Most of January, I was cloaked in the unshakable feeling that I was a loser. One evening, sitting at a restaurant enjoying fancy steaks and aperol spritzes (remember those times?), I finally broke down and admitted it to my husband. Through tears I eventually mumbled, “I feel like a loser.”
It’s hard to describe the emotional and physical sensations of feeling like a loser. I felt numb. I felt incredibly exposed and vulnerable, imagining situations of people whispering behind closed doors, behind my back, of all the reasons I’m a loser. My anxiety was overwhelming and stalled my ability to be able to create anything. Writing was out of the question. Getting dressed felt impossible. I permanently looked and felt like I hadn’t showered in weeks.
It wasn’t until a friend came to visit, when I admitted that my start of the year had not gone according to plan, that she burst out into laughter. “I call myself a loser at least once a month,” she proclaimed. Like most feelings, I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Why do we do this to ourselves?!
It was freeing to know I wasn’t alone in this, and it encouraged me to share it on Instagram. I was shocked by the amount of comments and DMs that flooded in. Apparently, a lot of us sometimes feel like losers.
There are a million reasons one might convince themselves of being a loser. Lack of financial knowledge, or lack of money period. Feeling pressured to adhere to societal timelines. A perceived failure or lack of success. Hating one’s job. Feeling forced to over-identify with your job title. Struggling to love your body. Anxiety over or addiction to alcohol. The list is endless.
We make ourselves believe we are less than, unworthy, not enough. Feeling like a loser, calling ourselves one, quite literally is shame manifesting. But “shame cannot survive empathy,” as Brene Brown says. So I’ve learned to practice self-love in these tough moments, reminding myself of all the wonderful parts of me, of my successes, of my attempts to be successful, and of my perceived failures do not define me. I am enough, no matter what my social (and internal) currency is. I’ve also started talking about this with my loved ones, and it’s really helped lift the heavy veil of loser shame. Maybe I’m not broken. Maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me.
So let’s talk about it: Do you ever feel like a loser? When, where, and why? What does your mind convince yourself of?