I am a failure

Everyone makes mistakes – we’re supposed to; it’s how we learn. But sometimes it can seem like we’re the only ones who stuff up, especially when we compare ourselves to other people, and we can start to believe that we’re not good enough.

But we can’t be good at everything – no one can – we all have our strengths and weaknesses. And just because we don’t succeed at something, it doesn’t make us a failure as a person. Yes it can feel bad, but when you’re finding out what you’re good at, that’s normal.

When you try something and it doesn’t work, you are not failing, you are trying.

And what is ‘success’ anyway? Even people who seem to be ‘succeeding’ (you know, the ones with money, looks, the shiny car, the gorgeous partner) can still feel like failures. Every day we read or hear stories about people who got what they thought they wanted only to discover that it didn’t make them happy.

In the end, ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are just labels that have nothing to do with who we are. It doesn’t matter what the outside world thinks of you, or how many cars and houses you have, if you don’t feel okay about yourself.

What can you do?

1. Give yourself a break

It’s not bad to want to achieve, but if you’re making yourself sick and miserable, you need to shift your focus. Do things that you know you’re good at for a while. When you feel your confidence growing again, try something new (not too challenging).

2. Do something for someone you love

Acts of kindness make everyone feel good and are great confidence boosters. Take some flowers or a treat to a friend or relative, make dinner for your partner or housemates, or just Skype someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

3. Be assertive

If people make judgemental comments about your achievements, ignore them or say things like: ‘I don’t agree’ or ‘That’s your opinion’ or ‘I am doing my best’. The only opinion that matters is your own; don’t take anyone else’s on board.

If none of the above help, you may be depressed. Call or chat online with a counsellor at eheadspace, Youth Beyondblue, Kids Helpline, or see your GP as soon as you can. The earlier you get help, the sooner you will feel better.