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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 January 21, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

The statistics are dismal. A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.[1] People are feeling stuck.

Some are feeling stuck in their careers, feeling like they’re too far along one path to make a change. Some are feeling stuck in their personal lives. The toll of the daily grind sucks most of their time and energy. So their relationships, self-care, and personal goals get lost in the shuffle of the treadmill existence.

When people come across these challenges of feeling stuck, the feeling sometimes doesn’t go away. It often intensifies as time goes on. As the stuck feeling intensifies, some people choose to settle. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further down.

Others, if the feeling of being stuck intensifies to an unbearable point, choose to make changes. They may choose to pivot in their careers, even after years at a successful job. They may end up making big changes in their relationships, or start putting their fitness at a higher priority. They may make drastic changes to finally feel free. These changes can be incredibly difficult to make, especially if a person has lived many years in a certain lifestyle.

Feeling stuck is NOT fun. I’ve been there. I get it.

Why Am I Feeling Stuck?

People feel stuck once in a while. There are many causes of feeling stuck. Many people work toward goals that don’t actually align with who they are at the core or what they truly desire. I call these “False Objectives”.

Living a life of False Objectives can cause people to feel very stuck and frustrated. People can build lives that are very “successful” according to society; but if you’ve built your life based on False Objectives, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

Another cause of feeling stuck is not knowing who you are. If you don’t understand how you’re innately wired – your strengths, your gifts, your talents, your passions – it’s tough to make decisions that enable you to maximize those. It’s tough to reach your full potential if you don’t know who you are.

You can feel stuck if you’re doing work that doesn’t allow you to maximize your innate strengths. If you’re doing work that doesn’t bring out the best in who you are at the core, you’ll likely feel some dissatisfaction and you won’t reach your full potential.

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Other people feel stuck because they haven’t surrounded themselves with mentors or peers who have achieved what they want to achieve. They stay in certain routines while craving to do life differently. As Jim Rohn says,

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’re spending most evenings and weekends drinking beer with your coworkers, you’re probably not going to run that marathon. If your goal is to live a location-independent lifestyle and work anytime from anywhere, but everyone in your social circle is at traditional jobs; it’ll be tough to break free from the 9-5 mentality.

How Feeling Stuck Screws You up Secretly

Feeling stuck screws up people’s lives. The consequences of feeling stuck can range from mild to severe. People may feel a mild discontentment with life and end up succumbing to the idea that life is “okay,” and settle. (Nancy’s story will resonate with you.) They may never reach their full potential, their highest levels of happiness and satisfaction. And they may not make the impact on the world that they could make, and have a looming sense that there could be “more” to life.

Often, though, the feeling of being stuck comes with much larger consequences. Feeling stuck can hinder career growth and contribute to disrupted marriages. It can lead to huge midlife crises.

The feeling can (and frequently does) increase as the years go on, leading to significant regrets about unfulfilled dreams. In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She writes:[2]

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

    Approaching Life Differently

    Thankfully, some highly effective strategies can prevent you from feeling stuck. Using these strategies can help you avoid significant problems in your life. It’s different than conventional living, and it works.

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    Commonly, people live with many set routines. While certain routines are helpful, becoming stuck in the daily grind routine can get frustrating. Many people eat roughly the same foods each week, go to the same place each day, talk to the same people, keep the same commitments, and end up living life on autopilot.

    It’s tough to feel like you’re progressing forward when each day is spent doing the same uninspiring routine. In order to avoid feeling stuck, it’s important to live intentionally. It’s crucial to live in the driver’s seat of your life and get out of autopilot mode.

    First, ditch the False Objectives. Just because everyone in your family are doctors doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because all your friends are married with a big house, a white picket fence, and 2 kids doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because everyone you know works 9-5 doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. It’s not easy to design your life intentionally, but it’s critical in order to avoid feeling stuck.

    Remember, the majority of people feel stuck. So, if you’re doing things like the majority of people, you’ll likely feel stuck, too. You’ll need to think differently and create your life differently.

    2 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day

    In order to intentionally design your life, avoid falling prey to False Objectives, and prevent feeling stuck, there are questions to ask yourself every day. These questions can help you stay focused on what matters most to you, help you avoid feeling stuck and frustrated, and create the best life possible.

    1. Why Am I Going to Do What I’m Going to Do Today?

    If you’re showing up to work each day and giving your years to your job, it’s important that your “why” is deeper than “to pay the bills.” Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.

    By asking yourself why you’re going to do what you’re going to do today, you will be living intentionally. In today’s incredibly busy, easily distracted world, living intentionally and focusing every day on what matters most is unique.

    When you choose to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, it will help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you. This can prevent you from getting stuck.

    2. What Would Future Want Me to Do Today?

    Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today? Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling.

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    When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort. Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.

    How to Get Unstuck

    After asking yourself the two questions, work on the plan to get unstuck. I’ve personally tried these strategies and they work for me.

    1. Choose Goals You Truly Desire to Accomplish

    This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you.

    Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck.

    Learn about your strengths, your gifts, and your passions. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

    2. Watch Your Mindset

    Often, we think we’re stuck, but the problem is our mindset. Being mindful of our mindset and self-talk is important to living a life of freedom and fulfillment. Work on rephrasing your self-talk in order to improve your mindset.

    For example, if you tell yourself, “I could never start a business,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how to start a business YET, but I can learn.” If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough money to travel,” tell yourself, “I don’t have the money right now, but I can make a plan to save money to travel. Rephrasing your self-talk can help you see opportunities and possibilities instead of feeling stuck.

    Occasionally, even the most driven people have days where they feel unmotivated. Check out this article for tips to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing: What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

    Those tips can help you break free from the rut.

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    3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Add Some Excitement to Your Day

    Shaking up your daily routine and adding some excitement to your days can help you get unstuck.

    While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to invigorate your life. You can start by getting out of your comfort zone in small ways. Here are 10 ways to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear. As Brian Tracy says,

    “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

    Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing growth can help you to continue to move forward and prevent you from getting stuck.

    4. Surround Yourself with People Who Have Done What You Aspire to Do

    It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it.

    Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.

    You can seek out a mentor, or even read inspiring books or listen to motivating podcasts by the people who have achieved your biggest goals and dreams.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s frustrating to feel stuck. But you don’t need to stay stuck if you know the right ways to break free from the rut.

    Practice living intentionally by asking yourself the 2 critical questions:

    • Why am I going to do what I’m going to do today?
    • What would future want me to do today?

    When you constantly reflect about what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Krists Luhaers via unsplash.com

    Reference

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