Why Am I Such a Failure?

I was recently driving home from a not so great day when I asked myself this question: why am I such a failure?

At face value, it might seem like a silly question.

Afterall, I have all the external trappings of what success should look like.

  • A beautiful, loving family
  • Financial stability
  • Perfect health
  • Good, loyal friends
  • A nice, reliable car etc.

If I didn’t have these things, I would look at a person that did and conclude that they were successful. Yet, I have all of this and still think that I am a failure.

And if I am a failure, the next natural question to ask is, why? Why am I such a failure?

What gives?

My cheery, happy go lucky friends will never understand why someone would even think of such a question. However, I have to say that my life changed dramatically when I asked myself this question.

For one thing, asking “why am I such a failure”, led me to stronger (harder) questions such as:

  • “Am I really a failure?”
  • If so, why did I fail?
  • Why do I fail at everything I do?”

As i asked these questions, something became clear to me.

It is possible that I am a failure; however, it is not possible that I fail at everything that I do.

So now, I was left with answering the other two questions. Am I really a failure? and, if so, why did I fail?

I’ll pause here and say that there are some people that claim that there is no such thing as failure. That there is only success and lessons learned.

I tend to disagree.

I believe that there is success and lessons learned from failure.

Anyway, I drove all the way home that day pondering my life and how I am such a failure.

I didn’t say anything to my friends or family about it because I didn’t expect them to understand.

Even I don’t understand myself sometimes.

It took about two weeks but I continued to ponder the remaining two questions

  • “Am I really a failure?”
  • If so, why did I fail?
  • Why do I fail at everything I do?”

Eventually, my pondering led to actions.

I took out a pen and paper.

At the top, I wrote “my recent failures”.

I then proceeded to list the things that I had failed at recently.

It was interesting.

As I wrote down my failures, I naturally saw why I had failed (and I wrote the reason down beside each failure).

It was amazing to see that all of my failures had the same reason – mixed intent.

Mixed intent: when you want something but you subconsciously believe that you can’t have it so you settle for something else that seems more achievable but is less satisfactory.

When mixed intent happens, the result is a confusing state that looks something like this.

You achieve your fear-driven goal, which gives the appearance of success.

Yet, you miss your heart-desired goal, which results in feeling like a failure.

I was relieved to see that I’m not crazy.

I also took a minute to write out my recent successes and noted that my list of successes was about twice as long as my list of failures.

This is good.

I feel really good about that.

Your Turn

  • Do you feel like a failure?
  • What do you intend to do to improve your feelings about your life?

Need additional help?

Visit my friends over at Talkspace for $50 off therapy (i’ve tried it and I like it).

4 thoughts on “Why Am I Such a Failure?

  1. Very well written! I can relate a lot, especially when it comes to college and still being at that age where I am constantly figuring myself out and exploring my passions. I will definitely try that list that you did because a lot of times when someone ask the question Why Am I a Failure? they leave it at that and it just discourages them . But I love how you go a little deeper within yourself and come out feeling hopeful for the future :)

    1. Wow Nikki. This comment really encouraged me. Thank you! To be honest I was low key hoping nobody would even read this post. It really means a lot to me.

      Ps: I love your story and I think you’re so brave for sharing. I tried leaving a comment directly on the post but still wasn’t able to find the “name/url” option

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