Learning to break the self-fulfilling cycle of defeatism

It's so much harder to care about something than not. After all, if you spare yourself from wanting things, you never face the disappointment of failing to reach them. Of course however it's in our human nature to want and yearn for things. Whether it's personal happiness, financial stability, academic excellence or any of the endless amounts of definition of success, one of these pursuits is driving the mind of any person willing to step foot out of bed in the morning. But as much as we want these things, there's a part of ourselves preparing for the sky to crumble and snatch what we want from out of our hands. And while this defeatism may keep us protected, especially in the midst of a bleak national landscape, it's also destined to keep repeating itself until you finally take action against it.

Speaking from my own experiences as a long time utilizer of self-deprecation and pessimism, there is an undeniable pull to the feeling's manifestations. Starting back in my middle and high school days, the sensation convinced me there's was value to remaining isolated. What was the point of trying out for that part in the play or telling that girl I had a crush on her when I could deprive these outside forces from placing their judgments on me. To borrow from Rachel Bloom's song on her superb TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, it's that feeling of "I could if I wanted to." No one has the power to define your abilities besides yourself as you barricade your sense of "specialness" so no one gets to notice it except you. And even as I've gotten older the feelings still persist even when I make myself go out for job interviews or first dates, there can still be a portion of my mind certain these things won't work out so that I don't risk feeling hurt if they do.

But as much as skepticism may be useful for protection, trying to suppress your hopes or emotions often can guarantee you will come up short against those confident enough to put themselves on the line. While this defeatism may have spared me some disappoint or heartbreak, these wounds are just replaced with regrets over what could've been if fear hadn't been given the driver's seat. But thankfully like many harmful cycles, often just being aware of the dynamic can go a long way towards ensuring you no longer have to be under their controls. For all the agony and ecstasy that comes with putting yourself on the line, trying to spare yourself these moments of emotional whiplash also means keeping yourself from taking a chance on what's meaningful to you. At the end of the day, there will be wins and losses for anybody who tries, but the trick is to remember that the latter is never as bad as our fear distort it to be. Trying may be harder, but that doesn't mean it's bad.

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