Losing Doesn’t Make You a Loser
At some point in your life you will lose a game, a job, or something similar, and you will feel the uncomfortable feelings associated with loss. It’s impossible to avoid. But it is what you learn from the experience and how you react to the set-back that matters. Will you stay down and accept defeat or will you get back up, dust yourself off, learn from the experience and figure out what you need to do differently next time? The choice is yours to make.
If you go through life avoiding situations in which you may experience loss of some kind, you rob yourself of an opportunity to succeed in the future. In order to succeed, you need to get over the fear of loss. Exposing yourself to the possibility will help you learn how to handle such feelings, and prepare you to better deal with them in the future. In essence, you can succeed by failing. In learning how to handle the knocks that life may hand you, the better you will feel about yourself, which contributes to a healthy self-esteem.
When you can anticipate a situation that may not go your way, you can prepare for the outcome, good or bad. By facing the possibility that you may come out on the losing end, you can be more prepared for whatever does happen. Facing situations that may cause you to be the one who loses is often the best way to learn how to keep your chin up.
Don’t Be a Victim
Take action. By guiding your emotional decisions correctly, and quickly, sometimes you can move past the feeling of loss with a minimum of impact. It is when you avoid, or internalize those feelings that your depression or anxiety are likely to worsen with time.
Like many things in life, significant changes occur slowly. Remember that it is the direction of the change you make, not the speed at which you make it that matters. By taking the time to replace negative thoughts with more balanced ones, you can eventually come out on the winning side of a loss.
Challenge Negative Thinking
There are several ways to challenge your own negative thinking:
- Step outside of yourself. Consider whether or not you would feel the same way about someone else in your situation. If not, then don’t be so hard on yourself. Think about more appropriate ways guide your thoughts that will result in more realistic feelings.
- Don’t be obsessed with being perfect. Perfectionists are often depressed because they hold themselves to standards that simply cannot be met, and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Perfectionism is self-imposed stress that can encourage negative ways of thinking about yourself.
- Hang out with positive people. Notice how they aren’t easily defeated, often looking for the bright spot in a difficult situation. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Try to learn how to adopt this kind of optimism in the face of adversity.
Remember, everyone wins — and loses — at some point in their lives. Losing doesn’t make you a loser.