5 Simple Things You Can Do When You Are Feeling Like a Failure

How to Give Yourself a Boost When Things Are Not Going Well

Feeling like a failure can do us a lot of harm if we don’t manage our emotional state well.

Experiences that don’t go our way can lead to unhealthy emotions, which can include feeling like a failure.

Knowing how to shift our mental and emotional states is important to have a healthy attitude consistently.

Things You May Say to Yourself When You Are Feeling Like a Failure

If we’re feeling like a failure, it means we’re generating poor self-talk. Things we may say to ourselves include:

  • “Things are so hard.”
  • “I hate my life.”
  • “Why do I keep messing up?”
  • “Will I ever get a break?”
  • “I can’t do anything right.”
  • “I’ve really messed up my life.”
  • “Why even bother trying?”
  • “I’m such a loser.”
  • “I hate myself.”
  • “What will everyone say if I fail?”

Consequences of Not Addressing Feeling Like a Failure

Allowing ourselves to feel like a failure for any length of time will have harmful consequences. These can include

  • Affecting our relationships.
  • Lower levels of motivation.
  • Mental health challenges which can lead to depression or anxiety.
  • Low productivity and performance.
  • Bad attitude or outlook on life.

No one likes to or wants to feel like a failure. We have to learn how to give ourselves a boost when things are not going well.

feeling like a failure

When I had completed my university course, I struggled to find a job related to my studies. Despite applying for many positions, I struggled to get job interviews.

I remember thinking I had wasted five years gaining a qualification that wasn’t helping me. My motivation and confidence levels were low. I felt like a failure.

One thing I did to keep my mind fresh was shooting basketball. On days when I’d received a rejection letter, I’d go to the nearest basketball court to shoot hoops. Having something to do to take my mind off my struggles helped a lot.

After a few months of struggle, I got a temporary three-month role which got me into the workforce. That role helped me get my second job and it continued on from there.

Going through that period of feeling like a failure wasn’t pleasant and I can understand similar struggles people may have.

5 Things You Can Do When You Are Feeling Like a Failure

We don’t have to struggle on our own. By taking responsibility for how we feel, we can do simple things that will help give us a boost.

Here are five things you can do whenever you’re feeling like a failure so you can get back to being your normal self again.

  1. Acknowledge where you are and what’s going on. Our natural tendency is to push away or reject emotions we don’t like. We may even pretend everything is “fine.” Allowing ourselves to feel the emotions fully will make it easier to release them and take the power out of them.
  2. Forgive yourself for being in your current situation. We don’t intentionally want to make our lives worse. We all want to improve our lives. When going through a difficult situation, focusing on self-care and self-compassion is important. We have to take responsibility for our mistakes, stop judging ourselves and also forgive ourselves.
  3. Get clarity and perspective. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations. If we don’t get a result when we want it, we can feel emotions like disappointment, frustration or sadness. These can lead to feeling like a failure if we don’t get a new perspective. If we focus on what’s important to us, that will give us the clarity we need to keep moving forward.
  4. Set new goals and take new actions. With our newfound perspective and clarity, we must set new goals. That will give us direction and focus, which will also help us identify the actions we need to take. New actions will bring new results, which means we’re more likely to get what we want.
  5. Share your learnings with others. Hearing about our struggles can help others make better choices. We never know how our experiences can impact others if we don’t share them. Seeing us overcome our struggles may inspire others to get the help they need to overcome their struggles.

Things You Can Say to Yourself When You Feel Like a Failure

These are mindsets or mantras to adopt whenever we go through periods of feeling like a failure.

  • “Things are not working out right now but they will as long as I focus on what’s important to me.”
  • “I will focus only on the things I can control.”
  • “This experience will make me a stronger, better and wiser person.”
  • “I have overcome challenges in the past and I will do so again.”
  • “I am not alone. Help is available if I ask for it.”
  • “This feeling too shall pass. I am not my failures.”


If we’re feeling like a failure, it means we have an idea of something better we’d prefer. That is a good thing. Our job is to focus on what we’d rather experience. If we can use our negative emotions as the catalyst to take new actions, we’ll change how we’re feeling.

If we don’t do anything differently, we’ll not be in a healthy frame of mind, which will lead to serious consequences.

Action Step: Assess how you’ve been feeling about what you’re doing or what you’re working towards. If you’ve experienced unhealthy emotions, use the ideas suggested above to shift your mental state and focus.

Question: What are more things you can do when you are feeling like a failure?