When we have a sense of failure in dreams this may be highlighting depression or spiritual frustration. Such a feeling may indicate, before we are consciously aware of it, that we have not come up to our own expectations and feel we have let others down.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
Material aspects: Personal failure in a dream indicates a degree of competitiveness and will also highlight different ways of operating in everyday life. Failure in a dream is not necessarily personal. If, for instance, lights fail or refuse to work, we need to be aware of a lack of energy, power or enthusiasm around us.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
For a lover, this is sometimes of contrary significance.
To dream that he fails in his suit, signifies that he only needs more masterfulness and energy in his daring, as he has already the love and esteem of his sweetheart.
(Contrary dreams are those in which the dreamer suffers fear, and not injury.) For a young woman to dream that her life is going to be a failure, denotes that she is not applying her opportunities to good advantage.
For a business man to dream that he has made a failure, forebodes loss and bad management, which should be corrected, or failure threatens to materialize in earnest. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
Example: I was in a race riding a horse but couldn’t get to the staning gate in time.
The others were way ahead of me jumping the fences. I couldn’t catch up, and one fence I came to grew to a huge height and was like a steel barrier. I couldn’t get over it and felt a failure’ (Ron S). Ron had not done well at school, had not taken any particular training, had no steady relationship or children. In his late 20s, Ron looked at his friends, married with families and steady jobs, and felt a failure. From the dream he realised he was viewing life as a competitive race to succeed. This was stopping him from following his real interest, psychotherapy, which his family viewed as playing games. He could ride his horse into the fields and explore. He did, by going to Amenca, training, raising a family.
In general, failure indicates comparison; competitiveness; it sometimes depicts alternatives—failure is the alternative to success. So the failure might be ‘because’. See Is there a because factor in the dream? in dream processing; falling. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
1- Failure in a dream may not necessarily be personal. If, for instance, lights fail or refuse to work, we may need to be aware of a lack of energy or power. Personal failure can indicate a degree of competitiveness or can offer alternatives in the way we need to act.
2- The fear of failure is an almost universal fear, and to dream of failure may give us the opportunity to face that fear in an acceptable way.
3- Depression or spiritual frustration.
The failure we may feel at the hands of a greater power.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
A lover who dreams that he fails to win the consent of a girl to be his wife wili do well to pursue his suit with much more energy than heretofore, for if he does he will win her love and esteem.... The Complete Dream Book
Dreams of failing are common recurring dreams: failing an examination, getting your words wrong when making a speech in public, missing a train, etc.
Such dreams may stem from childhood fears of punishment / withdrawal of love and reflect a continuing self-programming for failure-anxiety.
If so, you need to distinguish two kinds of perfectionism: first, the sort that causes constant striving for unrealistic goals - this is a neurotic form of perfectionism; and secondly, aiming at being true to yourself, with a readiness to respond positively to inner promptings towards a fuller embodiment of your ideal self, but also with a readiness to accept and love yourself as you are. Your standards, like your clothes, should fit you.
Above all, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed and crippled by past failures. Instead, stay in the present, and don’t accept a continual reiteration of ‘can’t5 from yourself: ‘can’t5 usually means ‘won’t5, and Svon’t5 comes from something in your unconscious that needs to be brought into your consciousness (see Childhood Recollections, sections (1) and (2)).... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols
Fear of failure can derive from your childhood, when you used to get scared of punishment or of being unloved by someone. In general, failure is a recurring theme in dreams and has different oneiric expressions. Sometimes we get stuck in what we do wrong instead of directing our life towards what we are capable of doing.
In the past, this dream had opposite meaning: it predicted success. Similarly, success in dreams predicted failure.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
Dreaming about failing, in school or in some task, may simply be an expression of anxiety (i.e., it is not a sign predicting that someone will fail). People who regularly dream of failing are often perfectionists.... Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia
Failure themes can occur in dreams about missing trains, muddling words, losing a race or game, or failing an examination. Very often a sense of failure arises in a dream because you have been comparing yourself with someone or something else in some way. It is therefore helpful to consider exactly what comparisons mean or provide. You may also have been feeling some level of competitiveness. Alternatively, failure in dreams might not be interpreted as a lack of energy or power, if, for example, cars fail to start or lights fail to work. Fear of failure often originates in childhood and stems from fear of punishment by parents or carers or the withdrawal of love and this fear can linger into adulthood.
If your dreams often feature themes of failure or missed opportunities, instead of focusing on what is wrong with your life, try to lay more emphasis on what is right whilst ridding yourself of the negative ‘glass half empty’ perspective on life. Losing a race in your dream, especially if you were pipped at the post, indicates the frustration and sometimes humiliation of realizing the limits of your potential.... The Element Encyclopedia