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You know what’s ironic? Every single person in the world has moments where they feel defeated, moments where everything seemingly falls apart. Yet we don’t acknowledge these moments, especially publically. Instead of owning our weaknesses or mistakes, we’re all too quick to cover them up, to post the best pictures on social media, to try to live up to this ‘perfect’ ideal we know isn’t even attainable in the first place.

It’s exhausting. But it’s also human nature. We think (for some crazy reason) that it’s better to hide our true selves rather than be seen as weak for messing up. But the truth is, our failures do not equate to weakness and our defeats will never define us. How we continue—that’s what will.

I don’t know where you are right now, or what you’re struggling with, but I want you to know that defeat isn’t a permanent state of being. It’s a temporary feeling, one you have the power to overcome.

Here’s how:

1. Surround yourself with good people.

Sometimes our minds play tricks on us. Sometimes we’re on such a high, only to be brought to such a low. We think we’re doing okay, but then we compare ourselves to someone else and our perspective gets skewed. A simple way to fight against this is to surround yourself with good people.

Surround yourself with people who support you, who motivate you, and who encourage you to pursue your goals. Surround your with the ones who build you up, who comfort you when you make a mistake but don’t let you dwell there. These people aren’t going to find fault; they aren’t looking to benefit themselves in seeing you fall. Instead, they are genuine and invested in you. They want to see you rise.

2. Get your body moving—even if it’s something small.

When you feel defeated, remember that your body often produces a physical response to stress or negative feelings. To fight against this, get moving. Go to the gym or studio, take a walk around the block, bike around town, run on the beach. It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters that you’re doing something.

Don’t get caught up in a rut—get moving.

3. Spend quality time with yourself.

You can be your own worst critic or your absolute best friend. This practice of learning self-love has to start within. Rather than always looking for outside influences to motivate you, spend some time with yourself. Practice positive self-talk, take yourself on a date, spend time doing your passion.

Although friendship and community are infinitely valuable, there is a lot to be said about learning to be comfortable alone.

4. Plan something selfish that you never have the time to do.

If you’re the type of person who is always prioritizing others over yourself, change that (even if it’s only for a little bit). Rather than thinking of someone else first, think what you need or want. It may be something small, like taking a morning walk or setting aside an hour for a craft /passion project, but start somewhere.

This action of being self-focused will help you re-center with your strength when life gets you down.

5. Focus on a smaller goal first.

You’re not going to go from running a single mile to running a marathon in a month. That’s not how life works. Regardless, though, don’t let the circumstances—positive or negative—keep you from believing in (and seeing) your potential.

Focus on a smaller goal first. If there’s something that feels too monstrous to tackle, begin small. Take the first step. Then another. Then another. Soon you’ll get to where you want to go, but like anything in life, it takes time.

6. Remind yourself that your defeat is only temporary.

Above all, remember this: defeat is temporary. Just like pain, sadness, or any other negative emotion, defeat won’t be with you forever. You can’t let it make a home in your heart.

When you’re feeling down, remind yourself of the ebb and flow of life—you won’t always feel the way you do right now. But instead of dwelling on what you’ve lost, failed, or messed up on, look forward to good things to come.


Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and fitness enthusiast located in Ocean Beach, San Diego. She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway and founder of Be A Light LLC, a remote writing coaching/tutoring/editing services company.

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