Feeling like a Failure
I went through a phase where nothing I did would go right. It started off with problems at work. Someone joined our team and became very critical of me. Whenever I suggested anything she would be obstructive. I had been working on a new project and was feeling quite empowered about it, but whenever we had team meetings she would be negative. My boss had confidence in my ideas but it really started to get to me. It spilled over into my emotional life. My relationship started to suffer. We had been a really strong partnership but I started to get very sensitive. It was like nothing I do is as good as it used to be. I knew I needed to get help before it got any worse.anonymous client
Feeling like a failure?
You can feel like a failure for all kinds of reasons:
- in terms of relationships
- in relation to an event
- in terms of career
- in terms of an ambition that can’t be achieved
- in terms of not earning the money they want to
- in relation to a sense of identity, the enduring sense of feeling like a failure.
Why do I feel like this?
There will be various personalised markers of what the experience of feeling like a failure means to you, and those are things that may need to be pursued in a confidential setting.
I work with people to help them get a better grasp of the experience they are describing when they speak of a sense of failure. This means that it can be thought about and contained and possibly in time become less destructive, and hold people less tightly in its grip. Speaking in counselling;
- with someone who will not judge you,
- who will be impartial, can help you come to terms with these feelings. Can help you think more about why you feel like this.
Finding a way to manage feelings of failure.
For some people, the sense that ‘I feel like a failure’ means that as soon as they start to think about the problem they feel like they are failing again.
What goes with that is the collapse of any possibility of building up the momentum that would help get to a different sense of self and possibility.
Feel like a failure? what can you do?
Sometimes, finding a way to speak confidentially about these kinds of painful feelings and experiences can help change the way you feel about yourself. Often a single conversation helps you to get things off your chest, lifts the burden of self-doubt from you and makes you feel like you can start again.
It can be very hard to think this at the time, but somehow we have to find a way to carry on.
Samuel Beckett’s words might help: “Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
How do we find a way to pursue the things we want without being put off by the sense of failure?
Some people find a way to learn from their failures.
How can we learn to handle the experiences of failure?
So what can you do to change the sense that ‘I feel like a failure’?
1 try to get some perspective on what has happened – talk to someone about your experience. It is usually helpful to be clear about how things have failed, to try to learn from the experience. Sharing your feelings, getting them off your chest can help relieve the stress and anxiety.
2 Are you going round the same problems? if so how do you change this?
3 How long have you thought ‘I feel like a failure?’
If a sense of failure has been drummed into you as a child, then you have particular tasks ahead of you:
- to come to terms with the criticism you were exposed to
- to try to gain a new sense of perspective.
If you grew up with experiences of failure, then as an adult you may quickly identify a sense of failure about your self and have an ongoing sense of low self-esteem. Failure may be one of your go-to emotions.
Often a profound sense of failure is mixed up with feelings of shame. At the same time as the parent or caregiver was making the child feel like a failure, they were telling them that it was their fault too.
It is like a type of grooming, you have been indoctrinated into a sense of being a failure, and made to feel that it is your own fault too.
You have acquired this sense, it has been instilled in you. You were not born with it.
Working on the sense of failure in counselling and psychotherapy
In my work, I try to create conditions which make it possible for people to explore the sense of failure without falling into their well-worn traps of feeling like they are failing with me. I try to help people understand more about why they feel the way they do.
This may be the beginning of developing a more constructive sense of self.
In therapy, it is possible that the client will feel dispirited and lose confidence and feel like a failure.
This is part of the work.
- If this happens, we try to work to understand why the feelings of failure have returned.
- We try to develop a supportive therapeutic relationship so that the therapy does not reinforce a sense of failure, but helps you to learn and develop.
In the work we want to create the possibility of something new taking place in the present, something progressive and constructive, something that is different to the sense of failure.
How do we learn from our feelings of failure so we can go onto succeed?
How can Counselling Buckinghamshire help?
Feelings of failure can have a profound impact on your everyday life. You may find yourself trapped in a narrowing spiral of feelings that affect you and the people around you.
At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people who are trying to come to terms with feelings such as failure.
Contact now for a free telephone consultation to discuss how our approach may be relevant to you.