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Published on July 26, 2018

10 Acts of Self Love for When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

10 Acts of Self Love for When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

The idea of failure grips us at our most vulnerable internal place – our inner sense of self-esteem and self-love. Although intuitively we know that in reaching high we are guaranteed some degree of failure, when we fall short, that knowledge offers little or no consolation

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

“I’m a loser.”

“I can’t do anything right!”

“I’m such a failure.”

“ I failed in my marriage.”

“I failed as a parent.”

“I failed in my job.”

“If I fail that would be terrible!”

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“I can’t stand failing!”

When we fail at something, all too often we think globally rather than in temporary terms. We think that we not only failed, but are failures. Feelings of unworthiness drag us down, leading to missteps and setbacks, defining us rather than merely offering feedback and educating us with useful information moving forward.

The good news is that we can build on our failures on the road to success. And in this article, I’ll show you how.

We can learn from our failures rather than being haunted by the ghosts of them. We can stop thinking in all-or-nothing, global ways, so that our mistakes and failures become stepping stones for success rather than millstones around our neck. Failure can help you succeed and grow.

We learn from history about many famous failures who became some of the most successful people on the planet.

Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Walt Disney at age 22 was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” Then Laugh O Gram Studios, one of his first ventures, went bankrupt.
  • Colonel Sanders was broke at the age of 65, and with his social security check for $105 he went on the road, living in his car for 2 years, going from restaurant to restaurant to find a place to use his chicken recipe. He was rejected 1,009 times before finding an owner that would use his recipe, leading to the franchise.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his Sophomore High School basketball team.
  • “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Theodor Seuss Geisel’s first children’s book, was rejected by over 20 publishers before being published by Vanguard Press.
  • At the age of 30, Steve Jobs described himself as a public failure when he was fired from the board of Apple, the company he created. This led him to develop other ventures such as Pixar Animation and NeXT, before returning to Apple a decade later, resulting in his invention of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. In his famous speech at the 2005 Stanford Commencement, he cited this failure as being the best thing that happened to him, as he could begin again in most creative period of his life.
  • Thomas Edison was fired from his job after working on his own invention for hours, which ended up in a chemical spill, damaging the floor and his boss’ desk. After he was fired, he started working for himself as an inventor. Later on, as he was working on perfecting his nickel-iron battery, he told a reporter “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

These are just a few examples of the many successful people who prove that there can be success after failure. As inspirational as these stories are, most of us remain plagued by our failures rather than motivated by them. Even if we know that failure is surmountable, it does not change the way we feel about ourselves when we experience it. Failure can take a toll on our self-esteem and feelings of self-love, diminishing our sense of optimism about our future.

So how can we feel better about ourselves? Below are 10 acts of self-love when we feel like a failure.

1. Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what you do now.

The ability to forgive is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to ourselves to help us recover from our regrets and missteps.

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Instead of beating yourself up for not knowing what is so obvious now, see yourself as a work in progress and give yourself the gift of forgiveness.

2. Focus on being self-compassionate.

Self-compassion is perhaps the most important element of self-esteem and resilience. It used to be thought that achievement and success–rising above the norm–is the road to high self-esteem.

However, that road to self-esteem is way too conditional and assures that anyone at or below the norm is not as worthy or special. Self-compassion gives all people, high achievers as well as lower achievers, the assurance that they are worthy of love anyway, with no conditions.

3. Stop judging yourself.

Suspending the labels you put on yourself is an act of self-love. Instead of calling yourself “a failure”, be more specific and less global.

Failing does not have to define you and your worth. Changing your self-talk from “I”m a failure” to “I could not get things to work out.” or “I made some mistakes and will use this experience as stepping stones going forward.”

4. Turn your failures into goals.

Instead of “I failed at my marriage” you can say “I had trouble communicating in my marriage and am learning to communicate better now.”

The first statement is anchored in the past that cannot be changed while the second has an eye to the future and is more empowering of what you can do now.

5. Give yourself a hug.

Instead of letting your inner critic have full reign, how about just giving yourself a hug?

We all need hugs sometimes – especially from ourselves! Don’t you deserve it?

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6. Imagine yourself as a young child, full of innocence and beauty.

Keep in mind there is no such thing as worthless or failing babies and children. We possess the same worth that we had when we were born.

Sometimes we need to look behind the scars and wounds to see that preciousness is still inside of us.

No matter how much we fail, our worth remains the same and we are still beautiful.

7. Switch your mindset from being a victim to a victor.

When you feel like a failure, you see yourself as a victim of the past instead of focusing on your resilience and ability to spring back.

After all, it’s not how many times we are beaten down and fail that matters – what really matters is how many times we get back up and try again, each time a bit wiser.

8. Become more mindful.

Mindfulness is not just about meditating or breathing deeply and quietly in isolation. Rather it is staying fully in the present in our daily lives with non- judgmental awareness in whatever you do.

When we are mindful, we stay rooted in the present instead of looking back at our past missteps or anxious about the future. As the saying goes, “Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present!”

9. Calm yourself with a calming box.

Sometimes we need something tangible to sooth us when we feel down. As a therapist, I would sometimes have my clients create a self-soothing box to help them cope in stressful times.

Using actual objects that serve to distract and self-soothe can provide soothing touchstones.

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A journal, a stress ball, a polished stone to remind you of your self worth and body oils are all examples of things that can be placed inside a calming box and used to soothe you when you’re feeling down.

10. Connect with others.

When people feel like a failure, all too often they isolate themselves, closing themselves up instead of opening up to others.

Seeking social support is one of the best choices you can make when you feel like a failure. Getting another person’s perspective will help you stop the tunnel vision that distorts your self-view.

Asking for help, having the courage to open yourself up instead of closing yourself down will pave the way not only for avoiding loneliness, but it will also deepen your connections with others.

These 10 action plans for defeating feelings of failure will serve as a springboard for a resilient and full life.  Instead of focusing on the failure that comes with falling short, be proud that you dared to pursue your dreams with courage and enthusiasm.

To quote Winston Churchill,

“Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

Judith Belmont

Mental Health and Self-Help Author, Speaker and Skype/phone Mental Health Coach/Consultant

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

The Need for Change

Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

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We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

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Happy_old_man

    Signs It’s Time to Redefine

    “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

    So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

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    In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

    “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

    The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

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    When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

    Aronld in Predator

      Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

      And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

      Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

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