We Ask, You Answer: Do You Ever Feel Like A Loser?

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?

 

LET'S TALK: Do you ever feel like a loser? When, where, and why? What does your mind convince yourself of?

20 Comments

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

  1. I definitely have moments where I feel like a loser. Sometimes when I see people with giant friend groups always having random little get-togethers, or people traveling and having adventures, or especially when I see people in happy relationships – I feel so behind. After experiencing my first ever heartbreak when my 8 year relationship ended, I suddenly felt like a loser. Having a partnership with somebody, being able to look forward to adventures together and talk about where to live or what dog to get or how we’d raise our kids one day… Losing all of that suddenly just made me feel so alone. As if now the only dreams I can focus on are related to my career, and I can’t always bother my friends because they are all in relationships. I feel needy, and suddenly I feel like a child again. Sometimes I’m ashamed of myself just for how much I don’t enjoy being on my own and how much I do want what everybody else has.

    5 likes
  2. I feel more seen on this website than anything else. I constantly feel like a loser. And I use that exact word in my head.

    3 likes
  3. All the time! I swear it’s either my hormonal emotions or something external but I get this trigger of self doubt 1x a month and it then spirals out of control. I’m learning to push those negative thoughts away and control my mind to think of all the ways I am amazing. It takes patience and lots of practice. I am still struggling through it. Even more with this quarantine.

    3 likes
  4. Yes. Mostly at home by myself when I have too much free time that I don’t use wisely. Not necessarily about using my time unwisely I just do a lot of overthinking during that time. Ever since becoming pregnant with my first child I’ve had this overwhelming sense of not being worthy of being looked up to by her. I’m no where near where I want to be in my career or health and I think I need to be this perfect human for her to admire one day. All completely ridiculous thoughts and I definitely don’t want to project this type of people pleasing or perfectionism onto my family!

    3 likes
  5. This is something I struggle with so much – feeling like a loser. Much of the I am confident and sure of myself, but then this fog rolls in and I feel completely useless and like I do not fit in. I feel so aware of how I am acting, speaking, even standing… Everything becomes so dissociated and I start thinking everyone must notice.

    I know in theory, I am not a “loser” – but during these times I feel like everyone around my is so free and full of energy. I feel like I am barely staying above the surface when everyone around me is having fun and being positive. My mind convinces me that I am not contributing enough, working hard enough or interesting enough for other people.

    3 likes
  6. every damn day. because i can’t find a job after one year of searching. my mind convinces me i’m not doing enough, not working hard enough, not ever going to find work. and now covid💔

    3 likes
  7. I’m an introvert, and have difficulty making friends. I’m amazing at my job, do well in university, but on my worst days I am convinced I’ll never amount to anything because of my social awkwardness. My brain does a run through of all my dreams and I envision my social awkwardness ruining everything and turning me into a failure.

    It takes so much self talk to get myself out of these low times. I always try to find a reason why I’m feeling this way, such as diet or hormones, and I find it lines up a lot with PMS week. It is a huge relief to be able to “blame” it on something other than my life.

    I recently went off the pill, and have tried getting to know my body better. My PMS is a lot stronger but my high moments are so much better as well. Hoping I can learn to balance my hormones naturally.

    4 likes
  8. I do have self doubt often but I find myself feeling most like a loser when I am rejected in any small way and it totally shatters every ounce of my self confidence that I have spend weeks building up. Most notably after being laid off and then believing I didn’t actually deserve or earn any of it.

    3 likes
  9. I totally get into these cycles of feeling like a loser. I don’t know if it’s hormonal or what, because I haven’t really been able to track it (maybe I should start taking notes), but it sucks. It’s happened throughout my life – mostly when it came to friendships in my younger days. I was never the “pretty popular” one even though my friends were those types of people, but I would never get invited to anything outside of school. It felt like they kept me around at school to make them feel better about themselves but didn’t care to actually be my friend (or so I told myself). Now as an adult, I’ve thankfully discovered that it’s not a bad thing to have a small group of friends, or for those friends to have other friends. In fact, it’s good and healthy. Most of my “loser” struggles now are around being a good wife and mother. If I can’t keep on top of dishes or laundry I feel like a complete failure. If my daughter won’t eat the dinner I made her and I cave and give her a pouch and some crackers instead I feel like I’m somehow the worst mother because she’s not eating as well as she “should”. They’re all lies, but man is it tough to deal with when those whispers creep in.

    3 likes
  10. Yesterday I took a day off of work. I’m getting my PhD , so ultimately I’m the boss of my own schedule and I decided to put myself first–have a self care day. But today…I have people yelling at me, asking me to re-do things, needing my help, requesting meetings, needing things DONE TODAY that were initially due Friday. Being told from my boss that I’m not doing enough and I need to show better progress. It’s like….I take one brave step to put myself first, and life decided the shit on me threefold. It’s times like this that I feel like a loser. That I’m too weak for even needing that time to myself, that I should be strong enough to work myself to the bone without any need for reprise. But I know that’s not true. Still. I feel like I’m pathetic. That I’m alone. That I can’t do this. That’s how I feel today.

    4 likes
  11. Wow. Wow. Wow. I really feel so alone in this so I’m glad to see it’s not just me. Tbh I feel like this with frequency and the way I talk to myself is appalling. Even though I can recognize it, it’s nearly impossible to stop telling myself I’m a piece of shit. I notice that it tends to be linked to 3 things: lack of productivity at work or on my freelance stuff, body image issues (like if my clothes don’t fit right or I feel fat), and if I feel like my fiancé is upset with me for some unknown reason (which tbh is rarely the case but my brain goes “he’s lying, he hates you” 😫)

    2 likes
  12. I struggle with this regularly. This first came up for me when I left my job of 5 1/2 years last summer. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t have a job, but rather that I had stopped moving at turbo speed for the first time in my entire life. This sudden halt forced me to stop and look at all the parts of me that were not perfect. For some reason, not being perfect turned me into a monster in my head. I was so used to people seeing me as the one who “had it all together”. Similar to some of the other posts, I struggle feeling like I am worthy regularly and I resent my thoughts for making me feel so heavy. I question everything and I blame myself for most things. The work I am doing (therapy) is around that. It’s around loving myself, unconditionally. And let me tell you, that shit is hard, especially when in isolation.

    3 likes
  13. Gosh, this feels like the narrative of my life. I remember telling myself this story all the way back when I was in elementary school: the dawning realization that I wasn’t “cool” and likely never would be. The question “why would anyone want *me* to participate in their life or contribute in this moment in any way?” plagues pretty much everything I do. When I’m in a strong mental space I am able to remind myself that I am a valuable asset to any team or friendship, and that my insight and work are meaningful, but it can be so hard. Feeling like a loser holds me back from so many opportunities, particularly when it comes to new (and old) friendships and creative endeavors. “Why would anyone want to be my friend? Why would anyone want to read my writing?” I often feel like my presence is burdensome, rather than beneficial. I’ve even written and deleted this comment multiple times, because I feel like I’m too much of a loser to write a comment worth submitting!

    2 likes
  14. I feel like a loser sometimes when I think about my younger days (like college— I’m 34 now) and who I was then and who I thought I would be at this time. I think I just had some naive idea of how wonderful and easy things would be and how successful I would be. I thought I would still be having just as much fun and looking the same. It feels a bit like I’ve squandered my opportunities but I also have all the things I’ve wanted.

    2 likes
  15. It’s like I could of of write this. Every so often I feel like that. Like I’m not worth it and that no ones loves me. It’s hard specially now in quarantine living alone. I feel unmotivated and tired. But journaling helps a lot and FaceTiming my family. If you have any other tips on how you make yourself feel better please share. I’m out of ideas and thing to do at the moment. Also you are not alone in feeling like this.

    1 likes
  16. 39 and unfortunately attached to the deeply ingrained idea of marriage and children as markers of being included. Yet, my philosophy in life and even my work is to not settle for the status quo.
    I’m considering leaving my current partner because I feel as if I have grown out of them and see no secure future. I couldn’t imagine parenting with him and his heavy drinking causes much separation between us.
    The paradox is I work with birthing women, so what I don’t have is always somewhat in my face, yet I have the advantage of being privy to the realities of having a family are.
    I’m smart, I just opened my own business, released an ebook, I get a lot of attention from single men my age. Yet I question if my different take on life makes me a martyr to my ethos or makes me stand out from the crowd.
    Am I a looser just because I don’t fit the status quo?

    1 likes
  17. Alain De Botton talks about losers in a ted talk, it’s pretty interesting actually. “Nowadays, in America, you’re a winner, or you are a loser. Now, what is a loser? A loser is somebody who has failed according to the rules of the game that they have signed up to. In other words, we have made, in the United States, a meritocratic society where success is deserved, but failure is also deserved.”

    For the record, I feel like a loser sometimes. It’s accompanied by the feeling of not fitting in too. I lose my confidence and am so conscious of the way I move, talk, make eye contact… What is with that?

    p.s. you’re not a loser x

    1 likes
  18. I feel like a loser when trying to talk to other people. People I know and people I don’t. In the back of my mind, I hear this voice telling me no one will understand me. I don’t fit in. I’m not good enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not interesting enough. And I think it’s mostly caused me to isolate myself. I’ve distanced myself from old friends and it’s been extremely difficult making new friends or participating in any public/community type gatherings. I think I was depressed for a while tbh. I’m better now though. Really embracing myself and finding strength through spirituality. I think a big part was learning to love myself. I’m working on rebuilding those relationships now. Slowly but surely.

    2 likes
  19. I go through the same thing every month during the first few days of my period. Thank you for sharing <3

  20. Since entering my 30s, I have never felt more of an inadequate human being. No one warns you the loneliness you can experience if you haven’t already established yourself a relationship and/or family by then. Friendships become more distant because of their family commitments. It becomes harder to meet and connect with new people. I also entered post-secondary late in my late 20s only to have recently dropped out. I’ll be starting all over again for different degree, this fall. I experienced a disconnect between myself and my student peers because the majority of them are right out of high school. I currently live with my mother to help save myself money. However, it feels shameful to mention this to people, especially in the dating scene. I want to make new friends but I often find that those who I would like to be friends with are already fulfilled with the “right” people in their lives. Experiencing all these things definitely breaks down my self-esteem generating the loser complex.

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