Ask a Therapist: Why Do I Feel Like I’m Failing at Everything?

By Courtney Klein, PsyD

You may find yourself in a career you have worked towards for your entire adult life, and/or in a marriage with children that should be satisfying in all of the ways you expected. And, like many Coloradoans, you may additionally have athletic hobbies or other entertainment outlets that take up quite a bit of time and practice. But, with all of these roles in your life that are supposed to bring you joy and increased energy for more, it turns out that instead you feel like you’re not meeting all of the demands and instead failing at everything. 

You have taken on a lot: valuable endeavors in your life that you willingly worked toward, that you knowingly accepted or even sought out to satisfy what you’re looking for, and on paper they still look like a wonderful balance. You have an goal-oriented, successful career.  You have a mortgage and daycare and soccer practice and ski lessons.  And you take staycations.  But where did YOU go?  Why doesn’t all of this feel like you are doing well and can enjoy the ride?

This are common feelings for many people entering into middle adulthood. And it is the same as multitasking. We’ve likely been told that “multitasking” is the way to accomplish various goals at the same time, a way to get ahead. Now with the addition of smart phones, tablets, social media, and “always on” technology, you would think we would be even more adept at balancing various responsibilities and tasks at the same time. The truth is that “multitasking” today often means we feel we must be competitive in our career, present and energetic when at home, completely patient and excited with your children at all times, and then have passion leftover for leisure time. In reality, multitasking just forces us to be mediocre at everything rather than exceptional at a few things. And THIS is why you feel like you are failing. It’s too much, or at least, not balanced to suit your needs and who you are.  You’re not covering everything you set out to do, you are not able to stay ahead, and your personal mantra of “just working harder” to reach your goals is not feasible anymore. 

Instead, it is time to optimize. It is time to rearrange your priorities, reevaluate what truly makes you happy, and perhaps lower a few bars in order to raise your overall satisfaction and feelings about yourself.  You have worked too hard and made too many valuable sacrifices to feel this way.  Improving your insight, self-awareness, stress management, and love of your life will help you to OPTIMIZE your life.  

ABOUT AUTHOR

Courtney Klein

Dr. Klein specializes in working collaboratively with people who are seeking to improve their relationships and their lives. She excels at treating more than just the immediate symptoms, rather addressing the whole person and treating the underlying causes of distress. By using this comprehensive approach she is able to help her clients achieve lasting change rather than just a quick, temporary fix. Sometimes you need a private place to be yourself where you can freely discuss your life with someone who can offer an outside perspective and help you to make the changes you are seeking. Dr. Klein excels at providing such a place for her clients: somewhere they can feel completely safe and supported in their process of growth.