Do you feel like a failure?
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.
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:
- 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?
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