Fear and Failure Are Often Only Feelings That We All Fight to Overcome

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Some days, I wake up and feel like a failure. I know what it is to fight the feeling of failure. This morning, when I started my day, I saw this letter from a WOTF reader named Rachel. I dropped everything to answer her right away. It really touched me because I relate to battling feelings of failure, which, I admit, the idea of failure feels much more acute now than it did when I was in my twenties or thirties. Career changes and challenges in your midlife can be a real struggle I know, because I experience it too. Here’s my thoughts on fighting the feeling of failure.

Dear Veronica,

You are an inspiration! I just turned 46, and I’m at a total loss. How can I transition into a life/profession where I am happy? I’m so dissatisfied with my life, I feel like… I hate to say this, but I feel like giving up. I can’t deal with the pain. I feel like a failure.

Dear Rachel,

Don’t give up! Believe it or not, I felt just like you when I was 46 and when things get tough, even now sometimes, I can feel like a failure. It’s normal to feel that way, so don’t be hard on yourself. Know that what you’re experiencing is just a feeling. What’s important is to FIGHT THE FEELING WITH GRATITUDE AND GRIT. When I get down, and I feel like things aren’t working, I go for GRATITUDE. I take stock of what I have that’s good: it could be food in the fridge, a roof over my head or shoes on my feet, healthy kids a husband I love, or even that I have enough strength to feel bad rather than no strength at all … Anything and everything you have that’s positive in your life is a tool to use to fight the feeling of failure. Use everything, up to an including your next breath to push away the feelings of helplessness and despair. That’s the where the gratitude part comes in to play. Don’t let yourself take anything for granted.

Rachel, fight the feeling of failure by taking action. Get moving! Take a walk. Do sit-ups or push-ups, even you do three of each, and maybe you’ll laugh at yourself for feeling silly for doing it, or maybe you’ll even keep going. No matter what, doing something to make yourself feel stronger  is an accomplishment and it will change your mood for the better – that’s the opposite of failure. Make yourself a list of action item. What can you do with what you have to move towards your goal? The GRIT comes in when you complete at least one action item a day, especially when you don’t feel like doing it or when you think you can’t or won’t make it – that’s when you need to push and keep going. You can do this Rachel! Don’t give up! Get Started!

Write to me and let me know how it’s going! Pat yourself on the back because writing and sharing your feelings was a positive step in the right direction to breaking the feelings of failure and depression. Thank you for trusting me and sharing your story here on WOTF.



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