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Feel Like A Failure? 23 Truths To Stop Feeling Defeated & Find Your Way

Sometimes we feel like failures because one thing doesn’t go to plan. Life throws us curveballs, but it doesn’t mean you’re failing. Here’s how to overcome feelings of failure.

feeling like a failure and feel defeated

Feeling like you’re a failure is something we all know too well. Whether it’s in regard to work, relationships, or anything else, that feeling eats away at you. Feeling like a failure lowers your confidence, gets you down, and keeps you back trying.

Think about how being rejected by someone makes you feel. Dealing with failure is the same, but it’s even more personal because it’s internal. When you dwell on your losses, you will never be able to move forward.

That’s why it’s essential to move on from failure before you get stuck in it. You may just need a little guidance to get there. [Read: The fear of failure and why you should never be afraid to fail]

Are you feeling like a failure?

Feeling like a failure can get in the way of so much in your life. It can stop you from succeeding, prevent you from being happy, and lower your self-esteem so drastically that you just want to give up.

With that being said, feeling like a failure can be a short-lived experience.

You may have failed a test, made a mistake on the job, or been dumped. After that initial shock, you can be inspired again. No matter how easy it is to think that your failures define you, it’s your ability to get back up that will define you. [Read: Giving up on life – 25 ways to find strength and change your attitude]

After all, failures are part of life. Even the most successful people failed several times before they could get to where they are now. Did you know that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he succeeded in his light bulb invention? You can’t give up now when you’ve come so far.

If a few days or weeks have passed and you can’t seem to shake feeling like a failure, you may need to think about yourself and why you often feel this way. Sometimes, all you need is a change of mindset when you’re feeling like a failure. [Read: Small ways to deal with big changes in your life]

Pinpoint why you feel this way

Feeling defeated can be caused by a multitude of things, such as failure, rejection, or inadequacy. Maybe you tried your best, but even your best efforts weren’t enough. Maybe you weren’t able to reach your goal.

As normal as it is to feel defeated, that doesn’t make things easier to deal with.

If anything, it makes you feel stuck with this difficult feeling. What causes this feeling is even when trying to do your best, you’re not good enough. It’s enough to make you feel lost, and it prevents you from trying altogether.

Understanding why you feel the way you do allows you to start making headway. You can work out what to do better next time, find the confidence, and move ahead. [Read: Getting over rejection – how to bounce back in no time]

How to deal with feelings of failure

Feeling like a failure does not have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t have to get you down or bum you out.

Failure can inspire you, motivate you, and change how you approach things. How do you stop constantly feeling like a failure and start feeling like a success? [Read: The need for purpose in life – things it can do for you]

1. Accept the situation

One reason feeling like a failure is so awful is because we dwell on it. We sit and soak in the bad feeling that we aren’t good enough and let it get to us. We look at what happened and get angry, upset, or disappointed.

You can’t dwell on things you can’t control, and it’s better to focus on the things you can. Instead of fighting the fact that you failed, which will only lead to feelings of failure creeping in, accept it. Failure is a part of life for everyone.

Each person, no matter how successful, has experienced failure. If you don’t want to feel stuck, accept it and let it go. [Read: How to find yourself again after a seriously low point in your life]

2. Remove blame

Try not to blame anyone. As humans, it’s our nature to try to figure things out. We want to know why we fail.

We blame everything on ourselves when we don’t achieve our desired outcome or get the results we want. We blame others for lacking in another area. If you’re feeling like a failure, stop being obsessed with finding a source of blame.

All this does is take that failure and turn it into bitterness. You’ve never really succeeded in learning from this experience if you haven’t changed your thinking and are still bitter about it, and bitterness is not a good look on anyone. [Read: How to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

3. Analyze what happened

Stop looking to blame others and look at the facts. You made a plan. Did you follow it? Did something go wrong? What was out of your control? How does this failure affect you now?

Does this open you up to new possibilities? Is there something better right around the corner?

These are all practical questions that you should be asking yourself if you’re feeling like a failure. Analyze what happened and how you could improve, but don’t overthink it to the point that it’s all you think about. It’s important to remember that your failures should never define you. [Read: How to stop making the same mistakes in a relationship and learn]

4. Look to the future

Try not to dwell on this one failure. Instead of focusing on the past, look to the future. What opportunities are at your fingertips?

Can you get a new job? Can you take some time for yourself? Can you find a new passion or focus?

It’s time to think about all the good this failure could lead you to. If you just change your perspective, failure opens the door to opportunity.

The potential is limitless, and one loss doesn’t stop you from reaching your goal. You need to stop the belief that you’re not living a good life just because you fell short of achieving your goal. [Read: How to be positive and find that silver lining immediately]

5. Redefine failure

Redefining failure is one of the harder things on this list, but it is also one of the most vital. From a young age, we are taught that failure is not an option.

But failure is a chance to recover. It is a chance to show our true strength. Failure isn’t a sign of weakness, but it’s a sign of resilience and growth.

Failure doesn’t make you weak. Someone who never fails has never had to overcome it. If you’ve been knocked down, you’ll get back up stronger and with more fight and passion for succeeding.

Failure should not get you down but lift you up and inspire you to do even better. [Read: How to succeed in life – everything you need right now]

6. Be aware of risks

Sometimes feeling like a failure sucks so much because we didn’t see it coming. We didn’t entertain the idea that this wouldn’t work out, but when you put effort into something, there is always a risk.

Life will always be full of surprises, and no matter how much we want to control every outcome, we can’t. That’s what makes life so surprising and mysterious. Accepting that as a fact and going for it anyway shows true faith and power. [Read: Mind tricks to regain control and get your life together]

7. Try again

Once you face feeling like a failure and pick yourself up, it’s time to try again. Wipe that frown from your face, and put on your game-day gear. Accept failure as a part of life, and keep living life to the fullest.

Don’t stop trying and improving in the best way you can, even if you think you’ve made mistakes countless times in different areas of your life.

Feeling like a failure doesn’t mean the end of your story or life, but it will be if that’s where you choose to remain. Remember that failure shows growth and resilience, so show that to the world. If you fail, get back up, and continue to try again. [Read: How to take that next step to success and achieve your dreams]

8. Recognize any self-sabotaging coping mechanisms

No matter how difficult it is to get past feeling like a failure from time to time, it’s not an excuse to destroy yourself further, so no drinking, smoking, doing drugs, or anything that can harm your progress.

Failure might feel like the worst thing right now, but it’s not the end of the world. However, it will be if you engage in any self-sabotaging tactics.

You need to be stronger than your pain and defeat. Don’t let your failure define you. Rise above it, and prove that it’s not the end. [Read: Sabotaging your happiness – ways you can ruin your life]

9. Change your plan of action

When we fail at life, there are two perspectives we can choose from. We can either let it destroy us or use it as an opportunity to change our plan of action. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, you could develop an action plan and change things.

Let’s say you failed your test. Instead of dwelling on that failure, you can change your method of studying.

A little adjustment to your plan can do so much to help you avoid failure the next time around. [Read: How to be a happier person – 20 joy-filled steps to change your life]

10. Realize that success doesn’t happen without failure

We all have this idea that success is achieved right away, but that’s not how things happen. Successful people don’t get to where they are without failing a few times. Failing makes you better in life and helps you to learn from your mistakes.

Just look at the many success stories that faced a lot of defeat and rejection before reaching the peak of success. That wouldn’t have happened if they let their failures defeat them, and you should think the same way! [Read: How to be successful in life]

11. Face your fear of failure

What about failure makes you so afraid? We all fear failure or rejection, and while it makes us feel defeated for a while, it also makes us stronger.

If you’re going to overcome feeling like a failure, all you have to do is take a deep breath and face your fears, and you’ll eventually get there. You need to step out of your comfort zone and avoid letting the fear of failure hold you back. [Read: How to be fearless – ways to set aside fear and live your life]

12. Be around motivating people

The best way to counter your negative thoughts is to be around motivating people. When you fail at something, they will remind you of the light at the end of the tunnel, point out the things you’re good at, and push you to keep striving for success.

If you’re constantly around negative people or consumed by social media, you’ll be comparing yourself to others for eternity. By changing your peers and environment, you’ll likely find yourself to be more capable of overcoming feeling like a failure. [Read: How to motivate yourself to do pretty much anything]

13. Find a healthy distraction

Distractions are everything when it comes to overcoming failure as long as you choose healthy ways to cope up instead of destructive ones. Hit the gym, exercise, hang out with your friends, or you can even pick up a new hobby.

Finding a healthy distraction when you’re struggling with how you feel can help you deal with your thoughts and encourage you to get back up and try again.[Read: Secret to happiness: The uncomplicated guide for a happy life]

14. Make smaller, more realistic goals

Sometimes, you feel defeated because you set unrealistic goals. There’s nothing wrong with setting high expectations, but it will lead you to fail if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

Go easy on yourself, and adjust your goals and standards. Instead of attempting a massive goal, divide it into simpler goals and steps that don’t feel too overwhelming all at once.

These accomplishments can seem small in comparison to others, but what matters is how you learn to take things one step at a time. [Read: How to succeed in life – all you ever need to know]

15. Reward yourself

If you never recognize a job well done, you start feeling defeated. You must look at the positive side sometimes. 

Have gratitude for the things you did right instead of criticizing yourself for the things you did wrong. You might not have gotten the results you expected, but you still did something.

It’s important to acknowledge that, even if it’s only one step of many in your pursuit of success! [Read: How to stop feeling overwhelmed and start seeing hope again]

16. Ask for help

It’s common for people to choose pride over asking for help. We always assume we can handle things on our own without any form of help. It’s unrealistic and painful not to reach out for help when needed.

Asking for help doesn’t mean that you failed or that you couldn’t do it on your own. It means you were smart and courageous enough to get help from those around you instead of beating your head against the wall when help was available.

It takes courage and bravery to ask for help from others, especially if you’re not the type to do so. If the feeling is affecting you in the sense that you can’t focus on the present anymore or you’re constantly missing deadlines and not meeting the expectations of your job, you might want to consider seeking professional help. [Read: Emotional baggage – how to help someone put it down and find freedom]

17. Analyze your history

Do you feel defeated often? If you experience an overwhelming feeling of defeat, it might be that you have a negative outlook on life.

Some of us have a tendency to dwell on the things that don’t go well instead of seeing the things we have going for us.

Consider changing your mindset and outlook if you want to stop feeling defeated and become stronger mentally. Realize that you can always choose to look at the glass as half-full instead of letting your tough emotions get to you. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited about the future]

18. Stop comparing yourself to others

One of the reasons it’s easy to feel defeated is that you keep comparing yourself to others, which never works out in the end. Don’t gauge your successes by comparing yourself to someone else.

The only way to grow and mature is to do better than you did last time instead of worrying about always beating out someone else. By focusing on your own path, you’ll go places in life. [Read: 20 habits of incredibly happy people that can help you find your happiness]

19. Try something new

If you feel defeated because things don’t go according to plan, it is time to switch gears and do something else. It doesn’t make any sense to keep trying to do something that doesn’t work. If you don’t want to fail, stop doing things that set you up to do so.

If plan A doesn’t work, have a plan B.

Don’t keep trying the same thing repeatedly when you know what the outcome is going to be. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to find a different approach in trying to achieve your goals. [Read: Feel better about life – 16 small steps to feel great again]

20. Face your emotions

We’re all guilty of trying to escape from our darkest and most terrible emotions, but you can’t keep distracting yourself from the pain. It’s never going to work in the long run. Even if it does work temporarily, you’re just turning it into repressed emotions.

The best way to overcome feeling defeated if you’ve experienced a setback is to just let yourself feel every bit of your emotions and sit with it.

Don’t escape, run away, or further avoid it. It’s one of the most difficult things to sit with your emotions, but it’s necessary. [Read: How to control your emotions and become the pinnacle of restraint]

21. Be kind to yourself

We will always be our worst critics. While that’s understandable, it’s not helping you overcome feeling defeated. The more you criticize your flaws and insecurities, the less likely it is that you’ll get through this situation. 

Remember to always be kind to yourself no matter what. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend.

What would you say if your best friend came to you and told you that they were feeling defeated? Give the same advice to yourself.

It’s important to learn positive self-talk and give yourself time to heal. If you wouldn’t be so harsh to others, why would you do it to yourself? [Read: How to be kind to yourself & others, and love life instead of hating it]

22. Do something you love

Many people who feel stuck and lost in life might suffer because they don’t know how to deal with failure. You don’t want to do anything. You’re left feeling hopeless and defeated, no matter what you do.

It might take a lot of energy to do the things you normally enjoy, but you have to try. Use your hobbies and interests to your advantage to at least get out of bed and do something. You owe it to yourself to show up and try to overcome this feeling. [Read: How to find your passion – secrets to seek it in simple things]

23. Take it one day at a time

It’s easier said than done, but you can’t force yourself to achieve your goals overnight. It doesn’t work that way.

Take it one day at a time, and don’t rush the process.

Stop considering what everyone else thinks. What do you think? Your progress and achievements will be much better if you take it one day at a time instead of just forcing yourself to get back on track almost immediately. [Read: Emotionally stable – how to find your zone of perfect calmness]

Failure is nothing but an illusion

It’s easier said than done, but it takes a lot of willpower and resilience to overcome failure. You will experience several failures in your life, but you can’t stay stuck in any of them.

Life is full of limitless possibilities, and one failure could just be the beginning of another adventure for you, but you’ll never get to see that if you never get back up and try again.

The best option? Start to see failure as nothing but an illusion. Reframe it into a learning experience, and you’ll never feel defeated again.

[Read: Self-concept – what it is and why it’s crucial to your happiness]

Feeling like a failure does not have to stop you from trying to succeed. In fact, it should push you even harder. You are so much stronger than you think. You just have to realize it for yourself. Most importantly, you’re not a failure.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...