Do you feel like a failure?

I do.

I feel like I failed my family

I feel like I failed in the workforce

That I fail as a friend

That I, personally, am a failure.

Chronic illness Do you feel like a failure

It is a destructive thought we have that makes us very intimidated to try new things because we have this sense we will just fail at everything. Our body has failed us. And because of that, we cannot achieve anything.

It is what I call a Core Negative Thought. We can have a lot of negative thoughts but there is this Core one that resonates with all that we do or try to do: I am a failure. And everyone has different ones. You have to really introspect and find the thought that dominates. That can actually make you tear up when you think it. And that is a core negative thought.

In order to recover our sense of self, we need to turn these thoughts around and think a little about them.

I personally am not a failure as a human being.

I have failed at things. Yes. And when it comes to failing at work I know it is because health-wise I was incapable of doing it… which lead to just failing at my job. And feeling ashamed. And it would just break any self-worth I had. Because I blamed that failure on Me as a Person. And not that working exceeds my health limitations.

In other things, we fail because failure literally is part of human nature. We tried. But it just didn’t work out. Again we can feel like this is a personal failing on our part. But in fact, it is just how we learn. We fail. We analyze that mistake. We try again. And eventually, we do better. Or conversely, we learn that is just not something we are good at. We are good at many things, but that isn’t one.

Fact is, we are human. We will fail. Failure is always an opportunity.

I know that is a weird thing to say. That failure is always an opportunity. But in fact, it actually is. As long as we do not see ourselves intrinsically as a failure, we can look at failure as a natural part of the learning process. We can re-assess our goals and ideas. And move forward. Instead of just stopping because we feel we are so utterly worthless that we can never succeed.

Failure with chronic illness

When it comes to our chronic illness we can feel like a complete failure in all that we do. Either because a) out standards are the standards of a healthy person or b) we were exceeding our limits and we simply Could Not do it.

And you know I can’t:

  • Work
  • Drive
  • Clean the house like I want to or much at all at a time without significant rest
  • I can’t socialize as much as I want and when I do it is extremely difficult
  • I am dependant on others and I am an independent person
  • I cannot support myself at all
  • I can’t achieve very much in the day. Most of it is resting.
  • I can’t really function well at all.
  • I can’t stand or walk for any real period of time. And have started using a cane to just keep me stable for the amount of walking I do.

And a lot of these things have damaged my sense of self, my self-worth, and make me feel like I am a failure. That my life isn’t worthwhile to anyone because I can’t really do things.

So I have been working on this. A lot. Because this core belief is malformed, distorted, and just wrong.

And these are the things that do help me:

  • I celebrate accomplishments. Like over the span of a week or so I have been picking these housekeeping things to do, that hasn’t been done in way too long. One was cleaning out my filing. And it made me feel so good. Accomplished. Productive. Even though everything I do requires recovery. I still celebrated doing it.
  • I always tell myself to err is to be human. So I failed at something. Well, that doesn’t mean I can exaggerate that to mean I am a failure. It means I couldn’t do it because of my health. Or because I just failed because it is a new thing. And I always accept when I cannot do something because of my health. It isn’t wrong. It is just the life I have.
  • I celebrate the things I can do. Even if it is only a short period of time, my wee window, I celebrate that I could do a little that day of something that made me happy. Like just a little bit of reading. Or some blogging.
  • I seek out things I can do instead of focusing on what I simply cannot do
  • I forgive myself for not being able to work.
  • I rest and recover without guilt because I know my body needs it a lot right now.
  • I tell myself all the ways I am worthy. All the good things about me. Every once in a while I try to name ten good things about myself. I never make it to ten, but I think one day I will. One day my self-worth will recover.
  • I do a gratitude journal. I have to get used to doing it every day. Because we do have to make our brains focus on what we are thankful for in the sea of negativity and difficult things and emotions we deal with constantly.

So what do you think? What are the things you do to not see yourself as a failure? Do you think we should celebrate the things we can do instead of ruminating on all those things we cannot do?

Chronic illness: Self-identity

Fearing to try and self-worth

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14 thoughts on “Do you feel like a failure?

  1. I am so happy to fins someone else who also cannot drive because of their chronic illness. You don’t know how happy I am as I get so much shit about it as others don’t understand. I often think of myself as a failure when I see other young people my age working full time and still having the time to catch up with friends and do the things they enjoy. You are not a failure as a person though. If only other people could see that. I think it is so unfair that just because some people living with chronic illness can have a surgery or procedure that changes their life and makes them able to do the normal everyday things again that people automatically thing everyone can do it. We are all different and I wish others would just celebrate me too and the small achievements.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m with you! I have to do a lot of resting and I feel so guilty. I can drive but long distances make my leg go numb and I’m trying to find ways around that but so far, no luck. It’s hard living with an illness that others don’t understand but I am trying to live and do what’s best for me and my health!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely! I agree completely although I’m only starting to learn ways I can appreciate myself more and increase my self worth. I’m going to use all these tips and try to put them into practice from now on. It’s so easy to fall into the pit of negativity and stay there but we have to just keep trying to get out no matter what is thrown our way 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post Nikki! I was just talking to my husband this morning about my feelings of guilt (and their sidekick, feelings of failure) surrounding my illness. I love your tips for counteracting those negative feelings, and have found most of them to be helpful to me as well. Scheduling to share on FB page and Pinterest. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eugh, yes, so spot on. I feel like a failure and feel guilty pretty much every day, whether that’s because of the work situation (lack of it since losing my job due to my surgeries and health) or because of getting so little done because of pain and exhaustion. You’ve written this so well, and it provided a lot of comfort so thank you, Nikki, I’m sure there are many that can also relate. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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