How To Overcome Failures & Rejections.

7 Ways To Overcome Self-Limiting Thoughts To Your Progress in 2024.

Dipo Adebayo
New Writers Welcome


Jack Ma, I failed

Whenever you want to take a major step to move your life forward, do you get thoughts like this that hold you back:

“What makes you think you can do that? Are you out of your mind? What will people say if you fail, why bother trying? Save yourself the shame. You failed the last time, you'll fail again. You are a loser, you will lose again.”

Let’s look at 7 ways to overcome these negative thoughts that hinder our progress:

1. Discover Where It Started.

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Sometimes these dark thoughts did not originate from you; they are echoes of negative words someone you respected or loved said to you, maybe your parent or a friend. Maybe they told you that you are no good, or you will never amount to much.

Maybe you came from a troubled home and were never encouraged, but rather your parents were quick to criticize you. Or perhaps, in school, no matter how hard you tried to be liked, your peers always found fault in you and you never really accepted you.

These things can make us think there must be something wrong or undesirable about us and can make us overly self-critical in adult life, leaving us with that sense of inadequacy, of "I never have what it takes to achieve the things I desire. I am never enough"

When we discover the painful experiences that led to our frequent self-defeating thoughts, we need to regularly remind ourselves that those experiences are NOT a true reflection because sometimes, people do not judge us as we are, but as THEY are, therefore, we don’t need to keep standing in the shadow of self-doubt they cast on us.

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Sometimes, we need the help of a therapist or counselor to go back in time to find the painful experiences that led to our poor self-image or critical thoughts and help us make sense of them and be free of the negative mental grip they have on us, and replace the negative mindsets they taught us with more positive ones

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

2. Change Your Self-Talk.

Let’s say that as a child, your friends regularly called you a “failure” or “loser." That word may replay over and over again in your mind even when no one calls you a loser. If you do not restrain it, you may believe you are indeed a loser and it will become your identity in your adulthood.

That’s because we tend to believe the things we consistently tell ourselves; Who we regularly say we are often becomes how we define ourselves (or our identity).

Now here’s the thing with identity: it’s hard to move past how you see yourself. Even if you dream lofty goals, if you see yourself as a failure, a voice in your mind will discourage you by telling you that you will never achieve those dreams.

To change this negative inner voice (or inner critic), replace it with an empowering affirmation, for example: "(Insert Your Name), I am a success. I have what it takes to achieve this. I will not hold back. I will give this my best effort. I will ask for help when I am stuck. With God on my side and depending on Him every step of the way, I WILL WIN!"

Say and believe this affirmation until it changes how you see yourself and makes you feel better about yourself. It’s essential that you speak it, and not only think it; you fight negative thoughts, not only with positive thoughts, but also with positive words.

If you keep telling yourself empowering affirmations that tell you the truth about who you are, you will eventually believe them, and once you have the right identity or view of yourself, then you are on your way to achieving your goals.

If you need the greatest archive of Life-Giving & empowering affirmations that tell you the truth about who you are and promises that give you hope, peace of mind, and wisdom on how to properly respond to troubling life situations, dive into the Bible. and stay there until it changes how you think and feel about yourself.

3- Don't Let Failure Define You— Keep Trying.

I failed, by Jack Ma.

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Failure empowers your inner critic. After you’ve failed a few times, you are more likely to doubt your ability to succeed. This is why you must not let your failures define you. The fact that you’ve failed several times, does not make you a failure.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to keep trying as many times as it takes to achieve some really important things.

That’s a secret of many achievers; some repeatedly had massive failures, but they pressed on, learned from their failures, and used those lessons as stepping stones to success.

Hear from Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba and one of the wealthiest men in the world:

"...I failed a key primary school test twice. I failed three times for the middle schools. For 3 years, I tried and failed in the universities. So I applied for jobs 30 times, got rejected. I went to even KFC when they came to China. 24 people went for the job, 23 people accepted. I was the only one who got rejected. I applied for Harvard, for 10 times, rejected. I think we have to get used to rejection. The only thing. Never Give up."

Let’s face it. Sometimes, failures hit hard, and it could be really difficult motivating yourself back up. That’s where friends can be helpful. Call friends that care about you, tell them your struggle, and let them encourage and counsel you. (More on this in the 5th point)

P.S. We can reduce our failures if we read books and learn from those wiser and more experienced than us in an area.

4. Talk to a Mental Health Therapist.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

If you consistently talk down on yourself and see yourself in a horrible light and it’s causing you distress and undermining your quality of life, please see a counselor, psychologist or a mental health doctor (psychiatrist).

Just like you go to a doctor when you have a sickness in your body, consider seeing a therapist when you frequently don’t feel well in your mind or emotions.

5. Immortalise Your Journey.

Write key moments in your life’s journey:

— Moments you succeed
—Lessons you learn,
—Special experiences or life seasons you don’t want to forget
—Moments you are grateful for,
—Breakthroughs or Testimonies you have had.
—Progress you make (no matter how small),
—Your dreams & goals, etc.

Whenever negative thoughts overwhelm you, your journal will encourage you; it will remind you how far you’ve come, the special experiences you’ve had, vital lessons learned, the victories won, & the bright future ahead of you.

P.S And who knows, one day you can decide to compile it all into a biography that others will benefit from long after you’re gone.

6. Call a friend.

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Sometimes, it’s really hard to rise above the wave of negative thoughts on our own, we need someone to help us out, someone who can speak the truth of ourselves that we can’t see anymore or don’t believe. And the right friends can be terrifically good at this.

Next time you are struggling, call a trusted friend, brother, parent, aunty, mentor, pastor, etc. Even if it’s been long since you both spoke, still reach out. Tell them you are struggling.

Don’t feel like you’re a burden to them, you’re not. If a person cares about you, what will really be a burden to them is if you are suffering and they don’t know until you make a serious mistake or it’s too late. Today, reach out to that friend, don’t overthink it, just do it.

7. Pray.

Photo by Fa Barboza on Unsplash

Sometimes, when our minds are in disarray, a simple prayer can quieten our thoughts and give us clarity.

Try this prayer: "God, I’m struggling, see me through this difficult season. Help me see myself the way You see me. Thank you because I have received what I ask. Amen."

To get the most results out of prayer, make it not just a one-off thing for when something’s wrong, but rather, make it a lifestyle. Making prayer a daily habit can give us peace, restore our confidence, change our self-talk, heal emotional wounds, change how we see ourselves, and make it easier to bounce back from failures.

I’d love to hear from you: Which of these 7 ways will you try out? Do you have any questions or comments? And what other ideas do you think can help overcome self-defeating thoughts?

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Hi. I’m Dipo Adebayo, I write, speak and train on soft skills and overcoming limiting emotions such as anxiety, fear, failure, rejection, the feeling of not-being-good-enough, self-defeating thoughts, low self-esteem, doubt etc.

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Dipo Adebayo
New Writers Welcome

I am a water engineer, softskills coach, writer & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo