What To Do When You Feel Like a Failure: Overcoming Self-Doubt

Date2February 08, 2019 categoryPersonal Development

What to do when you feel like a failure? Unfortunately, what goes up, must come down. That means a risk of feeling like a failure when life isn’t going as planned.

Here’s how to deal with it and get back on track.




Why Do I Feel Like a Failure?

Busy Daily Life

When you’re caught up in your daily life of work, meetings, and draining personal relationships, your mental health is often overlooked. Not taking care of your mental well being can be very dangerous. 

It can let negative thoughts get the better of you. If you’re not maintaining your mental health and emotional wellbeing, you may end up feeling like a failure when you fail to achieve a goal.

Social Media

Seeing public figures, celebrities or even your friends online on a day to day basis can also lead to you feeling like a failure. On social media, people tend to show their ‘public’ selves and concentrate on their personal highs, not lows.

As you scroll through Instagram and Facebook, it is natural to start subconsciously comparing yourself to their achievements without giving credit to your own accomplishments.

Also, when you know that you’ve worked your hardest to achieve a specific target, not achieving it appears as a fault of your own and you disregard any external factors that might have caused it.


Overworking yourself leads to overworking yourself over the result no matter what it is.

There are other physical and mental techniques to help you get rid of thoughts making you feel like a failure.

How? Read on to discover more…


Tackling Feeling Like A Failure

To get rid of the problem, you must identify the root of it. This means at school, at home, or even in the workplace.

Anywhere that exposes you to the achievements of others, allows room for you to compare yourself to them.

However, in order for you to learn and improve, you need to fail and make mistakes. We can learn more from our losses and failures than our victories. In that sense, you need to overcome obstacles and understand the struggles of feeling like a failure in order to truly enjoy your triumphs.

When you think negatively about yourself, it is not surprising when you begin feeling like a failure when you’re defeated by anything. This usually the root of the problem, in order to eliminate this issue you must understand what causes them. After all, defeat is unavoidable for everyone.

Here are some potential reasons that could decrease your self motivation and lead to feeling like a failure.

  • Brighten Up Your Bubble

Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and motivate you to always do your best becomes an essential factor in getting rid of your self-doubt and feelings of failure.

On the other hand, people who are constantly criticising you and diminishing your accomplishments and self worth around you? The image you have of yourself will reflect these opinions.

  • You Are Your Own Self

When you’re constantly bombarded with posts about millionaires in their twenties, you can easily feel like your own accomplishments are worthless. Feeling like a failure is inevitable in our world of shareable social media. Understand that you are your own self, and working at your own pace is never a bad thing.

  • Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

You might not be directly comparing yourself to people online, but your ideal image of yourself may be heavily influenced by what you see on TV and in magazines. 

You need to acknowledge the fact that these standards are more often than not based on unreasonable expectations. And don’t reflect the real lifestyle or state of mind of the person shown.

Once you’ve acknowledged and work on reassessing these issues and their presence in your life, you will begin to feel much better about yourself and more proud of your own accomplishments.

If there’s one thing to take away? A sense failure is often a result of comparing yourself to others. Learn to be satisfied with yourself and your achievements in order to maintain your mental health and live up to your potential.




Self Motivation Within You

Since feeling like a failure is usually a mental dilemma, it needs to be mentally tackled with positive thoughts and encouraging ideas. To get rid of this feeling, you need to develop a strong sense of self motivation, here are some ideas to always remember on a daily basis and when you’re feeling down.

  • Your Weaknesses Are Your Strengths

Nobody is perfect at everything, we all have our weaknesses. You need to be aware of your weaknesses and find enjoyment in working to improve them if they are a priority. For example, if you lack public speaking skills, make it your goal to improve and keep the bigger picture along the way of reaching it.

Don’t get stuck in the loop of drowning in your failures and shaming yourself because of what you can not do.

  • Perfect Imperfections

The image you have of yourself is often flawed, and that is why you become susceptible to feeling like a failure. To get rid of these feelings of insecurities, understand that your imperfections are more often than not imposed on you by societal standards. Rather than aspiring to fulfilling an unrealistic image of greatness, and find the beauty in being yourself.

  • Visualise!

If you’re working towards a goal, or a certain image of yourself, start visualising! Create a mental picture of what you aim to become and work towards it. This will help you assess your progress and push you to your limits. Feeling like a failure will become miles away when you can notice how much you’ve accomplished and how fast you’re doing it too!

  • Be Grateful

To feel grateful, you need to start thinking like your blessed, talking like you’re blessed and acting like it too. Making yourself believe that you are blessed with everything you have, will generate feelings of gratitude and self worth. That way, when you’re feeling like a failure, it will be easy for you to count your blessing rather than your problems.

  • Take Control

You can’t take control of everything. Identify what you can change and what you can not change, and begin from there. Focus on changing what you can change and that includes your mindset, you daily routine and your attitude towards life.

You can not change what people think, you can’t change the past and it certainly does you no good to dwell over what you can not change.

  • Only YOU Can Motivate You

Lastly, motivation comes from you, not from anywhere else. You can watch as many motivational YouTube speakers and TED talks on self motivation and empowerment, but if you do not want to improve you will not improve. Your own image of yourself is the most powerful tool to find self motivation.


Physical Self Motivation

Although they are truly powerful, sometimes thoughts and ideas are not enough on their own. We all need some physical reinforcement to get going. Seeing your own self motivation play out in front of your eyes can be very powerful, and generate more motivation along the way.

If you’re looking for something to specifically do to gain some self motivation, take a look at these techniques.

  • Start Your Day the Right Way

As soon as your wake up, start doing something productive. Once you get your daily dose of productivity, you will not want to get rid of that feeling throughout the day. This will improve your approach to challenges and the way you deal with difficulties along the way.

Now, you might be thinking what kind of productive thing could I do first thing in the morning? This could easily be a morning jog or making yourself breakfast to get yourself energised and feeling accomplished.

From the article on Success.com titled, ‘Top of Mind: 7 Way to Boost Self-Motivation’, Ekaterina Lyapustina, founder and CEO of JetNest starts her day like this:

“I start the day with 15 minutes of meditation, followed by asking myself a series of questions: What do I plan to achieve today? How can I be more successful than yesterday? Which of my various qualities and abilities will be most useful? I then challenge myself by trying something new every day. I exercise and try to get out of the house to attend events and meet positive, interesting and successful people who can teach me new things.”

  • Take Some Time Off

It doesn’t have to be a long time, but you can make some time for yourself during your daily routine to find sometime to think about your value and what makes you you. Reflect on how you feel about yourself, nurture the positive images you have of yourself and always remember these feelings.

Developing these feelings on day-to-day basis will help when you are facing an emotional crisis. On the other hand, if you decide to do this under negative circumstances, it would be difficult to find the positive feelings you have of yourself if they have no already been generated.

  • Movies Help Too

Movies are made to involved all our senses and emotions, and make us feel a way or another. Do you ever feel greatly motivated and ready to conquer the world after watching a great movie?

That’s because the element of catharsis has been effective, and you feel as if you’ve truly been part of the movie. Some movies embrace this element more than others, when you’re feeling like a failure, take a look at this list of inspirational and motivational movies according to IMDb.

  1. The Pursuit of Happiness
  2. Good WIll Hunting
  3. 3 Idiots
  4. Rocky
  5. Braveheart
  6. October Sky
  7. Peaceful Warrior
  8. Coach Carter
  9. Remember the Titans
  10. Evil
  11. The Shawshank Redemption
  12. The Green Mile
  13. Seven Pound
  14. The Intouchables

And many more!

  • Effective Motivation All Day Long

Keep your earphones in and tune into to your favourite songs to hype you up everywhere you go. Find the songs that make you feel energised, inspired and motivated and add it to a playlist.

Keep updating the playlist and listen to it when you’re failing down, and on a daily basis to get your daily dose of inspiration. Paul Engermann’s Push It To The Limit is always a go-to, along with the famous Queen classics such as We Will Rock You.

  • Try Books As Well

feeling like a failure-beverage-book-coffee

There are many online and hard copy books that could help inspire you. Finding phrases or ideas that speak to you can help you regenerate a sense of motivation.

Sometimes, the act of reading a book and going through the chapters and the sense of accomplishments when you complete an entire book can be very rewarding and help you become productive. Whether the text itself is meant to be motivational, or the story speaks to you on a certain level, books are definitely able to help you feel like less of a failure.

  • Reward Yourself

Remember to always treat yourself and for your hard work. If you’re working hard on a project, and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, take a break and give yourself credit for the work you put in and point out your mistakes to steer away from them next time.

Also, even though it seems childish, working towards a reward from yourself at the end of an accomplishment can help you get a lot done!


Summary: If There’s One Thing to Take Away

Always remember…never compare yourself to others, this is where feeling like a failure comes from. Working at your own pace is never a bad thing, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Value yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and be grateful for your blessings and understand your strengths.



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