We all go through difficult seasons that seem to test every ounce of strength in us. Moments when regardless of how hard we try, we still can’t seem to win.
These seasons often leave us feeling so mentally and emotionally drained and just so defeated. If you’re looking for ways to learn how to overcome feeling defeated, I hope you find this post helpful.
After a year of hitting rock bottom, I thought that I was finally making progress and climbing out of the dark hole that I had fallen into but then life smacked me with all of these unexpected challenges that seemed to push me even further down that dark hole.
This huge setback left me feeling so exhausted, disappointed and frankly, it just made me feel so hopeless and defeated. It made me start believing that maybe life was never meant to get better for me and that everything in life will only ever go from bad to worse. The feeling of defeat became too much and I found myself paralyzed by the burden of it all.
It felt like all the hope and energy that I finally had seemed to slowly deteriorate under the weight of all these setbacks and new challenges. I know how easy it is to let the feeling of defeat consume us and let us believe that there’s just no point in trying anymore.
If you’re currently feeling this way, please know that regardless of how defeated you may feel right now, you have the power within you to turn your life around and change your situation. Please know that surrendering to defeat is not your only option.
You have what it takes within you to pick yourself back up, and try again. In this post, I will be sharing with you the steps that helped me navigate and overcome the feeling of defeat.
While these steps didn’t magically solve all my problems they did help me build the right mindset, and find the strength and resilience to keep fighting and keep pushing through. I hope that these steps will do the same for you!
How To Overcome Feeling Defeated
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
When we are struggling in life and feeling so defeated, most of us are guilty of choosing to run away from everything that we are feeling. I am definitely guilty of this.
Vulnerability was never my strong suit and when I was going through one of the most difficult seasons of my life, this only magnified my habit of suppressing everything that I was feeling. Instead of facing all my emotions head-on, I chose to bottle them up believing that this was the best thing to do.
At that time, I honestly believed that if I wanted to dig myself out of rock bottom and change my situation, the best thing to do was to focus all my attention and energy on finding solutions to my problems.
But over time, the weight of all the emotions that I was suppressing became too much that instead of helping me move forward, it just made every step towards progress even more difficult. This led me to realize that acknowledging and processing my feelings wasn’t a detour from solving my problems. They are actually an essential part of the journey towards finding a solution.
I’ve learned that emotions, even the most painful ones, can be indicators. They tell us where we are hurting, what matters to us, and what needs to change in our lives.
When I finally allowed myself to feel sad, scared, or even angry, it was like letting out a deep breath I didn’t know I was holding. While it didn’t solve my problems right away, it did make me feel lighter making it much easier for me to focus and be more productive.
We have to remind ourselves that letting ourselves feel and facing our emotions head-on doesn’t make us weak. It actually makes us stronger. It helps us understand ourselves better and find better ways to deal with our problems.
2. Avoid Comparisons
Avoiding comparison and focusing on our own journey is an important step in helping us learn how to overcome feeling defeated. In today’s world, I know how easy it is to look at others and feel like they are doing better. This is certainly what I felt.
When I was navigating my lowest point, it felt like everyone around me was just making all these huge improvements, achieving all these great successes and it seemed like they just had everything figured out, while I was still here, still trying to figure out how to move forward. This constant comparison only made me feel even more defeated.
And honestly, it just made me feel like I was a total failure. It made me start hating myself believing that regardless of how hard I tried, I just wasn’t good enough. At first, I actually believed that comparing myself to others would motivate and push me to work even harder.
But that wasn’t the case. Constantly comparing myself to other people just made me feel worse. This constant comparison didn’t fuel my motivation. It actually drained it. If you’re also guilty of doing this, please know that life isn’t a competition with others, regardless of what other people may suggest.
The success of others will never diminish your value and worth. Please know that your progress and journey are not going to be less valuable just because they are different from someone else’s. The best thing that we can do for ourselves, especially when we are going through a hard time, is to focus all our energy and attention on our own path and goals.
One of the things that really helped me avoid falling into the comparison trap is making a conscious effort to be more mindful of my time on social media and to only engage with content that inspired me, instead of making me feel inadequate.
Every time we catch ourselves comparing our lives to other people, let’s remind ourselves that our value and worth don’t rely on being better than others.
Here’s a great post that’ll help you learn how to stop comparing yourself to others by Better Up.
3. Set Realistic Goals And Expectations
If we want to learn how to overcome feeling defeated, we have to give ourselves permission to set realistic goals and expectations. I know that when we are going through difficult times, most of us have the tendency to want to solve everything all at once.
This is certainly what I felt. I wanted to turn my life around as quickly as I could. I wanted to move forward as fast as I could. So, I set all these unrealistic standards for myself believing that doing this would push me to work even harder and to be more motivated and focused. But what happened was the exact opposite.
Setting all these unrealistic goals and expectations just made life feel more overwhelming and every time I fell short of my unrealistic standards, it just made me feel even more defeated and honestly, it made me feel even more hopeless.
When we are going through challenging times, staying strong and keeping that motivation is not easy, and setting all these unrealistic standards for ourselves would only make things even more difficult for us to navigate. I’ve learned that setting realistic goals and expectations for ourselves doesn’t mean that we are settling for mediocrity or that we are not aiming high.
It just means that we are being honest and practical about what we can achieve right now. Doing this will actually help us stay more focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by goals and expectations that are too high to reach right now.
I’ve realized that setting realistic goals and expectations is not about limiting ourselves. It’s about growing in a way that is sustainable and kind to ourselves.
4. Recognize Your Efforts
It’s easy to take our efforts and hard work for granted, especially when everyday feels like we are being hit with one challenge after another. It’s crucial in difficult moments like these, to recognize and acknowledge all our efforts, no matter how small. Doing this not only boosts your confidence but also helps remind you of your strengths and capabilities, especially during times when progress seems slow and invisible.
Please don’t hesitate to thank yourself for showing up, for trying, for making it through another day and for all the steps, big and small, that you’ve taken towards your goal. I know that what you’re going through now is not easy and sometimes it may feel like regardless of how hard we try, we are still not making any progress.
But please know that every small step that you take every day and every time you choose to get out of bed and keep fighting is a testament to your strength and courage. I know it wasn’t easy but you’ve continued to persevere, that alone speaks volumes of your resilience and unyielding spirit.
Remind yourself that you are doing a wonderful job! You are doing the best that you can, that is more than enough. Give yourself a huge pat on the back. Know that your progress, even if it feels slow, is still progress.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
One of the most crucial steps that helped me learn how to overcome feeling defeated is learning how to offer myself grace, compassion, and understanding. I know that most of us are guilty of being our harshest critics. I certainly am.
For years, I was always guilty of being my worst critic and when I hit my rock bottom, this only seemed to magnify that habit.
I would constantly criticize myself for every little mistake believing that by relentlessly pushing myself, I would somehow overcome my weaknesses and achieve my goals.
I didn’t realize that by constantly criticizing myself, I was also slowly diminishing my confidence and self-worth. That habit did not fuel my motivation, it only made things even more overwhelming and it just made me feel more defeated.
It made me start doubting my abilities to the point that I started believing that maybe regardless of how hard I tried, things would never get better for me.
It just made me feel more hopeless. If you’re guilty of doing this too, please know that you deserve to give yourself the same amount of love, understanding, and kindness that you so freely give to your loved ones.
Know that what you’re going through now is not easy and constantly beating yourself up for every little mistake and flaw is only going to make things even more difficult.
Human as we are, we are all bound to stumble. We are all bound to make mistakes and to fail but that does not mean that we no longer deserve love, understanding and second chances.
I’ve learned that offering ourselves self compassion, especially when we are going through difficult times, does not mean that we are weak nor is it self indulgent.
It is certainly not about excusing our mistakes. It is simply about giving ourselves the space to learn and grow from them without excessive self judgement and criticism. It’s time to stop beating yourself up, and finally give yourself a safe space to heal, to reflect, and to move forward.
Doing this does not only lessen the feeling of overwhelm but it also makes us feel less defeated.
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6. Let Go Of What’s No Longer Serving You
Letting go of what’s no longer serving you is a crucial step in helping us learn how to overcome feeling defeated. Change has always been terrifying for me that is the reason why I have always chosen to hold on to what’s familiar and comfortable, regardless of how unhappy it makes me feel just because I feared the uncertainty and discomfort that come with new beginnings.
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve held on to situations, relationships, and jobs that were clearly no longer right for me, simply because I was afraid of the unknown.
When I was going through one of the most difficult seasons of my life, holding on to those things only kept me even more stuck. I’ve realized that my fear of letting go was actually keeping me from moving forward.
By choosing to cling to those things, habits, and mindsets that were no longer serving me, I was also adding more unnecessary stress and burden to my life, making me feel even more defeated and hopeless.
It was during this period that I realized the importance of letting go of what’s no longer serving our well-being, especially during difficult moments. I know that doing this is not always easy. We have to remind ourselves that letting go of those things doesn’t mean that we are giving up or that we are admitting defeat.
It means that we are giving ourselves permission to finally acknowledge the fact that often, in life, there will always be things that are no longer meant to be a part of our journey. It is about recognizing that our personal growth often requires us to release what is holding us back, even if it’s familiar and comfortable.
Doing this not only helps lighten the load that we carry but also opens us up to new possibilities.
7. Focus On The Present Moment
When we are going through difficult times, it’s so easy for our thoughts to spiral and to become consumed by the past or overwhelmed by the anxieties about the future. This can be paralyzing and honestly, allowing our thoughts to be consumed by so many what-ifs can create a cycle of worries and stress that’ll make us feel even more defeated and hopeless.
This is certainly what happened to me. I’ve allowed myself to dwell on all the problems the future may bring. I’ve let my thoughts be consumed by the endless possibilities of things going wrong, fixating on every potential setback and obstacle.
Doing this not only made facing every day even more difficult but it was also so mentally and emotionally exhausting that instead of actually focusing on the things that I could do now to improve my future, I was stuck and paralyzed, too overwhelmed by the weight of my own worries.
That’s why focusing on the present moment is not only crucial during difficult seasons, but it also acts as our anchor, keeping us grounded in reality. I’ve learned that focusing on the present moment doesn’t mean that we are ignoring the future or just leaving everything to chance.
It is about recognizing that the best way to prepare for it is by being fully engaged in the now. Doing this not only helped me break the cycle of anxiety and worry. It also allowed me a chance to step back and see my situation from a different perspective, one that is not ruled by fear but with a sense of hope.
8. Set Clear Boundaries
How many times have you spread yourself too thin just because you were so afraid to disappoint other people? How many times have you said yes when you really wanted to say no? I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve done this.
For the longest time, I have always been so flexible with my time and energy with other people, especially the ones closest to me. It didn’t really matter how exhausted I was or what I was going through, I still said yes to everything they asked.
You see, growing up, I was made to believe that my worth was tied to my achievements and to how useful I was to other people.
I took that belief with me and for the longest time, I’ve prioritized their needs and requests over my own health and even happiness, believing that this is what it meant to be a good friend, a good family member, and a good partner.
I thought that doing this would mean that I was finally enough and worthy of love. When I was navigating a painful season of my life, I was grieving, I was broken and buried in so much debt, and yet regardless of how drained I already felt, I’ve still continued to stretch myself too thin for them.
This just made everything more difficult and it was so draining and exhausting for me.
If you’re also guilty of doing this just to feel that you are worthy and enough, I want you to know that your worth and value are never going to be defined by how much you do for others or by your achievements. Your worth is inherent.
You are enough just as you are now. I’ve learned that setting boundaries is not going to make you a bad person.
This doesn’t mean that you love them any less just because you’re saying no and prioritizing your needs. It means that you’re finally respecting your own limits and recognizing that you, just like anybody else, deserve care and consideration too.
So, please don’t hesitate to communicate your needs and limits clearly, especially when you are navigating difficult seasons or challenging situations.
9. Practice Forgiveness ( To Others And To Yourself )
I think practicing forgiveness has always been easier said than done. Right? I mean, regardless of how many times we say it, it still doesn’t make it easier every time that we do it and often, the most difficult thing that we can ever do is to offer ourselves forgiveness.
I know how this feels. Growing up, I was deeply hurt by the people that I love and the people that were supposed to make me feel loved and safe.
I was constantly made to feel that I was nothing if I wasn’t achieving great things or being useful to other people. I was made to feel small and someone who was never enough for everyone.
I carried so much resentment for them and I took that with me as I grew older. I thought that as long as I was holding on to that anger, I was protecting myself from being hurt again.
But when I hit my rock bottom, I realized that holding on to that anger and resentment was like carrying a heavy burden that weighed me down, kept me so unhappy and defeated, and prevented me from truly living.
Because the reality is that holding onto grudges and resentments only really prolongs our suffering and it can only negatively impact our mental health. It was through navigating a challenging period in my life that I finally learned that forgiveness is not about minimizing the wrong that they have done or invalidating the pain that they have caused us.
It is about choosing to finally set ourselves free from the pain of the past and allow ourselves to truly heal and move forward. It is about choosing peace and self compassion over continued suffering.
And if you also struggling to forgive yourself, if you’re constantly blaming yourself for being stuck in this challenging season, please know that you deserve the same forgiveness and compassion that you extend to others. Doing this does not mean that you are excusing your mistakes or minimizing their impact.
It is about acknowledging your mistakes and their consequences while also recognizing your capacity to change and grow.
10. Be Patient
Being patient is crucial in helping us learn how to overcome the feeling of defeat. I know that when life gets hard or when life feels overwhelming, we often want quick solutions or instant relief from our pain and difficulties.
I certainly did. Every time I felt like I wasn’t making any progress in improving my life or if I hadn’t reached a particular goal in my specific timeline, I would become so frustrated and broken-hearted. I wanted immediate results, and when I didn’t see them, it only fueled my sense of defeat.
However this type of mindset did not help me in any way, it only made everything so much more difficult and honestly, it just made me feel even more hopeless. This made me realize that true progress takes time. We have to be patient with ourselves and with the process.
We have to remind ourselves that growth, change, and healing are often gradual. This is not something that we can do overnight. This doesn’t mean that we are not doing enough or that we are not good enough. It simply means overcoming challenges is a journey.
One that is not straightforward. It is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The best thing that we can do is to be patient, stay committed to our goals, and just keep going.
I know that learning how to overcome feeling defeated is a deeply personal thing. What works for one may not work for another and that’s perfectly okay. The important thing is to find the strategies that resonate with you and align with your goals and values.
As you navigate this challenging period of your life, please know that you have the inner strength to overcome any challenges that come your way. I know that the feeling of defeat may make you think otherwise but please remember that you’ve overcome difficulties before and you can certainly do it again.
Believe in your strength, in your resilience, and in your courage. Always remember that setbacks are not the end of the road, they are just momentary detours, keep going and please never forget that there are people who care about you and want to see you succeed. Know that I’m always rooting for you!