Feeling like a failure

So right now I’m a full-time student. Was working full-time as well but my contract wasn’t renewed because the company wasn’t comfortable with the idea that I’m a full-time student when they found out. Right now, I’m just in this flux - I’m studying but feel like I need to do more than graduate with a conventional degree. All my friends seem to be doing so well and I just feel so behind and inadequate.

How do people work through this feeling of inadequacy in a society that only values income, educational qualifications and occupational prestige?


Hello @Eatmahpuff thanks for sharing! It’s completely normal to feel the weight of societal expectations, especially when comparing yourself to others. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and it’s okay not to follow a conventional path. Instead of focusing solely on income and occupational prestige, consider identifying your passions and strengths. Pursuing personal growth and finding fulfillment in what you do can be more rewarding than conforming to external expectations. Reflect on your achievements, both big and small, and recognize that your journey is valid and valuable. Embrace the idea that success is subjective and can take various forms. You’re doing great! :muscle:


Hello @Eatmahpuff I used to have strong feelings of inadequacy like I was lagging behind alot of people too but after awhile I realised that it’s okay to do things at your own pace.
Everyone has a different path and that’s okay what’s important is that I try to be better than I was yesterday. :slight_smile:

I like this quote from Mark Manson , “I am good enough, but I can always be better” To me this means being happy with the present while striving to be better.

So like what @QLT said take some time to recognise your achievements and remind yourself that you are on your own journey

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This is such a deep question, @Eatmahpuff. There’s no easy answer and there’s this Chinese saying 一山还有一山高 which translate to “for every high mountain, there is an even higher mountain”.

I feel like it’s very hard to feel adequate if you mindlessly chase superficial stuff like income, educational qualifications etc because there will always be someone at your age that earns higher than you or has higher qualifications.

Maybe one way to address this is to do something different from the vast majority of others. It’s easier to be different than to be better. And if you’re lucky or have some smarts, being different will give you a good chance to be better anyway.

And you trying to work full time while studying full time is already quite different from others. You’re in a good place. You’ll get way more experience from your peers when you graduate and that’s going to help your early career life a lot.

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Rule number 1, don’t compare yourselves with others unless it is for improving yourself without beating yourself up.

To answer your question on how people work through this feeling of inadequacy is to stop comparing ourselves with others. We, our lives, are not defined by how much we own in money or cert or status, as much as one may be tempted to think so and what society supposedly values.

Your life’s meaning and value, and your happiness is defined by yourself. Not others. If you don’t value yourself, then no matter what you achieve, you will always feel inadequate because there is no end to comparison.


Hi @Eatmahpuff

Thank you for that question and for sharing your thoughts! I hear you, and I can sense the weight of your situation and the pressure you’re feeling. It’s really disheartening to have your job contract not renewed because of your commitment to education. It sounds like you’re grappling with a sense of uncertainty about your future and comparing yourself to others who seem to be progressing more smoothly.

Feeling inadequate in a society that often measures success by income, educational qualifications, and job prestige is a common struggle. However, it’s important to recognize that these external markers don’t define your worth or potential. To be frank, when I was younger, I used to feel this way too. And it’s true, comparison is a thief of joy!

One way to work through this feeling of inadequacy is to shift your focus inward and consider what truly matters to you. Reflect on your passions, interests, and values, and think about how you can align your goals with what brings you fulfillment. Remember that success looks different for everyone, and it’s okay to carve out your own path, even if it diverges from the conventional/traditional route :slight_smile:

Also, seeking support from friends, family, or a mentor who can offer encouragement and perspective can be invaluable! When you surround yourself with a supportive network, it can help counteract feelings of isolation and boost your confidence as you work through this period of transition.

Lastly, you can consider exploring opportunities for personal and professional growth outside of traditional measures of success. This could involve volunteering, pursuing passion projects, or seeking out internships or part-time work in fields that interest you. These experiences can not only enhance your skill set but also provide a sense of purpose and direction as you work towards your goals :slight_smile:

Remember, you are capable and deserving of success on your own terms. It’s okay to take your time to find your path and to prioritize your education and personal growth along the way. Your journey is unique! Stay encouraged and keep walking.

Let us know how you’re doing? We’d love to hear from you again.

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