I’m not good enough.
I don’t know what to do.
Everything feels overwhelming, and I’m ready to give up.
Those are the kind of thoughts that enter my head from time to time. I know you can relate, because every human being on this planet goes through this.
It doesn’t matter how successful you are. Success doesn’t give you immunity from humanity.
One of the problems today is that you see edited lives on display. Few want to share what life really looks like, wrinkles and all.
So it’s easy to feel like you shouldn’t feel the way you do. But the truth is that whatever you’re going through is normal.
Why Does This Happen?
When I have an expectation of how my life should unfold, I naturally compare that to how my life is unfolding.
If things aren’t going as expected, I feel bad.
I feel the tension between imagination and reality.
Sometimes, I just have a bad day, and I feel anxious, afraid, and overwhelmed.
During those times, I try not to take my thoughts too seriously. I do what I can, and I give myself a break.
Here’s a short video on this:
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, because I feel my thoughts.
When I entertain a thought, I get to go deeper into that experience, like an imaginary whirlpool.
You can try this out for yourself. Notice the thoughts that are here right now. Also notice that you are the awareness in which those thoughts emerge. You are not the thoughts themselves, because they come and go.
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.
There will still be days where you are seemingly stuck in a thought storm. When that happens, take a break, because it will pass.
When Should You Give Up?
I follow what resonates with me. Sometimes I give up for a few days. Eventually, enthusiasm returns, and I keep going.
Obstacles are not always meant to stop you in your tracks. Often they’re there to nudge you in a different direction.
For me, this always comes down to taking one tiny step toward what feels magnetic.
Here’s a video I made on this:
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.
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. I like to watch movies, annoy my kids, play games, meditate, read books, learn stuff, and so on.
Life has its own timing. I don’t have to force my own expectations on the world.
Instead, I can relax, and pay attention to where things are going.
It’s okay to feel like giving up. Everyone feels like this from time to time.
Take a break, and enjoy life.
The next step will emerge when the time is right.
You’re doing just fine.
All the best,
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.
Recharging is crucial, but often forgotten. Right on, Diggy!
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.
Sounds like you have a good plan in place, and I bet soaking in the bath tub feel nice 😉
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!
marc van der linden says
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.
Thanks for sharing your way of dealing with it, Marc!
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!
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 😉
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.
Tania Tyler says
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 😉
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.
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!
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!
Lori Gosselin says
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.
There definitely has to be something interesting going on 😉
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
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.
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 .
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.
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 😉
Thank you, thank you and thank you again for this message today! I was feeling overwhelmed as I am writing a paper to complete a semester at University, and I got to that point of mental exhaustion where no clarity seems to appear. While worrying about not being able to finish this work on time, I watched your video and took on the advise that I rather give myself a day off to clear my mind so I can go back to my work with a clear head and heart. Henri, your words and work do not get unnoticed!
John Kabat Zinn said “the kind of mind that’s grasping for an outcome, is the kind of mind that’s going to get in the way of that outcome”. I absolutely loved hearing your thoughts Henri. So we’ll put and really resonates with me a time when I feel as though I’m wading through treacle in launching a new business. Your ideas for changing perspective have helped enormously. Thank you.