I have been under a lot of stress for a long time now. After failing my law exams and despite a lot of effort, I have had to leave university. I know that I tried my best, but I have found it difficult to accept that I was not good enough. Because I have felt so ashamed and lost, I have kept my failure to myself up to now, hiding it from my friends and family.
My parents sacrificed a great deal in order to ensure my place at university to study law. It was always their dream for me. They will be massively disappointed in me when they find out. I know there is only so long that I am able to keep pretending that everything is okay. It has gotten to the point that I now struggle to sleep, I struggle to eat and I am unable to feel positive about myself as my confidence remains very low.
When I stop and think about it, I never really dreamed about a career in law. I guess I have not yet found what I am good at. That in itself causes a great deal of anxiety for me.
What can I do to make things better?
Thank you for your help,
The relationship that we each have with failure is incredibly complex and it is something that we will each face at various moments during our life time. Alongside our sense of failure are often feelings of guilt or shame. Guilt in the sense that we have not done enough or shame in the sense that we have let our self or indeed others down. My point being that failure is a part of life and it is perfectly normal for you to be experiencing the stress and anxiety that you have mentioned.
Significant life transitions often take us by surprise. Just because this particular path has not gone to plan, it does not mean that this is it for you. On the contrary, you have your whole life ahead of you. You are now in a position where you are free to make new choices, based not on the expectations of others, but on the expectations that you set for yourself. By the sounds of it, you were not passionate about your law studies. It was your family’s dream for you. Take some time to brainstorm what your dream is, what you are passionate about. What excites you? What do you feel to be important? What is going to make you happy?
Your health is also a priority right now. Your lack of sleep and poor appetite are clear cut indications that you need to prioritise your self-care. If you find that your sleeping or eating habits are not improving, or that your stress or anxiety levels remain heightened, it may be worth accessing some counselling support. Counselling will also allow you an opportunity to explore the way that you view yourself and in doing so, rebuild your self-confidence.
Your sense of failure will take time to heal. I know it is currently overwhelming, but it will get better. You will reflect on this point in your life and feel glad that you were able to shift your career path to something new and of your own intention.
I know it is hard, but the sad fact is that you cannot control the emotional reactions of your loved ones. Some people may be disappointed or angry with you. Let them be disappointed or angry. Let it fall at your feet. The perspectives of others can be consuming. It is crucial that you do not permit any negative responses to hinder you.
You are your best guide moving forwards. In time, people will understand the actions that you are taking. For now all that matters is that you feel that you are making the decisions that are best for you. Let this be a learning period for you, one that illuminates that it is okay to fail Francine.
You can and you will recover. Be strong and acknowledge that you are one step closer to your path, the one that is meant for you.
Take good care.
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