How To Cope With Failure In Your 20s

Feeling lost is normal…
How To Cope With Failure In Your 20s
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By Nimra Adil -

People always say that your 20s are the best years of your life, and that might be true for the most part, but it can also be the hardest, most frustrating and chaotic time in a person’s life. You might be a senior in college, facing the daunting prospect of life after graduation, whatever the case, you’ll almost definitely feel at least a little lost at some point.

Thoughts such as, ‘Am I working hard enough?’, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ and ‘Will I ever be successful or find my true passion?’ may well be a part of your day. These anxieties can cloud your judgement, making you feel that nothing you do is ever quite good enough. 

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If you’ve ever felt like that, IT’S OKAY. It’s normal to feel lost or like you're ‘failing at life’. But, what you need to tell yourself, whenever these negative thoughts arise, is that there is no one set of rules for everyone. People all around us strive for that picture-perfect life, a house, dream job, soulmate, money and success by a certain age. What we fail to realise is that those things don’t necessarily lead to happiness. 

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You’re doing better than you think. Even if you’re excelling at life, you’ll always feel one step behind everyone else. And if you’re still finding your path, that’s totally fine. Failure is a part of life, no one ever got anything worthwhile without trying.

There’s a saying that has stuck with me, ‘If you never ask, it’ll always be a no.’ So go out there make those mistakes, try anything and everything you want. At least you won’t have any regrets. Don’t let the fear of failing keep you from something amazing – you don't want to be haunted by ‘what ifs’. 

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Failing – in your career, relationships and life in general – can be beneficial. If you do, it more than likely means you took a chance. You will learn your true passion – maybe you didn't get that job, the one you were so sure was perfect for you. Sure, at the time you may be distraught, but it could well be a blessing in disguise, leading you try out something new.

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Toxic friendships are not worth it. You aren’t the same person you were five years ago and your friends aren’t either, if your relationship feels like a job, it’s time to let go. Don’t blame yourself for not making it work, some people aren’t there forever and that’s okay. But don’t alienate yourself, having a support system during periods of major change is crucial for your wellbeing. 

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Forget the ‘plan’. It’s good to have a plan, to know what you want and be working towards it. But when that plan makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s just making you miserable. Especially at college or university, everyone around you seems to have their life together, except you. But the key word here is 'seems'. In reality, yes, they might doing great, or they could be struggling just like you. Don’t torture yourself by measuring all of your successes to those around you. Whenever you feel like you’ve failed reframe your negative thoughts, work through them and see the silver lining. There’s always one there! 

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Failure is the only way you can grow, it’s how you learn to adapt to changes. Life is going to be full of unpredictable twists and turns but that’s the beauty of it – just because you feel lost now, doesn’t mean you always will. Embrace the unexpected, the way you handle failure now will shape the person you become, someone who isn’t scared of putting themselves out there.   

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Put your phone away. In our social world, we get caught up in this mind-set of constant comparison. Oh, your first boyfriend just got engaged? That girl from school just landed a super cool job? So what! Go on a social detox during this time of self-discovery. Whatever you see on social media isn’t real, it's the curated highlights of people's lives. Keep telling yourself that.

As American pastor Steven Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” 

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Your 20s are the only time in your life that you aren’t accountable to anyone. Make the most of this time, be selfish with your energy and who you spend it on. Work a random job, save enough to travel wherever you want. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. Think of the present and eventually things will naturally fall into place. Appreciate the uncertainty.  

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We have unreal expectations for our 20s, which can only lead us to feelings of insecurity. Even if a journey is full of heartache and disappointment, it will shape the best version of you. Nothing come easy ever lasts, so enjoy the struggle and stumble a little, but always get back up and believe in what YOU can do. 

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