Being a Failure

I’m a failure. Or at least I feel like one every minute of every single day. The logical side of my brain says, “No, you’re just doing too much!” or “You’re so smart. You can do this and you’re doing great!” but maybe it’s really that I have rather crappy time management skills. Or I’m not that smart. Or I’m rather disorganized. Maybe I’m even a total hack.

To add to my failure, I have this need-to-please gene. I think many women do. Whenever anyone expresses any dissatisfaction with my progress towards my goals, or me simply not achieving my goals when I hoped, that feeling of failure increases exponentially. Maybe that’s a personal problem I need to overcome. Maybe people need to realize it can be devastating enough to someone when they don’t achieve their goals and shouldn’t feel the need to add their own disappointment.

Rarely do I feel good about what I have accomplished each day. I always add, “But I could have done this, didn’t do this, and probably could have done this better.” On those rare days, I catch myself saying, “I did good at this!” and my lizard brain kicks in telling me not to get so full of myself.

I don’t have anyone in my life who tells me I’m doing a good job. (Well, my mom, but that’s what they’re supposed to say!) Generally, it’s my internal tiny-often-MIA personal cheerleader and my overbearing tenacity to keep me from admitting total defeat.

Something my dad told me recently that is very prudent to help me in my daily cyclical failure framework: Will you die from this? No. Then it’s not that bad.

No, likely I won’t die from not having the house clean. Or not getting everything I wanted done in a day. Or not graduating with my Ph.D. this coming spring. (I’m still hopeful, but I’m also realistic.)

The honest truth is, I feel like a failure enough on my own without others weighing in on my progress. I’m sure you or others around you do too. Give yourself a mental high-five. Maybe go give someone you know who tried really hard today a hug. Or maybe just some encouraging words if a hug would get you a call from HR. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, even inside our own heads.

Read more:

Women Feel Like Frauds

The Imposter Syndrome: Why do so many successful women feel they are frauds?

Quora: Why do I feel like a failure? What are 10 ways that I can stop feeling like a failure?