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Last Updated on May 2, 2019

Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

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 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.

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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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.”

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 grow and succeed.

More Articles About Overcoming Failures

Featured photo credit: Eunice De Guzman via unsplash.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 June 13, 2019

How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

Chances are, you’re busy hustling between the 40 hours a week you need to work, the family you need to provide for, and the bills that need to be paid.

As the years pass by, you’ve begun to feel the burnout from all the needs and expectations required of you. You don’t feel like you are in control over your own life. In fact, it feels like the circumstances in your life are controlling you.

What if there was a way for you to be able to have better control of your life and create all the positive changes you’ve been aching for?

This can be done through self-realization.

You’ve probably heard of this concept before, but you’re not really sure what it really is or how it can help you.

I’m going to dive into what exactly self-realization is and the exact steps you can take to attain it for yourself. Read on if you want to learn how to unlock your potential and find a way to decrease your stress and anxiety, and gain crystal clear clarity about who you are and what you’re capable of.

What Is Self-Realization?

Self-realization has a few big definitions. In the Western world, it’s generally defined as the activation of one’s full potential of talents and abilities.

How Psychologists Define Self-Realization

Humanistic psychology also follows a similar train of thought about self-realization.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow has named people he considered to have reached self-realization such as Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few. His famous hierarchy of needs theory states in order to achieve self-realization (or in this case, Maslow uses the term “self-actualization”),[1] one needs to have a certain set of needs met before achieving it:[2]

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    For example, self-realization cannot be achieved if you are struggling financially and too caught up in worrying about how to pay for the rent and provide food for your family. Unfortunately, this is usually the case for many people, which leaves little opportunity for them to maximize their abilities.

    How Religions Define Self-Realization

    In religions, the concept of self-realization is taken from a different perspective altogether. Connecting with your truest self has a lot to do with transcending your own mind and body. This self is often considered as an eternal being that is not confined to the physical space that your mind and body take up. Many recognize this part of yourself as the soul.

    To put all of these definitions together, self-realization is ultimately learning the answer to the foundational question, “Who am I?”

    The answer lies from understanding that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. Who you really are is not even your body or your mind. These are all things you as a self experience, but they are not you.

    And when you are too caught up in these things that are not yours, that’s when you fall victim to and get stuck in your negative experiences such as stress, anxiety and fear.

    While your thoughts, feelings, and physical body always changes, you do not.

    I know this concept can be a bit confusing to understand, so here’s a great video that explores who you really are explained by Prince EA. It was a video made in response to a bizarre interview session with Comedian Jim Carrey at the red carpet interview at the 2017 New York Fashion Week.

    Here’s the video:

    Why Self-Realization Matters to You

    How often are you distracted, lost in your thoughts, or overwhelmed by difficult emotions?

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    Being in the present is more difficult than ever with the technology today. People are often buried in their smartphones or laptops while others around are craving their attention.

    Most people spend so little time in the present. They’re usually either hurt and having trouble letting go of their past, or busy worrying about their futures:[3]

    “People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.”

    Here are some amazing benefits to self-realization:

    • The ability to monitor your emotions. Rather than being controlled by your emotions, you can now use your observations about them during the experience to learn how to effectively handle things like fear, anxiety and stress. Self-realizations helps you do this by giving you the skill of letting go of debilitating feelings and taking hold of the empowering ones instead.
    • Improved focus and concentration. Guided by your own inner goals and values, self-realization helps you easily identify when you are entering into distractions and eliminate them. By getting rid of the meaningless things in your life, you stay committed to what matters most and you begin to see real results as you reach your fullest potential.
    • Increased confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem. By being connected deeply to your truest self, self-realization frees you from any insecurities, worries, and low sense of self worth that you feel tangled up in by helping you really grasp the truth that you are not defined by them.
    • Becoming more accepting of yourself and of other people. You are able to be more authentic and express emotions freely and clearly. As a result, you are able to form deeper relationships and spend more time connecting with people rather than trying to impress them.

    When people don’t have a strong sense of their own self, they get easily swayed to live life the way other people tell them to live it.

    The truth of this has been shown through Bronnie Ware’s famous work, which has shown that one of the top regrets of people who are dying was:[4]

    “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

    There can be tons of pressure whether it’s from work, society, and even friends and family for you to be a certain way. Maybe your rough upbringing instilled a strong need for other’s approval in you so you do what others expect of you. Maybe you’ve stopped trusting people because of your struggles with letting go of the thoughts and experiences that hurt you.

    Whatever the situation, self-realization gives you the safe space you need to heal and grow.

    How to Start Developing Self-Realization

    1. Start Meditating Regularly

    Aside from all the scientific evidence that shows the health benefits of meditation, it is also a prime way to achieve self-realization.

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    One of my favorite apps that guide you through meditation is Headspace.

    I particularly love this app because it is very straightforward without all the woo-woo types of things you normally associate with meditation. It does a great job of demystifying what meditation really is and how it can benefit you to achieving self-realization.

    Here’s a great explanation of what meditation does for you:

    You can get the basic meditation guidance for free or pay for a premium version for access to more specific meditations that improve things like self esteem, creativity and relationships.

    In case you don’t want to download the app, here is the simple meditation practice you can do right now:

    1. Sit comfortably on a chair.
    2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
    3. Take about a minute to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    4. After a few deep breaths, gently close your eyes while you are breathing out.
    5. Resume normal breathing.
    6. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment with having nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to check.
    7. Take a moment to feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
    8. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing.
    9. As you sit there beginning to notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation, don’t try and stop your thoughts. Simply allow them to just come and go.
    10. At this point, the only thing you need to do is when you’ve realized your mind has wandered, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
    11. Gently bring the attention back to your body, back to that feeling of contact to your chair and the space around you and when ready, gently open your eyes again.

    Even if it’s only 5-10 minutes a day, learning to train your mind to be present is so important to your journey towards self-realization. You need to take a step back from the craziness of life and recompose yourself to be present for the things that matter most.

    Another great method that can be used to achieve self-realization that involves a bit more body strength is yoga. While there are many variations of yoga and has also become a very popular form of exercise in western culture, its original purpose served as a meditative practice to achieve the higher level of consciousness that comes from self-realization.

    You can access plenty of free Yoga channels on Youtube or join a gym to get started.

    2. Make Time for Self-Realization Every Day

    I know what you’re thinking.

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    “I don’t have time for this!”

    I beg to differ.

    About 40 percent of the things you do in a day don’t involve you actively making a decision. Instead, it is actually a habit.

    Out of all of your habits, there are probably a handful of bad ones. If you can observe your daily routines, there is a simple way to change a bad habit into a good one, which is to start making changes to your environment to make it easier for you to change your habits.

    The idea is rather than trying to squeeze in more time to do something, simply alter a daily habit you have into something else.

    For example, let’s say you start your morning by brewing your coffee and sitting down on the dining table for 20 minutes to browse the internet to catch up on the news.

    The news is usually full of negative information, so why not spend those 20 minutes in meditation instead?

    One easy way to make this change is to change your environment up by keeping your laptop and phone in a different room so you don’t have immediate access to it when you sit down on the dining table. You make it easier on yourself to spend time meditating rather than staring at a screen.

    Want some more great tips on breaking bad habits? You can try out Lifehack CEO’s secret Control Alternate Delete method, which was the method he used to break 3 bad habits in less than 2 months.

    Final Thoughts

    Self-realization doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time and practice, but if you turn the practices into a habit, you’ll be guaranteed to get there. Once you do, you’ll finally feel like you are in more control over your life and be able to get yourself to the next level.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the importance and benefits of self-realization, why not take a moment to put everything down and give it a try?

    More About Self-Realization

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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