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


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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6 years ago

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

Miguel Lotriet
2 years ago
Reply to  Ms.Calhoun

Honestly I can definitely relate i feel so alone and I feel like I’m in such a dark place right now i am struggling financially and emotionally and I just don’t see a way out of this hole

5 years ago
Reply to  Ms.Calhoun

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

6 years ago

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

5 years ago

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….

5 years ago

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.

4 years ago
Reply to  Suchia

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 might as well accept it — and make the best of it. And when I do that — just breathe in the peace that’s here and breathe out the fear that’s here — well, it seems to get better. I can only let you know you ARE loved. You know, there are people who just think about you — or someone like you — and LOVE you? That’s just true, my friend. And I KNOW that because that someone who loves you — or someone like you — is ME.
And I know I’m not alone. There are just a lot of us out here. So reach out, say hello and you’ll be surprised that the person who next looks you in the eyes and says hello back — they do love you — You’ll be fine, my friend. Truly. You are loved.

5 years ago

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.

meaningless piece of shit
5 years ago

i dont think im gonna make it

5 years ago

Just tired of “trying”

Pamela L Basye
5 years ago

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.

4 years ago
Reply to  Pamela L Basye

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 and get married, no fight, no disagreement. And now I am lonely and sometimes so very sad. It’s brought me strength, though. I do NOT know how, but I DO know! I will survive. (My trick is to breathe in peace and breathe out fear — I can go for hours doing that and yes, it’s worth it!) I know I definitely will not starve, and I will always find a way because I know ONE thing — I AM a GOOD person. And Pamela, I’ve never met you, but I know you, too are a GOOD person. We are rare, precious beings, but we are GOOD! And we can stick to that as a certainty. (As my mom would say, that and a dime will get you…. a good person. 🙂 )
I would never have met you here if you were not a good person, Pamela, do I KNOW you are! Took a lot for me to open my heart to the strength that is here, You, my dear, will never be homeless. It may look like you do not have a home — but you will always have a home — so many people love you — and with each of those people, you have a home. Truly. You are a GOOD person. Hold to that certainty. All my love, Linda.

Jenna R
4 years ago

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 stay positive, but some days I just get really down. Not feeling motivated to even take a simple job. Feel smart but lost in life. I wonder how do people survive in life. Having a nice home and getting along with family. I just feel like this is so special and I wish this was my life. I’m probably making things sound worse then they are. I am just really down today.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jenna R

Just think that you are in a dark tunnel right now, but sooner or later you will finally see the light. Just hold on. Better days are coming.

Jenna J Roquemore
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay

Thanks. I hope so.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jenna R

i want to help but im just as lost as u

Jenna R.
4 years ago
Reply to  pamee

I wish I could help others too. It’s hard to help others when u are struggling yourself. Hopefully in time things get bettrr. Things are kind of a mess still. I am just taking things day by day.

Jon Doe
4 years ago

I’m Jon Doe I’ve grew up with a drug addict mother and abusive father. My mother finally died after her her 8th overdose and my father felt great guilt. For throwing me out on the street and toughing me up to wear brushes and broken bones felt as normal as a cold breeze. Father decided to blow half his head off with a 40 caliber Luger square on the right side.
Well what was left of it for so long and being put in a box too on the street. If above all else it was a common trip to the funny barn. I still find the tragic an anguish the norm but I still can’t find a light. I feel most people find me scary cause it’s hard to blend in a society I was never part of. I’m 26 years old I guess the only funny thing I can say is. I survive but can any one paint a picture of what it’s like to live or what normal looks like.

4 years ago
Reply to  Jon Doe

What a great story of yours. You’re a brave soul.

4 years ago

I feel like giving up too. Twenty nine years old, no one to help, having a dead end job with a low income and having to endure constant problems, also, being a frontliner on this plague pandemic. Emotionally drained.

3 years ago

It’s some of my family members they laugh of what has happened to me I can’t take it no more
They bully me I want to live with my big sister but my mom doesn’t let me I’ve been in a car accident left with a scar and nothing happened to my Other family members I looked at myself in the mirror and started crying weeks passed and one of my family members made a joke about it a couple days ago I got a panic attack and now they are making fun of me for it
Sometimes i just can’t go on no more
Then bulling me has been on going since I was a little kid
I’ve never hurt myself but I’m starting to think about it

3 years ago
Reply to  Judith

Please don’t hurt yourself and stay strong, we can do this

2 years ago
Reply to  Eli

Never let anyone get you down. Yours scars make you beautiful. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Never hurt yourself find another outlet if the pain is to bad. Hurting yourself will never make you feel something. One thing I learned about bullies is that there is usually something bigger going on with them and they can’t deal with it because their brains can’t handle it so they bully you. Never let them bring you down to their level. Keep strong.

1 year ago

Best advice I’ve read in a long time. Thanks

The Meaningful Life Center