7 Ways to Stop Feeling Like a Failure When You’re Over 40

Your life took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. You never thought you’d feel like a failure over 40 – maybe your career is empty, your relationships disappointing, your heart broken because of a betrayal or loss. Maybe your family is expressing their disapproval or disappointment with you. Guess what? You are not alone…and your life isn’t even half over!

“I’ve always been bad with money, and it makes me feel like such a failure,” says Nicola on 7 Money Mistakes Women Keep Making – and How to Stop. “My dad keeps telling me I’m a 45 year old woman so I shouldn’t have so much credit card debt, I should be making more money, my husband should be more successful in his career. My dad is an accountant and that doesn’t help. He has his own business so you’d think I wouldn’t make so many money mistakes, but I do. How do I stop feeling so bad about myself?”

These tips on how to stop feeling like a failure when you’re over 40 will give you the encouragement and motivation you need to turn your life around…but only if you take action. It’s not what I say or what you read that makes a difference. It’s how you respond and what action you take.

What you do with this information is the only thing that’ll change you.

7 Steps to Stop Feeling Like a Failure as a Woman Over 40

Here’s a quick list of the seven tips:

  1. Decide that you will take action
  2. Plant seeds – but give yourself time to Blossom
  3. Define what “feeling like a failure” means to you
  4. Determine how much you’re controlled by what other people think
  5. Make a list of the top 3 reasons you feel like a failure
  6. Stop comparing yourself to other women over 40
  7. Decide who you will love and serve

These tips are for women over 40, because I’m a 47 year old woman who writes what she knows. Men over 40 might benefit from my advice — especially if they want to Blossom into the person God created them to be 🙂

But, women over 40, I am talking to you!

1. Decide that you will take action

There’s a huge difference between passively feeling like you’re a failure, and actively deciding that you’re ready to start doing something about these feelings! The internet gives us a gazillion options and distractions, and prevents us from actually living and making changes in our lives. The internet makes it easy to discard information – such as these ways to stop feeling like a failure when you’re over 40 – and just go on to the next shiny bauble.

Remember that your life is flying by, and NOW is the time to take action. Commit yourself. Decide that you’re tired of feeling like a failure, and you don’t want to leave your forties the same way you feel now. Set your mind on change, and change will happen.

2. Plant seeds – but give yourself time to Blossom

When was the last time a flower bloomed overnight? Have you ever seen a season change in an instant? Do seeds sprout in seconds? Of course not.

God created you for a purpose. He knew everything about you before you were even conceived. He has a plan for your life – and I can guarantee that His plan isn’t for you to continue feeling like a failure as a woman over 40! But even though He has good plans for your life, don’t expect them to drop into your lap today. It takes time for good plans to unfold, for flowers to bloom, and for you to Blossom into the woman God created you to be. You need to find the balance between moving forward and allowing God to guide your next step.

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If you’re struggling to figure out what your future holds, read 6 Practical Ways to Find God’s Call on Your Life.

3. Define what “feeling like a failure” means to you

Tell me: why do you feel like a failure? I listed a variety of reasons at the beginning of this article: maybe your job is empty or boring, your marriage a disaster, your children flown the coop, your relationship with the Creator dry and meaningless. Maybe you’re still single, or you can’t have kids, or you’re struggling with physical, mental, or emotional health issues.

Be honest about why you feel like a failure as a woman over 40. Admit the painful, ugly truth. You don’t have to share your deepest pains here — but you will find it healing! If you can admit why you’re feeling like a failure, you’re one step closer to turning your life around. Imagine that! A woman over 40, turning her life around. Conceivable!

4. Determine how much you’re controlled by what other people think

In her comment, my reader said she feels like a failure with money because of her dad the accountant. She’s a woman over 40 who is still getting her identity and image from her father…and not the right father! It’s one thing to get your identity and self-image from God, but if you buy into other people’s opinions of you, you will never measure up. Of course you’re feeling like a failure. You’re allowing yourself to be defined by the standards of other people.

Instead of feeling like a failure because of what others about you, decide for yourself how and where you failed. For example, you may feel like a failure because you’re a single woman over 40 without children. But do you feel like you failed because of other people’s judgments, or because of your own standards? Take time to think this through. Learn about yourself, develop some self-awareness and insight. That alone will help you stop feeling like a failure as a woman over 40.

5. Make a list of the top 3 reasons you feel like a failure

Here, you take my third tip on how to stop feeling like a failure (define what it means to you), and get down and dirty. Be specific! The more specific, the better.

Ways to Stop Feeling Like a Failure When You're Over 40

7 Ways to Stop Feeling Like a Failure When You’re Over 40

And, this is where you get even more brutally honest with yourself.

Are you hiding in an abusive marriage, pretending that you can’t leave because you don’t have enough money or your husband isn’t “that bad”? Are you bored in your career, or tired of taking care of your elderly parents? Maybe you feel like a failure because you’re weak, unmotivated, undisciplined, overweight, in financial debt. Write down your top 3 reasons for feeling like a failure as a woman over 40. Don’t list more than that, or you’ll want to jump off the nearest bridge.

6. Stop comparing yourself to other women over 40

Look at your list: how many of those reasons are change-able? I bet they all are. The only thing you can’t get back is the years you wasted feeling like a failure. But — even though you can’t get them back — you can redeem them. How? By moving forward and trusting God to work through you and turn those years of ashes into a Blossomy new you.

If you feel like a failure because you “can’t stop” comparing yourself to other women over 40, get a grip on your thoughts. You aren’t a baby; you CAN control what you think about. And, you can control how you feel because your thoughts rule your emotions! So when you find yourself comparing your failures to the achievements of women over 40, think about something else. Yes, you can do this — because you are not at the mercy of your thoughts! Your brain is smarter than that. Use it.

7. Decide who you will love and serve

Ah, my favorite way to stop feeling like a failure when you’re over 40: choose who you will love and serve. Who shall you choose? Hint: not a man, job, child, friend, volunteer role, or identity in anything but your Creator.

Have you tasted the freedom, joy, and peace of loving and serving Jesus? The sweet surrender of accepting His salvation, of allowing His power and grace to enter your heart? If not, it’s time to look into His life. You’ll never stop feeling like a failure – whether you’re over 40, 50, or 100 – if you keep chasing relationships, empty roles in society, money, possessions, or your appearance. The only true freedom is discovering who God created you to be, and allowing Him to help you Blossom into a woman whose life is rich, deep, and full.

What do you think? Are you willing to do the work it takes to stop feeling like a failure, and start Blossoming into a woman over 40 whose life is fulfilling and meaningful? Start with my first step, and work your way through the list. Comment below, tell me how you’re doing. Tell me why you feel like such a failure as a woman, and how you plan to start taking action.

If you want to change jobs – or go back to school – read What You Need to Know About Making a Career Change at 40.

Share your thoughts below - you won't be judged or criticized! I read every comment, but can't always respond personally.

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When You Miss Him Like Crazy - 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup! You miss him desperately right now, but you won't always feel this way. This warm, comforting ebook will give you the tools, encouragement and strength you need to move through the pain and start blossoming - today!

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6 thoughts on “7 Ways to Stop Feeling Like a Failure When You’re Over 40

  • Laurie Post author

    I wrote this article, to help single women stop feeling like a failure. It’s not easy to be single when you’d rather be in a relationship – and you feel like you’re “old”…but the only way to truly Blossom is to embrace this season of your life.

    7 Smart Ways to Adjust to Being a Single Woman Over 40

    Choose hope, life, and faith. Choose to Blossom!


    • Aeon Jiminy

      Thank you so much for this encouragement. Yes, it is difficult to reach this point in life and see opportunities begin to fade as I still find myself so completely alone. I feel like I’m always just a pit stop in so many men’s journey to love. I guess I help clarify what they are really looking for. Each day is a new day and I hold on to that and my animals.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Renee,
    Thank you for being here, and sharing some of your experiences with relationships. It sounds like you’ve loved and lost, and you feel like you haven’t been able to enjoy a successful relationship. I can feel your pain, especially since you never thought you’d still be single in your 40s. That’s a difficult season of life.
    I understand a little bit of your feelings – I never thought I’d be childless in my 40s, and it’s hard. It’s disappointing, too, because some dreams will never come true! I love God, too, and I don’t always understand what He’s doing. But I guess mine isn’t to understand…just to trust and know that He created us for a purpose. And, He loves us and wants the best for us. We just don’t always know what His best is, or when it’ll come to us 🙂
    Don’t give up hope for happiness, in whatever form it comes! It sounds like you’re successful in many ways, and feel like a failure in others. Don’t let the failures outweigh the successes. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy or dampen your spirits. Remember the good parts of your life, and hold on to the beauty and blessings God has given you! For they are many.
    How do you fill your life, now that your daughter isn’t around? What activities or groups are you involved in?

  • Renee

    I feel like a failure because although I am successful in my career and I raised my 21 year old
    Daughter by myself. I have never been married, engaged 3 times never married and I feel like I have failed at many relationships. It’s hard being 43 alone at this age and your daughter is never around. It’s hard knowing your ex fiancé married someone 5 months after we broke up. I never thought I would be single in my 40’s and I’m very lonely and sad. I love the Lord and I am a Christian but I still feel sad and alone.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thanks for being here, Edna!

    Remember that hindsight is 20-20, which means that we look back on those decisions with all the wisdom and knowledge of today….but when we were actually making the decision, we didn’t have all the information we possess now. So it can make us feel like a failure, but really we’re just human.

    And, it does make a difference when your husband leaves it all up to you. I don’t like it when my husband does that…and he does it more often than I’d like!

    How are you doing today?


  • Edna Nord

    I feel like I don’t use my head regarding common sense issues. I have looked back at some of my dumb mistakes and thought why was I so stupid. I am asking the Lord to give me more wisdom. I am not good at making decisions either and sadly I can’t rely on my husband to help me. When I ask him what should I do, he says “I don’t care do what you like” or he says “It’s all up to you”. I feel so much internal pressure because I feel all the decisions rests on my shoulders. He is a good man but he doesn’t like making decisions either so I make all the blunders. I wish I were smarter because I regret some of the decisions I have made.