When You Feel Like Giving Up

Rainy Cloud by Lali Masriera

I’m not good enough.

I don’t know what to do.

Everything feels overwhelming, and I’m ready to give up.

That’s what I’ve been feeling these last few days, and I know you can relate, because every human being on this planet goes through these periods of agony.

It doesn’t matter how successful you are. Success doesn’t give you immunity from humanity.

During periods like these, I want to catapult myself into bed and hide under my sheets. And it doesn’t help that the sheets smell nice and are fluffy.

One of the problems today is that people aren’t honest enough. They have no problem telling you how much money they’ve made, but when it comes to feeling like a failure, they keep their lips tight and their fingers in their pockets.

It makes it all seem like you shouldn’t feel the way you do. But the truth is that whatever you’re going through is normal.

I’ve come a long way since I started actively going after what I wanted at the age of 16, but I still have days where I wish things were easier—a lot easier.

Why Does This Happen?

I wish I knew why these periods of agony occur, but I don’t.

All I know is that they do. They almost seem like periods of cleansing, because when they are over, I feel clearer and more inspired.

It’s only when I try to fight what’s here that days can expand into weeks, but I rarely do that anymore, so I’m often through the woods in a few days.

We don’t need to know why. We just need to know how to deal with it effectively, so it doesn’t ruin our lives.

Many fellow passion seekers have thrown in the towel because they’ve misinterpreted their thoughts and feelings.

Your Thoughts, or Just Thoughts?

When I’m in the midst of the despair, I’ve learned to notice how chaotic my thoughts are.

The more I identify with my thoughts, the more I suffer.

What I’ve experienced more and more is that we are not our thoughts.

Sure, thoughts and feelings happen, but we do not have to get caught up in them.

You can check this out for yourself. Notice the thoughts that are here right now, and also notice that you are the presence which is aware of the thoughts, you are not the thoughts themselves.

Thoughts could not exist without you.

Thoughts have no power unless you focus on them. I’m not saying that you should ignore your thoughts, just that you can be more aware of what you pay attention to, and that you don’t have to get sucked up in the drama.

Just having an intellectual understanding of this won’t help you, because those are just more thoughts. What will help is when you experience it for yourself. The easiest way to do that is to be intensely present and intimate with the present moment.

Yes, even when you feel horrible, especially when you feel horrible.

This topic has been fascinating me to no end lately, so I could go on, but I’ll leave it clean and simple for now.

The Solution to the Despair

In the past, I’ve dealt with these kind of days by trying to push through them. I’ve tried forcing my way to success, whether I liked it or not.

I never even considered that I could take a break.

When I feel like giving up, I’m not productive, and I don’t make good decisions. Whatever I do just breeds more of the same.

What you do during these breaks is up to you, as long as it’s something you enjoy. I watched movies, meditated, read, and listened to some Sedona Method audio programs.

I’ve been exploring the Sedona Method a lot lately, and so far I really like it. I love diving into the world of personal development and discovering what works.

In essence, my solution is simple: I take a break, and let myself experience whatever is going on inside.

I surrender to my thoughts and feelings. Instead of trying to resist and fight them, I welcome them, and let them be as they are.

I’ve noticed that the way I feel becomes a problem when I want to change it, because that’s where the fight begins.

The way most people deal with negative feelings is by running away to food, sex, TV, drugs, alcohol, video games, or whatever your favorite thing happens to be.

I am no different, but I’m getting better at staying here and now (as if I could ever leave the now).

Life happens the way it happens. I went through a rough few days, but I’m feeling inspired and ready to take action now.

I know that these kind of days happen from time to time, so I don’t try to avoid them. Instead, I embrace them with open arms and do my best to be with them.

The ride is much smoother that way, and often what I’ve labeled as negative emotions bring lessons and gifts with them.

All I have to do is be open to them.

Not always easy, but always worth it.

Photo by Lali (CC License)

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  1. Hey Henri,
    Yeah it’s so true, most successful people have experienced more failure and setbacks in a decade than normal people will in a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to have your own sources of motivation that you can turn to on a daily basis.

    I personally use a vision board, where I’ve printed pictures of my goals and I’ve stuck them up on my cupboard so that it’s the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before I go to bed.

    Never give up, rather just take a break to recharge and then hit your goals with 100% energy again.


  2. I have these feelings too! The days when you feel like a huge failure despite all that you’ve accomplished.

    I start working through them by creating a gratitude list, taking a long soak in the tub and curling up with a good book. Sometimes cleaning the house helps.

    Thank you for sharing. This is something that everyone needs to acknowledge, face and move on from.


  3. Google’s been doing a bunch of updates which left a lot of my sites in the dust. I wanted to quit and give up because I felt like I had lost over a years worth of work in one day.

    However, I finally stopped complaining and whining about it, and got back to work and now I’m climbing back. And I’ve also got a bunch of new ideas and inspirations because of it, so I just need to keep seeing it as a chance to grow even more.

    • It happens! When you’re open to it, like you are, you’ll gently head in a new direction. It might not be fun in the short-term, but can make all the difference in the long-term.

      Keep rocking, Sean!

  4. I know the feeling.

    It happens to me as well. I learnt to bounce back more faster and in a more flexible way to bounce back. But there is not a guaranty that it will not happen again.

    The way I deal with it cultivating my sense of faith that this also will pass.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Beautiful post, Henri. All humans can relate. But I think you are right, to just embrace it instead of fighting it or struggling to change it. It is impossible to be in “flow” perpetually. We need to have some “ebb” in order to begin flowing once again. And I know you will.

    • I completely agree! I’m already flowing in a much smoother fashion than before, so all is well!

  6. Deepshikha Sharma says:

    Henri, the feeling is here right now. I am feeling lost, confused and agitated. So much so that my head is aching continuously since a past few days….

    I think I need a break …. to think.

    • Thinking is usually the worst thing I can do during these times. The best I’ve found is to just be the awareness behind and beyond the thoughts, if that makes sense 😉

  7. I find it interesting that when I’m happy, I never question why I feel happy or tell myself I shouldn’t feel happy, or try to pull myself out of feeling happy…but I rarely extend the same consideration to my feeling bad. Maybe I fight it so much because, well, yes, it feels icky and who wants to hang out in a place like that any longer than they have to? I don’t know. But I’m learning too to just let it be what it is; it will pass, like it always does, and over-analyzing it rarely does any good.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you, Kathie. Like I said in the post, I’ve noticed that when I fight it, it gets worse, especially if I try to go into any thinking about it. It just is what it is, and it’s best to leave it at that.

  8. I think these periods that we go through are “tests” to see how faithful we are to our dreams? Will we stick with them? Are we passionate enough to follow through? Are we living our passions because it is our gift to share or are we making it an obligation?

    I also have written this next to my computer so I see it all the time… “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

    Peace & Blessings,

    • Good questions, and great points. It never has to be perfect, although I frequently fall into that trap myself. Oops 😉

  9. Great post! We’re so inclined towards instant gratification, we often forget that life is out to support us and a little patience goes a long way sometimes.

    I learned a while ago to take a break when things feel like I’m fighting a wall. What I do to counter the effect of feeling like I got nothing accomplished is to use the “break” to “work” on something else. If I’m stuck on a website design, I’ll grab a coffee and write an article or grab my bike and get in some excercise. The website might not be done, but I worked on another project or I burned some calories and took some time to recenter.

    It’s all perspective.


    • Hey Stewart,

      I use the same strategies as you do. Sometimes I’ll take a break by letting myself take a full break, such as lying in bed staring at the ceiling, or even taking a nap!

  10. Oh My Gosh! It’s like you are in my head today…. this is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    • I enjoy taking a stroll inside your head from time to time. Hope you don’t mind 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the article!

  11. Hi Henri,
    I think something is different in the air these days. So many people, myself included, seem to be able to relate to this post. I wonder why.
    For myself, I step away, distract myself with pleasant things and come back later when my state of mind has changed.

  12. Lisa Littlefair says:

    This email came through at exactly the right time for me as this is exactly how I was feeling last week. I believe everything happens for a reason at the time they are supposed to happen. I joined your newsletter a few days earlier and hence received this article at the perfect time. All I can say is THANK YOU

  13. Sometimes I think if you become so focussed you lose yourself in your work and then expect instant results on account of how hard you’ve tried. When these results aren’t so ‘instant’ it is easy to become slightly demotivated to say the least. Trying to get an even work/life balance can also be challenging which probably results in those days coming around when everything is overwhelming and you feel like giving up. This is a great post to remind us all that these feelings are natural, probably our bodies way of telling us to take a break. When you’re relaxed and refreshed, its much easier to focus ….. and probably start the whole cycle again! lol. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. You are so right henri that thinking at those times makes it horribly worse and makes one tired and everything seems so impossible . The best thing is to just leave it like it is and take a break -go do something you enjoy -come back and you’ll never feel the same .

    Cheers !!

  15. Hi Henri,

    I absolutely love your site, it has helped me very much…I want to know what to do when you have your good days and bad days…sometimes I feel great like wow everything is going to be fine, then there it is again that dreaded overwhelming feeling of despair. I am a single mother of 3 going thru some financial challenges and starting a new career that will benefit me…I am scared…is this normal to have a fear of success??? I should be so grateful, I have so much help around me, good people..I’ve prayed for help I just want to trust me faith, keep working hard and just know that everything will be fine..any advice you can give would be much appreciated.


    • Thanks Anne!

      Usually the fear of success (or failure) is the fear of the unknown, which is very normal.

      I also have those days where everything is great, and then those where there’s nothing but despair. There are tools you can use to feel better, but in general, I’d say not to take your thoughts too seriously during the bad days.

      You know that they’ll be there, so let them pass by simply watching them. Not always easy, but so many people try to resist feeling bad, and it isn’t necessary. The resisting is what keeps it alive.

      Hope this helps 😉

  16. Christina says:

    Henri, I love your posts…..always. I did not realize you are becoming a father. Congratulations, you are in for the ride of your life. Your wisdom will increase, as will your frustrations, haha.
    I wish you and your lady the best. It is truly one of the most amazing experiences in life.

    Thank you for sharing all you do.

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