Do you sometimes feel completely defeated? Perhaps you feel that things are outrageously hard and you’d like to just give up, or perhaps you feel it’s just too hard to (choose one): find a love relationship with someone you’re attracted to and who is attracted back, get along, like the person you’re married or committed to, get a job in this economy, make ends meet, stay out of debt, live on a fixed income, stay healthy, stay on a diet, consistently exercise, successfully raise kids, feel happy and joyful from day to day—or choose one of your own challenges that can make you feel deflated and hopeless.
Between the different demands life has imposed on us and the ones we have freely chosen, it sometimes feels as if we are weighted down by a ton of burdens, demands, expectations and challenges that can make us feel overwhelmed and defeated, as if we’re carrying around a heavy weight on our shoulders—or worse, carrying that heaviness in our hearts. It sometimes makes you just want to fold up shop and give up, doesn’t it?
But what if you could un-burden yourself? What if it were possible to negotiate or bargain with the part that weighs you down and makes you feel like giving up? Imagine the following conversation between you and you—or more accurately, between you and a voice within you:
You: “I feel sluggish, overwhelmed and discouraged, as if I’m carrying around a great weight on my shoulders. It’s causing me to feel hopeless, and that zaps my energy. I’m not even trying very hard anymore. But why? I know I’m not going to get anywhere if I do nothing.”
The part of you that feels defeated: “You are failing way more than you’re succeeding, and it’s hard to keep your spirit and motivation high when you’re encountering a lot of disappointment and very little success. It deflates you. So I’m protecting you. You feel so defeated that I’m stopping you until you feel better. I stop you from further hurt and disappointment by demanding that you give up and quit trying. So I’m blocking you from feeling even more defeated.”
You: “But you’re also stopping me from reaching my goal. I see that you mean to protect me, but if I allow you to discourage me from even trying, where will I be then? I’ll feel even more defeated, because then I will have no hope of ever achieving my goals. You’re making it harder for me to remain positive and optimistic by demanding that I give up. If I listen to you, I’m going to wind up cynical, angry and bitter.”
Defeated: “I see your point, but if I don’t protect you, you’re opening yourself up to get hurt over and over again. All I’m trying to do is to provide you some safe shelter. How many times can you take failing before you’ll lose your spirit altogether?”
You: “I see that you mean well, but if I quit trying to change my circumstances and stop trying to better myself, I’m going to remain forever frozen where I am, which isn’t acceptable to me. I can’t let you drag me down, because I fear that I’ll give up. But I’d be willing to listen to you like I’m doing now. I see that you mean me no harm, even if what you’re doing feels destructive to me. How about if I let you voice your hurt, pain and concern periodically? I need for you to trust that I am looking out for our future, and for you to get off my back and quit burdening me with your negativity and discouragement.”
Defeated: “Like a partnership we create together. Okay, let’s give it a try.”
What you just read is an imaginary conversation between you and the part of you that gets discouraged by setbacks and then feels like giving up. Can you see how this might apply to you?