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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 December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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