Feeling defeated or discouraged? Here’s how to work through it.
Confessions of a Life Coach
Defeat, I type with a sigh. Today, I feel defeated. I’m full of “I can’t” and quiet despair.
It’s topics like these that are more difficult for me to speak of, personally, as a life coach. I often feel like I need to portray a persona of “having it all together.” Of having it figured out. Well, in my growth, in my ongoing recovery from being a lifelong perfectionist, I am learning just how damaging that thought process has been.
So, do I have life figured out? No. And, none of us does. It’s a connecting factor for us humans. And, I’ve embraced that me sharing my stories is what stands to create connection. It fosters relatability. It allows someone else do say, “Oh, thank goodness, I thought it was just me. Phew.” It’s not just you, we’re in this together.
It’s going to happen
Okay, back to it. Defeated, that’s what brought me to write this post. We are all subject to emotions. To feelings. And, as many systems as we have in place, as optimistic, hopeful, or grateful as we can be…life happens. And life is a beautiful mess.
Defeat will happen. Feeling defeated will happen. When in spaces like this, have you ever had someone say, “Look at the bright side.” Or, “Oh, cheer up, it’ll get better. Everything is fine.” These are well-intended comments. And oh-so-not-helpful.
Processing defeat and discouragement
Here’s how I process this feeling of being defeated and “I can’t.” “Survival” is in the awareness and processing.
Give yourself permission to feel it
I give myself permission to feel it. I don’t will it away. I don’t bury it. I give it space. Why? Because it’s serving a purpose for me. It’s alerting me to something. I honor its presence and see it for what it is. I validate it.
I create an environment of self-compassion. I try to give myself the same kindness that I would give to a friend. How would I sit with a friend at a time like this? How would I talk to the child version of myself about this? I give myself the same grace that I would extend. Self-compassion.
Drop the stories
While I give myself permission to feel the feeling, I do not give myself permission to tell stories or catastrophize. Instead, I acknowledge that the “darker” spaces I’m letting my mind reach to, to dramatize, to catastrophize, are…stories. They are not reality.
Lean into your routines
I lean into my routines. And what I’ve learned. “Doing the work” for self -awareness and -growth is difficult work. And within the work, I have embraced self-care. This has allowed me to create routines like exercise, meditation, journaling, grounding, hobbies, and affirmations. I lean into my routines because I know I will thank myself for it. Also, I review videos or lessons that connect me to my awareness and growth. I rely on my foundation.
Remember, this will pass
I understand that this will pass. Hard feelings are hard. But, like I’ve posted before, “On particularly rough days, when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure more, I remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days has been 100%. And that’s pretty good.” I remind myself of impermanence. Everything changes. Feelings float in and out like clouds pass through the sky. I use my tools to endure and know that this will pass.
Visualize and take one small step
And, if I have it in me, I visualize and take small step forward. It’s important to understand your capacity for “doing the work” and I only do this last exercise if I feel I can lean into it. In a meditation of maybe 10 minutes, I close my eyes and quiet my mind. I start with deep breathing and then begin to visualize how I’d like to feel. If nothing was in my way, how would I like to feel? I continue to meditate on that thought. Immediately after, I think of one small step I can take towards that feeling. An important note, I don’t force or judge myself in the process. I’m not aiming to change or transform myself in an instant.
An example: Perhaps in meditation, I determine that I simply would like to feel calm. I hear the word, calm, and I feel at ease. I meditate on what feeling calm would do for me and it releases some tension I’m storing in my body. After meditation, I ask myself, “How can I take a small step towards that feeling? How can I embody “calm”?” I answer, “By being present.” I decide that my affirmation, or word of the day will be, Present. To be with my current moment, to not carry the past forward, to not concern myself with future moments. Instead, I will be intentional in the energy I’m applying to my present moment.
As I conclude the writing of this post, I note that it was helpful for me. It was helpful for my processing of this feeling of defeat (similar to journaling). I can only hope that it reaches at least one person who benefits from what this process might do for them.
Instead of perfection, instead of “having it all together,” I have embraced a commitment. That commitment has everything to do with honoring my authenticity. To bringing my light with me wherever I go. To shining that light so brightly that, as a coach, I connect with those who could most benefit from my coaching to allow their light to shine more brightly, too.