Ella, my 16-month-old daughter is learning to be independent.
She wants to do everything herself and is constantly failing. She can’t get the lid on the container, she can’t get the food in her mouth with a spoon, she can’t walk straight and constantly falls.
None of it phases her, she laughs, gets back up and tries again. Over and over and over again.
This morning as I watched her go eat, I couldn’t help but wish I were a little bit more resilient myself in the face of failure.
- I get mad when I fail.
- I get frustrated with I fail.
- I feel hopeless when I fail.
- I want to give up when I fail.
I don’t want to sit and laugh, clap and then get up and try again. Instead, I feel like a failure when things don’t go my way.
I’ve heard over and over that my kids would teach me lessons I’d never dream I needed to learn, but I’m seeing it first-hand today.
Her resilience in the face of continued failure is amazing.
Failure happens. You can choose to laugh, clap and then try again or you can let yourself drown in your frustrations.
If you are tired of feeling like a failure, then you have to learn how to help yourself overcome your feelings about failure.
How do we have the right attitude about failure? How do we learn to love failure and overcome feelings of inadequacy?
I personally believe that it is our attitude towards failure that will help us continually overcome our feelings of failure.
Please keep in mind that I know some failures are worse than others. Some failures have some really horrible lasting consequences. I don’t mean to downplay the severity of what some people are facing.
And yet, I believe that even in the worst of situations, how we deal with feelings of failure is what allows us to move forward.
I want to have an attitude of gratitude towards my failures so that I can move forward without all of the negativity.
And honestly, you are going to fail frequently. It isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when.
How do some people continually smile in the face of failure and keep on going?
4 Ways to overcome feelings of failure
1. Choose to be happy
It sounds simple, but we all know this is the hardest choice at times. I choose to put a smile on my face and move forward.
When I smile, joke and choose to be happy, eventually the feelings become real. Does it solve my problem? No. However, by not letting my frustrations get to me, I’m better able to move beyond my failures with a positive attitude.
Some days when I feel like a failure this is harder than others.
The whole fake it till you make it does have a bit of truth to it.
One thing I’ve found that helps me is to make time for my hobbies. When you take little moments of happy time for yourself in the midst of your chaotic life everything looks better.
I know it is hard to find time for yourself, but you need to make it a priority. Don’t feel guilty for taking a little bit of time for yourself.
During my pregnancy, I stopped writing and working on this blog. This blog has become my outlet and I was amazed at how such a little decision impacted me so negatively. When I have something I love that brings me happiness it is so much easier to feel good about myself when failure hits.
Sometimes, you need to take a few minutes for yourself and concentrate on self-care. Zone out to your favorite music, take a bubble bath (I love this stuff), take a few minutes to journal, do some yoga.
Just take a few minutes to reenergize yourself.
2. Ignore external doubters
I personally believe this is a huge factor. There is so much negativity around us every single day.
I turn on the news and the world is ending. I have friends who are going through some really horrible stuff.
Even social media can get you down. Everyone else seems to have perfect lives. It is easy to buy into the hype and believe that everything you see is the real image of their lives.
Some of the friends I mentioned who are struggling don’t show that struggle on social media. You’d never guess they are having issues.
Don’t waste your time feeling like a failure because you are comparing yourself to a “perfect” friend. I can guarantee that person feels the exact same way about someone else in their life.
You can’t let all of the negatively (or false positivity) around you color your perception of your failures.
You have your own path to follow and their negativity and problems are their own. Don’t take on someone else’s issues or let them determine how you will respond to yours.
If you have negative people in your life, get rid of them.
I know this is a blanket statement, but for your own peace of mind, learn to distance yourself emotionally from negativity.
3. Choose to move on
When I dwell on my failures, all they do is eat away at me. I’ve had to learn to let my feelings of failure go.
K – so let’s be real here. This is easier said than done.
When you feel like a failure, you wake up at 3:00 AM in the morning and go over the problem over and over and over in your mind. You literally can’t let it go.
This is the worst – you are already tired and worn out. When you can’t sleep it makes everything so much worse.
When I have these moments I’ve found that the best thing for me is to not get on my cell phone. If I get on my cell phone my brain starts working and then I’m awake. Once I’m awake I’m not going back to sleep.
I’ve found that my pre-bedtime routine makes a huge difference in my ability to sleep.
I like to do some light stretching/yoga before going to bed. It seems to calm me down and help me sleep better.
I also try and avoid sugar late at night.
If you are a religious person like me, you may find scripture reading and prayer beneficial.
Find activities that help you wind down and relax.
When I do wake up in the middle of the night, I put on soft music that helps keep my mind distracted. As long as I don’t start thinking I’m fine.
One other thing that may help is organizing your evening or morning time to avoid extra stress. I recently took a class called Make Over Your Morning and loved it. Being organized in the morning really helps me move on from feelings of frustration and failure since I have a plan of action.
They also have a Make Over Your Evening Class but I haven’t done that one yet.
4. Don’t overwork yourself.
I can see you guys laughing through the screen on this one. Being overworked is part of life.
I’m only working part-time and I still feel overwhelmed with work responsibilities at times. I’m only a part-time Mom and I feel completely overwhelmed in that area as well.
Sometimes the only thing we can do in this area is to realize most of our feelings of failure are tied in with societies expectations of success.
Again, let go of the external doubters and concentrate on what you can do.
I can guarantee you are doing significantly better than you think you are doing.
My feelings of failure tend to happen when I’m feeling overwhelmed and way too busy with life. When I’ve got too much on my plate it is easier for feelings of failure to take root.
Being too busy is often one of my worst problems.
I’ve had to learn to let some of my need for perfection fall by the wayside. I can’t do it all.
When I try, I fail.
Don’t get so caught up in doing it all that you work yourself to death. It doesn’t work – you will fail.
Learn to say no. You don’t need to do everything to be happy. Give yourself permission to set clear boundaries for your time and your life.
If you struggle to set clear boundaries you may want to read: 3 Tips for Balancing Your Work & Personal Life
5. Decide to Learn from your failures
I know it sounds odd, but when I realized that I could learn from my failures something shifted inside me. Just the simple realization that my failures were stepping stone to bigger and better things has changed my life.
I remember years ago failing miserably at a work project.
Nothing was going right and I felt like it was my leadership that was causing the issue. I didn’t have a clue how to fix things and remember crying on my drive home. I was so frustrated and angry at myself for missing some key pieces of information.
When I got home, I pulled up my email and was ready to write a letter of resignation. Instead, I pulled out the original work proposal and read and reread the details. Something I should have done from the beginning.
I was able to find some details that I had missed initially and as a result was able to switch things around and eventually the project got back on its feet. It ended up being one of my most valuable learning experiences that came as a result of my decision to learn from my failure rather than drown in my frustration.
Unfortunately, not all of my failures have been overcomeable (not sure if that is a word). Sometimes failure just happens and some of the lessons are ones I didn’t want to learn.
The ability to learn from failure can be one of your greatest strengths.
It all comes back to attitude. Are you tired enough of feeling like a failure to change your thinking patterns and learn from your mistakes?
Overcoming Feelings of Failure is possible
I fail at something every single day of my life. When I originally wrote this post, I had a list of ways that I failed yesterday.
I looked at my list and realized that I was being incredibly stupid. By highlighting my failures all I was doing was giving them power over me.
Don’t waste your time worrying about your failures, when you think about your day focus on the wins. Let the negative stuff go and focus on what makes you happy.
On a side note, if feelings of failure are something you struggle with on an ongoing basis, I really recommend professional help. Don’t discount how easily you can fall into depression or let anxiety overcome you. Get help!
PS. One of the best ways to avoid failure in the first place is to focus on creating positive habits. Check out this post – it is awesome!
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