like a failure. 

You are just this beautiful, wonderful and gorgeous ready. Luckily, you have a crush on her and you’re already talking with her. You now have dreams of amazing moments spent with her and vacations on some beautiful beaches. But, you know very well she’s not in your class and may not have so much love to spare for you. But, you can’t stop dreaming.

Eventually, when she shut the door on yourself, telling you it is impossible for her to date you; how would you feel? Probably, a failure. 

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3. Missed opportunities

When you remember the opportunities you missed and where you could have been if the opportunities were taken, you can get depressed.

It hurts a lot to remember how failed to take life-changing opportunities. It could be an internship program you missed, a relationship you didn’t start or a free course you did not take. 

Weighing the great outcomes that would have emanated from these opportunities could trigger your resentment towards yourself. You’d inevitably feel like a failure.

4. Unused potentials

How would you feel when you realize you would have gotten a better result if you had added more effort? How would you feel knowing you have talents you couldn’t harness? 

When you realize there are potentials you did not use, the feeling of failure would continue to haunt you. 

How do I Stop Feeling Like A Failure?

Remember, feeling like a failure is an inward feeling that comes from a place of not feeling like you’re good enough because of your perceptions. If this feeling is well managed, you may form the basis of your testimony in time to come. Here are top-notch tips on what to do when you’re feeling like a failure.

1. Take responsibility

It would be difficult for you to face your challenges if you aren’t capable of taking up responsibility for your actions and inactions.

Oftentimes, when people meet with failure, they make attempts to apportion blame to someone else or something else. This may somehow lift the guilt feeling of their shoulders for a moment but, it would still reoccur to them that they had a hand in their failure.

It is better to take absolute responsibility for everything that culminates in your feeling of failure. Take the blame. Be remorseful where necessary. Regret your actions. You would have a better concept about your challenges and how to navigate over them.

2. Shun unhealthy means to reduce pains

When some people encounter failure, they resort to unhealthy ways to reduce the pain. Going through heartbreak because of a failed relationship, you may start listening to heartbreak songs or start reading emotional romance stories. 

These strategies may be effective momentarily but, in the long run, the feeling of despair would resurface. Listening to music, alcohol, smoking, or drugs are ineffective means of reducing pain.

When you feel like a failure, do not consider any of these strategies. Just reflect and ponder over your recent experience. Re-evaluate where you failed and pick up the necessary lessons. This process may be long but it gives the best results.

3. Be proactive

If you fail to take opportunities or utilize your potentials when necessary, you’d be haunted by your thoughts. When you realize your feeling of failure is because of opportunities that slipped off your hands and your inability to use your potential, you have one major approach. Become proactive.

Instead of resenting yourself, pick up yourself and become proactive. Going forward, utilize every opportunity and make appropriate use of your talents and potentials. 

There’s no need to regret the failure. It is a way of putting you on the edge for more precarious challenges ahead.

In addition, you can also practice healthy coping skills. Talk to your friends and family. They would probably have experienced whatever you’re passing through. 

4. Research about popular and famous failures

Whatever you’re going through must have been experienced by someone else and eventually triumphed. When you’re feeling like a failure, do some research on famous people and the challenges they had.

You’d discover that your failure is not new. A handful of people had been in your shoes but were determined enough to make it through. Go through history and study about these failures.

You will get a better perspective about failure and acknowledge irrational beliefs about failure.

How do I start again after failure?

You have no other option than to start again. Recognize your failure and take responsibility. Look beyond your emotions and see why you failed. Take necessary lessons and reflect on your actions. Change your perspective about failure and see it as another form of courage.

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Bottom Line

When feeling like a failure, go through your actions and inactions and assume complete responsibility for the failure. See it as a challenge to do better and remember you’re not the first person to experience failure.

Many did and were victorious eventually. However, if the feeling persists and has tendencies of pushing you into depression, you should consult a therapist.

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