What to Do When You Feel Like a Failure?

What is Failure? What causes Fear of Failure? How to Understand the Symptoms? What Steps to undertake to stop feeling this way?
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Many of your teachers must have told you that failure and success are like the two faces of one coin. If you toss a coin, sometimes you get heads while the other times it is tails. Life is also like this, but what to do if a person develops a fear of failure? Sometimes you also wonder why do I feel like a loser and how to stop feeling like one. Let me tell you today about, what to do when you feel like a failure and ways to overcome this situation.

1. What is Failure?

Failure can be defined as a position or situation of not being successful, and it is the opposite of success. It can be defined as a notion of feeling short or incompetent. It is like the non-expected result for a task.

The term is used with a person if he or she is unable to achieve the desired goal. For example, she did not acquire 90 % percent, she is a failure in her parents’ eyes. If someone is unable to achieve the goal that everyone expects them to achieve, then they are considered a failure. (See PhD Vs PsyD in Psychology)

2. What is Fear of Failure and its Symptoms?

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Never being able to succeed and because of this, never trying is the situation known as fear of failure. The fear of failure is termed Atychiphobia. During this condition, a person will fear to try anything, even the basic things. This condition is sometimes due to mental health issues, while sometimes it may be related to some bad experiences. (See What is Priming Theory?

If a person is suffering from Atychiphobia, then they will try every excuse. They will take every possible way to avoid doing that particular thing. They will continuously avoid, and they feel like they are losing control over things as well as losing control over themselves. What to do when you feel like a failure is to look out for the symptoms of anxiety and feel helpless because according to them, they are done, and nothing or no one can help them. 

Other physical symptoms are

3. What are the Causes?

Sometimes, the way one defines failure is different from others, and this is what makes all the difference. For many of us, it is just a part of life. You will fail sometimes and succeed the other time. But for some people, if they are not up to the mark, they will consider themselves a failure. For example, If someone is expected to top some examination but couldn’t do so because he fell 2-3% short with marks. Even though they secured second place, they will consider themselves a failure. Must read about internal vs external locus of control.

The environment in which a person grows plays an important role. Because if it was critical, and he or she always received criticism, then this may instill the fear to make mistakes and fail. And the most influential situation is when someone tried something, and they had failed badly, or they suffered an injury, or they were embarrassed. Such experiences get stuck in minds and prevent them from trying again. What to do when you feel like a failure is, to stop thinking about the negative consequences. It is fine even if you fail and never let it stop you. (Also read How to Deal With Family Members Who Put You Down?)

4. Why do I feel like a Loser?

Feeling like a loser or a constant fear of failure is not born overnight, but it gets rooted in your heart and mind over time. You can take a look at the characteristics or red flags that are to be focused on to understand what to do when you feel like a failure.

  • You are continuously underestimating yourself even before you try doing anything, only to avoid the disappointment and embarrassment that you fear you will face if you fail.
  • You even tell others about your failure to keep their expectations low from you because you fear how they will judge you after witnessing your failure.
  • You are afraid that others will be disappointed with you, and so you doubt your abilities and skills too. And as a result, of all those doubts and fears, you start feeling that you will not achieve the goal.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is nothing to panic about, just keep reading because you are just one step away from the solution. (See The 10 Types Of Personality Disorder)

5. How to Stop Feeling Like a Failure?

A failure and success quote on a window pane of a shop.

There is nothing impossible, and a psychological condition like this, if handled well, can be treated. Following are a few measures for overcoming the fear of failure.

  • Talk and share what is bothering you. Now, what to do when you feel like a failure is, to just talk to your family, friends, siblings, partner, or anyone whom you can trust. But never keep things inside because this will only build up anxiety and overthinking. Sharing will help in releasing your fear and help you in absorbing the advice and good vibes that they will give you. 
  • Find out if you are fearing the assumptions of what could go wrong or are you fearing the rationale. For example, you have done your best and prepared thoroughly for the exams, and still, you are fearing if you fail the exam, then what could be the circumstances. Now, this is irrational because what you prepared you can use well, and there is nothing to be fearful about. (See How to Deal with Difficult People at Work?)
  • You have to face it before it consumes you. Think about what is bothering you that is making you fearful, is it the task or the place, or the person, or anything else. Because being a problem-focused person will help you out in making the right decision. For example, if you had an accident and now you are afraid to go on the road again, will you sit in your room till eternity? No, instead, think of the ways that you can do to get over this fear.
  • What to do when you feel like a failure is to find out what you can control. You know that the result is not in your control, but the process is. So, better to focus on the journey and not the destination. Try and give your best in whatever you are doing without fearing or worrying about the result.
  • Be your judge but don’t be judgmental. Thinking over your work and criticizing your mistake is fine but never take that criticism to the level that it starts making you feel less or a failure. Yes, you tried but were not up to the mark, so what? You will try again, and this time you will be one more step ahead than before.
  • Learn where you went weak. Now, sometimes if you have failed in the past, it does not mean you were not good, or, you cannot succeed in that thing in the future too. Imagine if the athletes would start fearing after they lose then we won’t be having any competitions, world cups, or tournaments. Instead of sitting back, these athletes learned from their mistakes, because of which they lost the game. Similarly, you should also focus on the journey, locate the mistakes you did, the last time, and try not to repeat them. (Also read 10 Golden Rules of Life). 

6. What Impact does it have on your Mental Health?

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Phobias of any type are harmful to your mental and psychological health. They lead to severe depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and panic attacks. What to do when you feel like a failure is to stop this from affecting your reasoning ability making you unable to think straight. Because when your mental health is affected, your physical health will also suffer. Therefore, it is never too late to seek help from your close ones if possible. If you do not have such an option take the assistance of a psychologist. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you have this or any type of phobias. You are a human, and humans have fears too. What matters the most is that you don’t let this fear stop you from moving ahead. (See Uses of EMDR for Anxiety Reduction)

So today, you learned about what to do when you feel like a failure. And how does it impacts our mental health? And you also got the answer that keeps hitting you, that is, why do I feel like a loser. Now, relax and move on. (See Significance of CBT Anger Management Therapy)

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