Failure is something we all face at least once in our lives. It can be really difficult to deal with. It can cause negative thoughts, poor self esteem, poor self image, a lack of self belief - all sorts of horrible mental health issues. Failing at something can cause you to feel like a failure. But you aren't a failure.
I am no stranger to feeling like a failure. Unfortunately, it's a feeling I have encountered many times and in many different situations. I have felt like a failure because I've gotten a small part in a play or a show when I thought I'd done a really good audition. I've felt like a failure because I've messed up on an exam when I shouldn't have. I've felt like a failure because I've screwed up an audition when I've practiced really hard and done really well until the actual audition. It's a common feeling, but it can be overcome.
One time that really sticks in my head of when I've felt like a failure has been when I got a D in my Psychology exam. I've spoken about this a lot in my articles because it was a massive thing in my life for me. I really struggled. To me, a D was a fail. I knew it wasn't but in secondary school, it was drummed in to us that a C and above was a pass and even a C wasn't good enough. It was only good enough - no, we were only good enough - if we got an A or better. So when I got a D, I felt like a failure. It didn't help that all the offers I'd been given for university were BBC. Overall, I ended up with BCD. The thing that kept going over and over in my head was ‘if I was going to university, I wouldn't have got in. I would have been going through clearing. I'm not good enough for any of my universities.’ It was really hard. I beat myself up over that for a good two weeks. It might not seem like a big thing to anyone else but to me, it was huge.
No matter how hard it was for me though, I got through it. I fought and stayed strong. Luckily, I had so many amazing people around me to remind me that I wasn't a failure. So I want to be one of those people for you. You aren't a failure.
The first thing to remember is that what you perceive as failure may not be as bad as it seems. I know this sounds patronising and cliche but it's the truth. It's like with my D grade. I may have perceived it as a personal fail but in the big picture of things, it was still a pass at the end of the day. In the grand scheme of things, it's not as big of a deal as I made it out to be. That's not to say your feelings aren't valid though. You are entitled to feel however you feel, but remember to look at the big picture too.
Number two: failing at something doesn't make you a failure. No one can be good at everything and everyone has a weakness. Failing at something or not being good at something doesn't mean that you are a failure or that you aren't good enough. It just means that it isn't your strength but that's okay. You are still amazing. You are still brilliant. You are still good enough.
Something that helps me when I'm feeling down about failing is spending time with my loved ones. Whether it's friends or family, they never fail (pun not intended) to make me feel better. They remind me that I'm loved and valued. They remind me that there is so much more to life than exams or auditions or whatever else I might be feeling down about. They tell me about all the times I've helped them or made their day better just by being in it. When I'm upset, that means the world to me. To know that someone feels that their life is better because I'm in it is crazy to me and it overrides all the bad stuff. Someone loves me, even if I don't love myself.
These things won't necessarily help you but they've definitely helped me so they are worth a try.
There is another article right here on the TWE website talking about failure and it gives a few more tips about how to deal with it that haven't been included in this article and may help you if these ones don't.
Just remember it's okay to fail. Failure comes with being human. It doesn't make you less of a person. You are good enough, regardless of what anyone or anything else says.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.