It’s easy to feel like a failure in today’s world. Not meeting certain expectations, struggling, or failing can make us feel like a failure, even though those feelings just make us humans.
Here are things that don’t make you a failure
- Defying family expectations – Doing things differently and choosing your own path in life is courageous and admirable – even if you’re going against the expectations your family had for you. Choosing to do what’s best for you despite family pressure, breaking free from tradition, or breaking toxic cycles can be one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. Not meeting external expectations doesn’t make you a failure.
- Struggling with mental health – Struggling with your mental health or having a mental health disorder is not a personal failure. Mental health struggles are very common, with 1 in 4 of us struggling with a diagnosable condition each year. Mental health disorders and challenges are a result of a complex interplay of genetic, societal, environmental, and personal factors – not a sign of failure.
- Failing at something – When you fail at something, it doesn’t make you a failure. You’ve only failed at that one thing, not at life – and even when you fail at something, that failure is often temporary, fixable, or serves as a learning experience for the future. Everyone fails at something at some point (even if you can’t see other people’s failures) – it’s a normal part of life.
- Relapsing – Relapses and steps back are very common, and a normal part of the recovery process. No matter what you’re healing from, relapsing can feel disheartening and it can make you feel like you’ve failed treatment or that you’re unable to recover. However, that’s not true. Relapsing doesn’t erase all the progress you’ve already made: it’s temporary, and you can get back on track again.
- Ending a long term relationship – The end of a long term relationship is often incredibly painful and heartbreaking. However, ending a relationship isn’t a personal or moral failure. Sometimes people simply grow apart; not being able to continue a relationship doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. The success of a relationship isn’t defined by its length, and your value isn’t defined by your relationship status. The relationship has probably taught you a lot and been lovely while it lasted even if it’s no longer right for you.
- Not achieving traditional milestones – Graduating college, having a corporate job, marriage, children, owning your own house etc are fantastic things – if they are things you want to achieve. However, unless you want these things, they don’t hold any inherent value, and not achieving them does not make you a failure. It’s okay to create a life that looks like you, and not achieving particular milestones doesn’t make you a failure.
What else would you add?