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What to Do When You Are On the Verge of Giving Up

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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

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Jenna R

Feeling like I never got a career. I became a hairstylist but jumped jobs a lot. Burned out on it now. I am looking for work, but can’t seem to find something. Recent job at a thrift store, the place was so dirty I had to leave. I would like to open my own business, but not sure how. Had a big falling out w my mom over my daughter after divorcing. My mom became attached to her and I didn’t have the resources and my daughter stayed with her. My step dad was always a jerk. I try to… Read more »

Pamela L Basye

Im 55 woman recently disabled yet denied SSDI. I have 2 teenage girls. No income. Living with a man that no longer wants me and wants us out of his house but I have no where to go and no hope of an income and no family or friends to lean on.
I want to give my girls to their father and run away alone somewhere far so they don’t realize I’m homeless. From there? I don’t know.

Linda

Dear Pamela, I am 61, disabled (I did get SSI, but is was a long, hard process — years in the making) — just keep trying, you WILL succeed. Find a good lawyer but study the books (NOLO is great!) for yourself, too, and do what you KNOW is right, which is not necessarily what the lawyer tells you to do. I have no children, but there will come a day when the girls support you (emotionally) and give you strength. My man fell in love with another woman — a good person, truly — and I let them go… Read more »

Dani

Just tired of “trying”

meaningless piece of shit

i dont think im gonna make it

Lady

Parents are dead. Alone with no spouse. Social anxiety so I cant communicate with others well enough to hold down a job. Don’t fit anywhere. Its a mess. Just want to be a hermit but cant afford any land anywhere. Yet am tired of struggling to fit into society. Im midage and im quite tired of everything now. Just would LOOOOOOOVE something good to happen. Just a break.

Suchia

I feel like shit almost everyday for wanting people approval on almost everything. Sometimes, i just don’t know what to do, it such a bad feeling… it’s just crazy.

Linda

Suchia, I’ve been driven by people approval my whole life (I’m 61 and disabled, but still taking that next step)– What I realized is that I will NEVER stop — right now I’m cleaning my kitchen cabinets doors — which haven’t been cleaned in 35 years — grubby!! yuck!! I know I will NEVER be perfect — and realized that perfection is way highly overrated, anyway. I hold to one truth. I am a GOOD person. And I CAN never give up. It’s just not in me. So I might as well accept the life that I’ve been given. I… Read more »

Rije

I feel so overwhelmed and alone…married with 2 kids under 4, full time student , work full time, house chores and a partner who’s a good dad but not proactive….barely making ends meet, I pay college fee from out of pocket, have to drive Uber when kids sleep and not in school, have to pay bills , I’m emotionally drained and I’m soo far from where I imagined my life….

Nikki

I feel like ending it all but I’m gonna keep pushing and thriving to go on in life

Ms.Calhoun

My life is not where I want to be right now bad thing after bad things keep happening no matter how hard I Pray I am trying not to give up

Silindile

I feel you, I am at that point in my life right now.

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