Many of us compete in some form or another, and on some level or another. Some of us compete in various sports, some of us compete in our workplace to win better positions, clients or new contracts, and some simply compete in various types of games. Regardless of the competition, when we have defeated our opponent, we get to hold our head high in the winner’s circle. But, when it is us who get defeated, we just want to escape and attract as little attention as possible.
This is generally short-lived however. We soon get over the disappointment of our loss. We pick ourselves up, dust off, and get back to it. After all, it was just a game. Sure, next time you see the person who won against you, you can be sure they will remember their victory, as will you. But, chances are good that their victory will be short-enjoyed because you now realize where you went wrong and what you need to do to take the win next time. But, what happens when this isn’t a game? What happens when you become defeated by circumstances in your own life?
This is very common. We strive to accomplish our goals and become something great. We have an idea of where we think we ought to be by a certain age. But, when we fall short of these goals, we can become defeated; all by ourselves. If this happens often enough, in a short period of time, we start to have too much negative experience that turns into ammunition that we start aiming, and ultimately, firing at ourselves. At this point, it doesn’t take long to spiral downwards into depression. In time, this will lead us to lose our will to remain competitive.
How do we get to a point of being self-defeated?
This downward spiral is a combination of many things and although we could get off this ride at any moment, we often stay on right to the bottom. Why though? Don’t we see what is happening? Maybe, but it is possible that we don’t know how to find the exit.
For the sake of this article, and to further explain my thought, I am going to form a word; compound-failures. I am using this because it is generally exactly what happens to get us to the point of utter defeat. We try something, and it fails. Then we try something else, and it fails too. Then we do something stupid, at least in our opinion; add that to the pot now.
Then, because our mood is low, or off, we snap at our spouse, or our boss. Now we are in a situation with them. This is the compounding effect. Now, not only do we have failures on our plate, but, we have emotions getting us in trouble too. Say our boss didn’t like our little explosion, or lack of respect towards them and he tells you to pack up and head out. Suddenly, we can’t cover our bills. Now that all these things have taken place, we are in a poor frame of mind. We don’t feel like doing anything else, so, we don’t. Last stop of the ride; depression.
Giving up doesn’t stop the pain
At this point, we don’t want to try anything else. The chance of failure is so great that we decide that if we don’t try, we can’t fail. Although this is self-destructive, it starts to feel safe. But, it’s far from safe. Now we have many other things at risk.
Trying to maintain a healthy marriage while depressed is basically impossible. If you don’t feel like doing anything constructive in your own life, how are you supposed to be excited and loving and supportive of your spouse about the things going on in their life? How long will they want to be around you in this condition? How about work; can you consistently go to work depressed? Is the boss and co-workers okay with you dragging your feet around and operating at half-throttle?
I realize that when we have too many failures in life and we get into a mode of depression, beating ourselves up starts to feel good. It is our way of punishing ourselves. But, we don’t see the real cost of this behavior.
We are jeopardizing the good that is still in our lives. Our marriage is a win. Our job is a win. And, our friends are a win. We can start to lose these things due to our condition and then these become failures that will just add to the pile.
Okay, so how do I find the exits on this downward spiral ride of defeated-living?
What we need to realize is that we CAN get off this ride at any time. When the first thing goes wrong, we can handle it in a way that is constructive. We don’t have to absorb the blow and line up for the next one. We can look for a way to try again to overcome it, or we can suppress any chances of success by becoming depressed. It is simply a mindset and we must make a choice of the direction we want to take this.
Here are a few things that I must realize and do when I get defeated to avoid further damage and depression:
1. Understand that not everything will be instant success
Sometimes we get it in our minds that when we try something, the outcome is the final answer. If we fail, then we believe that we are no good at it and shouldn’t try again. Where do we get the idea that we should succeed on the first time, every time? If we can learn that we might not be victorious on the first try, then we won’t be overly frustrated with ourselves in the event that it goes this way. We will be more likely to accept defeat and try again.
2. The choice is ours to remain defeated
When we lose, or fail at something, we have a choice to try again or give up. Depression is a choice as it is up to us to choose to be pro-active and find solutions for our problems or give in and not try at all. We can have all the best people around us as possible feeding us compliments or offering support, but, it comes down to our own decision to accept the help and work towards climbing out of a depressed state.
3. Get around a positive influence
When we do finally decide that we want to get out of depression, it is necessary to immerse ourselves in a positive atmosphere. This could be people we know, support groups, churches, workshops and seminars on positive living and even online motivational speakers.
By spending enough time around these people, we start to also think in a positive way. Through this, we can start to notice opportunity again and find new motivation to try. By bouncing ideas off other people too, we can start to come up with creative ways to try new things or different ways to attempt what we previously failed at.
4. Try something new
There is a familiar saying that many attributed to Albert Einstein; “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.”
Regardless of who said it, it is one of the truest statements out there. If we are trying to succeed in life and keep coming up short, it is time to try something new. We need to look at the steps we took and the results we got and modify them when we try again. What we should get from our failures is knowledge and wisdom. Every experience we have is a lesson, and we should look at it this way and embrace it as such.
Living life is sometimes difficult. Living defeated is much more difficult. But, there are ways to overcome this way of living and get back on track. Be aware of your emotions, stress levels, and overall state of being, and don’t let yourself get worked up. Often, it is us who gets us worked up the most.
Realize that you have a choice to allow yourself to get defeated to the point of depression and that by being pro-active in looking for positive solutions early on can help keep you on the right path. Even when certain things in your life aren’t going the way you hoped, start looking for the things that are good in your life and enjoy those while you create a new plan of attack.