We all have those moments when we feel we've completely failed – it's one of those unpleasant aspects of being human. You may wonder, "what can I do to get out of that slump of feeling badly about myself?" Below are my best tips for getting through those tough periods:
1 | Try not to seek distraction
When we feel crumby about ourselves, it's natural to want to escape those feelings and seek distraction through watching Netflix, scrolling through Facebook or getting drinks with friends. Although these may seem like great ideas at the time, they only defer the uncomfortable feelings for later when they crop up again – because you haven't actually dealt with the problem itself.
2 | Remember it's only temporary
Negative thoughts about the self and unpleasant feelings come and go. When you're in the throes of self-pity, I know it seems like it will never go away, but in fact this is a temporary state. Reminding yourself of the transient quality of thoughts and feelings can help you get through the difficult time.
3 | Remind yourself of what you've done right
In those times when we feel we've failed, sometimes it's the only thing we can think about. Consciously recollect your recent successes and how great you feel about those.
4 | Speak to yourself the way you would to a good friend
That voice inside our head can be pretty mean sometimes (or a lot of the time.) To balance this out, imagine that your good friend came to you with a similar problem...what would you say to them? Say this mentally to yourself.
5 | Put good in, get good out
It's hard to resist the comfort of food when we are feeling badly about ourselves. We often want to seek pleasure with processed foods and sweets. Remember that if you put unhealthy foods into your body – although you'll get temporary enjoyment – you're liable to feel worse later. It's especially important when we feel low to eat nutrient-dense foods that support improved moods.
6 | Seek support
When the feeling of failure sets in, we can get into a spiral of our own negative thoughts. And it doesn't help that we tend to be our own harshest critics. Sometimes it helps to get an outsider's perspectives to add new ideas and more pleasant feelings to the mix. A friend, partner or family member can remind us of how hard we try, or how good of a person we are.
7 | Know that failure is a part of success
Although we would like to be successful at all times, that is not realistic! Becoming successful at any endeavor requires lots of failure in the process. People who practice more self-compassion following failure are more likely to take risks that can lead to future successes. Keep this in mind the next time you come up short.
8 | Connect to intention
Often times failure is attributed to situations in which we didn't get the desired outcome. Focusing too much on outcomes can discourage us from continuing to try. But when we shift our attention to the intentions of our actions, we can become encouraged, inspired and renewed to try again.
9 | Practice self-care
It's much easier to have self-compassion for ourselves when we are practicing self-care. The next time you're feeling badly about yourself, find an activity that you can do to nurture yourself. This could be anything from going on a hike, to taking a bath to lighting a candle – whatever makes you feel good.
10 | Tell yourself you're not alone
When we're feeling badly about ourselves we can sometimes engage in comparison with others. We somehow think that everyone else has it together and it's only us who's failed. This is simply not the case! Everyone struggles with self-doubt and self-criticism at times – it's part of living.
I hope that you find this list helpful. These are some of my favorite strategies for bouncing back after feelings of failure. If you have more ideas, please share them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and be well!
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.