“I feel like a loser,” you tell yourself.
No, you don’t feel like a loser. You are a loser. You know it, too.
Many suffer from a total lack of self-esteem. Our societal overlords chose the exact wrong method to deal with the problem. They lowered the bar and made it socially acceptable to be a loser.
If you listen to the media, you’d think there aren’t any agreed-upon metrics for what makes someone a loser or a winner. There are.
Maybe it shouldn’t be this way, but it is this way.
Americans want to know who’s winning. Sex, money, and violence just happen to be games in which everyone knows the score. No catchphrase exists that can mend the feeling of inadequacy […] You can try—“All of this stuff is subjective, it doesn’t really matter”—but at some level, it does matter. We care about measurement and any trait can be measured. – Hotel Concierge
Take some time to be brutally honest with yourself.
Do those messages telling you to ‘just accept yourself’ no matter what actually work? Does all that self-care and positive self-talk actually make you love yourself?
Or is it all a bullshit band-aid to avoid dealing with the core issues that make you feel like a loser?
I’m just reminding you of the way you probably already feel and making you confront it.
If this doesn’t apply to you, then just stop reading.
But if you suspect I’m right, confront it. Stop running. It’s going to hurt. But it’ll be worth it.
You know the gaps between who you currently are and who you want to be. Instead of trying to trick yourself into being more confident (it doesn’t work), just close the gap.
Here are some strategies you can use to stop feeling like a loser.
You’re being brainwashed.
Pop culture subliminally influences your behavior and fits you into archetypes they create.
Here are a few from the long list:
You can’t immunize yourself against pop culture.
‘Pop culture controls you even if you think you’re separate from it. It is everywhere, from the clothes you wear to the language you use to the way you think. It is a viral pandemic that masks infection by pretending to be part of you. There’s no cure. But if you know the structure of the virus, at least you can recognize the infection as not-you. – The Last Psychiatrist
You can only do the next best things:
Let me tread very carefully here.
You’re going to have to read between the lines.
There are three variables that contribute to your mental health that are largely ignored:
Picture this person. They eat tons of processed food that is chemically engineered to be addicting and contains toxic ingredients that cause chronic inflammation. Think of how annoying and mentally detrimental all those little body aches are. Constantly. All day.
They live a sedentary lifestyle, which has strong links with anxiety.
After sitting at work all day, they go home to sit even more and watch T.V., or they stop at the bar for happy hour and sit down while ingesting poison at the same time.
Since they’re addicted to screens, and spend countless hours on social media apps that mess with their dopamine receptors and also cause anxiety, they can’t get to sleep. The cycle repeats every day for the rest of their life.
Does that sound like a recipe for a clear and sound mind?
Processed foods increase cortisol, the stress hormone in your brain. The food you put in your body literally affects your brain chemistry. Not figuratively. Literally. Eat whole foods. Simple. Studies have also shown a strong link between gut health and mental health.
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected.
I work in coffee shops. I cringe whenever I see someone start their day with a triple chocolate latte with whipped cream and a coffee cake. A glucose crash is on the horizon.
PSA to people of all genders: you need to train with weights.
Weightlifting increases your bone density, helps you lose fat more easily, and can even help fight against brain degeneration and Alzheimers. Exercise can help ease anxiety.
It also teaches you important philosophical lessons about the relationship between effort and output.
On top of that, you should walk 10,000 steps per day. It helps clear inflammation and helps you burn calories without increasing hunger.
Also, walking without any stimulus like your phone is great for mental clarity.
The science of sleep continues to prove a massive link between sleep quality and mental health.
Bottom line: Regardless of the path you choose to properly deal with your mental health, eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep has zero downsides and a ton of upside for your mental health. These things can and should be done in tandem with seeking professional help.
“‘Just let people enjoy things’ How about no. How about go fuck yourself. The problem is that there aren’t enough people speaking up about how fucking stupid modern life is” – Ivan Kanyos
Inverted thinking is one of my favorite mental models for self-improvement. In short, if you feel like a loser, stop doing the things you know will make you feel like a loser.
I wrote an article called Stop Doing These Things, They’re Making You Hate Yourself.
Here’s a list of the things:
I am not a puritan. I’m not trying to finger wag. I’m just a person who examines cause and effect relationships. Nothing wrong with having a little but. But, are you having fun? Or are you coping? Do you enjoy these activities in moderation? Or do they control you?
I’ll end with this quote:
You’re a prisoner to anything you can’t say no to.
Speaking of saying no, if you want to stop feeling like a loser, you need to learn how to say no and set boundaries.
Every time you do something you don’t want to do because you want the approval of others, you’re telling yourself that you value other people more than you value yourself.
People naturally detect weakness and they’ll test you like the raptors at the fence in Jurassic Park. Worse, they’re not doing it on purpose. It’s human nature to see how much you can get away with.
My 6-year-old daughter does this instinctually, all the time. If I cave, she’ll be happy short-term but respect me less long-term. Often, when I tell her no and set strong boundaries with her, she doesn’t like it at first, but she’s actually calmer and behaves better afterward because she wants boundaries.
People want boundaries. They want to respect you. But if you cave to their demands, they won’t. Love and respect are two different things. A lot of us have people in our lives that love and care about, but don’t respect us.
You yield to demands because you don’t want the relationship to suffer, but it’s a band-aid solution that can lead to the relationship unraveling over time. You develop co-dependencies, resentment builds, and after you’ve been emotionally sucked dry, the relationship sours or ends altogether.
Start. Saying. No.
“If you want to get rich, lie to people who want to be lied to. If you want to make a living, tell the truth to people who want to hear it. If you want to be poor, tell the truth to people who want to be lied to.”
I could make so much more money if I just told you what you wanted to hear, but it wouldn’t sit well with me spiritually. I know how to do it, though.
All I have to do is explain why the problems in your life aren’t your fault.
If you’re on the left, I can blame your problems on racism, misogyny, homophobia, the alt-right, etc. If you’re on the right, I can blame all of your problems on the woke, rigged elections, and liberal policies that wreck the economy.
I can blame your problems on the general apparatus of society regardless of where you stand politically. You’re made to work too long of hours for too little pay.
With everything going on in the world, the personal demands of your life, and the lack of time, money, and resources, no wonder you can’t change your life.
How could you possibly improve yourself with all of those other demands to meet?
I can blame the media for creating unrealistic standards for beauty, masculinity, and femininity, or I can blame the media for dramatically lowering the standards.
At the end of the day, I can create a tailor-made sob story that fits you perfectly, but all that does is keep you stuck in the same spot with a feigned sense of moral superiority you don’t actually believe deep down.
Society has always oppressed the vast majority of its people in some shape or form. It is a hell of a lot to ask to try to lift yourself up from your bootstraps while walking an uphill terrain of self-improvement made out of quicksand.
I get it. It is hard. Society is fucked. I agree with you.
But, what other option do you have other than to fight a seemingly unwinnable battle?
You could give up. Most people do. You could be apathetic. Most people are. You can whine, cry, and complain. That’s standard protocol.
Or, you can do this.
One of the great insights of psychoanalysis is that you never really want an object, you only want the wanting, which means the solution is to set your sights on an impossible ideal and work hard to reach it. You won’t. That’s not just okay, that’s the point. It’s ok if you fantasize about knowing kung fu if you then try to actually learn kung fu, eventually you will understand you can never really know kung fu, and then you will die. And it will have been worth it. – The Last Psychiatrist
Ironically, one of the best ways to increase your happiness is to stop concerning yourself with your feelings altogether and instead just go out into the world and make shit happen.
Start that business.
Hit the gym.
Go out there, meet people, and make connections.
Speak your mind, fly around your locale at 100mph, and make your presence known.
I choke my anxiety by keeping myself in constant motion. “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” I don’t have much time to be stuck in worry. I have a business to run, customers to serve, complaints to handle, meetings to attend, weights to lift, heights to reach, and shit to do.
The answer isn’t to seek comfort and lower your responsibilities. It’s to take on an unreasonable amount of responsibility.
Then, you get to tap into eustress:
moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.
I’m stressed out all the time. But I’m so stressed that I’m not anxious. I create an environment where I just can’t waste time worrying about petty bullshit. Petty bullshit fades in the periphery when you have a mission to accomplish. You worry less about yourself when you have people who rely on you.
Rachet up the difficulty of your environment and increase your stress tolerance.
Play the game of life on hard mode.
The businessman is far more spiritual than the sedated hippie. Utilizing mind, body, and spirit for the service of others. The sedated hippie, in his selfishness and lethargy, is only concerned with feeling good, while the businessman is concerned with doing good.” Yous XP
Anyone can sit in a room and meditate, take self-care bubble baths, or recite Buddha quotes.
The barrier to entry for gratitude practices is zero. You learn nothing about yourself by hiding from the world. You feign contentment but you’re wholly unsatisfied and you know it.
Play the worldly games and win them, so you no longer have to think about them.
You don’t have capitalism, you’re just broke. You suck at the game. Get good at it. Try to build a six or seven-figure company and you will have deep spiritual revelations by way of confronting your fears, facing rejection, and experiencing soul-crushing failures you learn to bounce back from.
Don’t take more time to rest. Run hill sprints until you puke all over the place. Try being anxious when you’re just trying to breathe, gasping for any bits of air you can. It’s impossible.
Get all the status, attention, and admiration you desire just to embody this quote:
“I wish everyone could get rich and famous and everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey
It’s true. Worldly pursuits don’t make you happy. But until you scratch the itch and find out for yourself, you’re always going to wonder what if. You’re always going to have that gnawing sense that you could’ve tried but you were just too fucking afraid to do it.
There’s just so much cope wafting in the air.
You don’t want to be jacked, handsome, and rich, but your favorite movie is The Avengers where the main characters are a genius billionaire and a physically sculpted GOD with a hammer who beats people up? Ok.
You don’t want status and attention, but you carefully follow the lives of celebrities?
You don’t want to be rich? But your lack of funds is literally on your mind, constantly, all the time?
You’re not at peace. And you know it. Winning the game doesn’t solve all of your problems, but it knocks down a hell of a lot of dominoes.
People love to speak of stoicism, but forget that Marcus Aurelius first conquered most of the known world before he sat down to write the meditations. Buddha only embraced a life of asceticism after being a wealthy prince.
Win the game, so you no longer have to play it.
If you want to stop feeling like a loser, build an amazing project, make shit tons of cash, get in excellent physical shape, break out of your shell, meet more people, build influence, become a leader, and stop engaging in shitty habits.
I promise. If you do all that, your chances of feeling like a loser are precisely zero.