Do you ever feel so stuck and hopeless that you just want to give up? When we are in a state of anticipating failure, the mind can play tricks on us. Here are a few counterproductive thoughts to listen for when all feels futile. With each negative thought to look out for, we offer mind-shifting strategies that can help you emerge from disorienting darkness into daylight.
“I can’t do this.”
Keep going. Don’t get sucked into thinking that you’ll be in this dark place forever. You will reach the proverbial Promised Land (whether it’s that final, beautiful piece of art, or that feeling of breathing easy once again). The secret is to just keep going. Forge ahead. The only way out is through. In fact, if you stay focused and push through, your “low” will likely give way to new creative heights, new insights, and new opportunities.
“This is overwhelming.”
Divide and conquer. Think specific. Think of whatever you’re going through as a particular, isolated issue, not a huge, pervasive one. That will make it feel manageable and make it easier to tackle in a practical way. Untangle one tangle at a time.
“I’m a failure.”
Don’t personalize. The real enemy is not your problem; it’s your ego. Just because you’re confronting this one bad thing doesn’t mean you’re a total mess of a person and your entire life is a failure. Don’t allow your adversary to become your identity. Just because someone didn’t like your voice and your piece of art doesn’t mean that no one ever will. Don’t take failure or rejection personally—it’ll suck the resolve right out of you. Don’t beat yourself up for your failures (yes, self-deprecation is also ego). And if you can’t solve the problem yourself, get out of the way even more and ask others and/or a Higher Power for help.
So what should you do when you’re on the verge of giving up? Don’t. Persist toward your goal. As the old proverb goes, “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”
Go deeper into this subject: Your Guide to Personal Freedom: Counting the Omer Week 4 | Are You Driven? | The Only Way Out is Through | The Difficult Lamb