Do you ever feel like a failure? There have been many times in my life when I have felt like a complete failure. A failure as a child, a failure as a wife, a failure as parent, a failure as a friend, a failure as a homemaker, a failure as an employee, a failure as a blogger. I have failed my God. I have failed myself. That is a lot of failing at life for just one person. It can make a person… or maybe I should just say that it makes me feel overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, it can lead to me feeling helpless and depressed. Not a good thing, and not a place that I like to be. I’m going to wait and talk about helplessness and depression for a different time. Today, is all about feeling like a failure, figuring out why we feel that way, and how to move past it.
What makes you feel like a failure? Let’s start with our society. Our society judges us by what they see on the outside. How much we weigh, the shape of our body, how big our boobs are, what kind of job we have, how much money we make, how many things we own, how our children act, what kind of parent we are, how we act in public, how many friends we have, how big our house is… I think you get the idea. Our society judges us on everything that it perceives us to be. Did you read that last sentence? Read it again. Our society judges us on everything that it PERCEIVES us to be. It doesn’t judge us on who and what we are, only what it see’s from the outside. It doesn’t take into account who we are in the inside. It doesn’t care. It takes one look at each of us, and separates everyone into stereotypes. If you work at this place, you should be respected, or if you live in this area of the neighborhood, you must do drugs and live off of the government. Even knowing that our society is like that, we still allow it to make us feel and believe that we are failures if we don’t fit into the perfect cookie shape that it says we have to be.
Having a marriage fail after 18 years, can really make you feel like a failure. Yes, I failed at my marriage. I know I am not alone when I say that I truly believed that we would be married forever. I never wanted to, or expected to, have a failed marriage. I don’t think that any of us go into a marriage thinking that it will end in a divorce. If you did, or if you do feel that way, do not get married. You are dooming yourself to fail. People grow apart, they change, they aren’t willing to work on the problems at hand, they give up and flat out quit. So, you’ve acknowledged that you have failed. Now what? You learn from it and change if needed. You put on your best dress, move on, and start over when you are ready.
There is nothing like the first time your child tells you that they hate you and wish that you weren’t their parent. The feeling of failure slowly floats over you as you look at this little human being that you have nurtured, loved, and given every inch of yourself too. Of course, if you have been a parent for any amount of time, you will learn that this will not be the last time you feel like you have failed as a parent. When my (ex)husband went to Iraq, and after our divorce, I kind of went off the deep end. Ok, I didn’t really have a nervous breakdown, but I had no idea who I was anymore. I was no longer a wife or a homemaker, and I seriously didn’t know anything about myself. Needless to say, I made a lot of mistakes as a parent. Our house had a mom and two teenagers who were trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted to be as individuals. If you had asked me a year or two before those years, what kind of parent I was I would have told you that I was a really good parent. I was, but then I failed. I failed my children. It breaks my heart, and brings tears to my eyes to admit that I failed them. So, what did I do after failing my children? How did I repair my relationship with them? I apologized and asked for their forgiveness. I didn’t do that right away though. It took time for me to realize what I had done, it took time for me to show them that I had changed, and to explain that I was trying to find myself and grow up right alongside them. My children have always been, and always will be, the most important people in my life. I love them more than they can even imagine and I never, never want to fail them ever again. But, you know what? I probably will, because I am human, and I make mistakes. No matter how hard I will try to not fail them, I still might.
What can you do to change this feeling of being a failure and move past it? I am an overthinker. I think about things over and over and over. I dwell on the problem or what I perceive is the problem. It gets in my head and won’t let go. Not everyone (thank goodness!) is like that. Some people, can feel like a failure for a very short time, and then quickly move past it getting on with their lives. Does that make me more of a failure because I don’t do that? No. It just shows that we all deal with things in different ways and that is okay. It’s important to evaluate your feelings, figure out what is causing you to feel like a failure, and decide what you need to do to fix the situation. Once you have figured out, or admitted to yourself, that you have failed, you need to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself is probably the hardest and most important step of all. When you forgive it softens your heart, it lessens your load, and it helps you to be able to move on. The next thing that you should do is work on a plan to make some changes. Change is never easy for anyone, but if you don’t want to fail at the same thing over and over, you have to change whatever you are doing so that it doesn’t happen again. If you have failed another person, the last step is to apologize to that person. Keep in mind that they may not be accepting of your apology, but that is okay. What matters is that you are sincere about your apology. You can’t make someone else forgive you, they have to choose to forgive you themselves, and they may need some time before they can decide to forgive. Don’t be too hard on yourself if that happens just know that you are doing what you can to fix the situation.
This article has become a lot longer than what I had originally meant for it be! I will end with this: Do not let society or anyone else, define who you are, who you want to be, or if you are or aren’t a failure. Once you give that power to someone else, they have control over you. Don’t do it. There is only one person who can decide if you are or aren’t a failure, and that is YOU. You have full control of your feelings, of your actions, and of what happens in your life.