Being competitive is natural, we all feel good when we have won in a game or sport because in these situations our reward system is gratified by the fact that we feel like the winners. But sometimes we will have to lose and we have to know how to handle these situations with sportsmanship.
In this article we will review various tips for coping with defeat, Starting from the idea that it is not the same to have lost as to feel lost. We will see why it is difficult to accept defeats, as well as a series of recommendations for learning how to deal with them.
Why is it difficult to accept that we have lost?
Defeats represent circumstances which in most cases are a bit difficult to digest. They are always associated with an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling. To answer the question of how to deal with defeat, we need to understand why it is so difficult for us to come to this acceptance of what is going on.
In humans, there is a psychological dynamic called the reward system. This system works from biological and innate aspects, as well as parenting (i.e. learning), and leads us to try and perform actions that make us feel good and avoid those. that make us feel bad. Therefore, winning means that we positively stand out in something that motivates us, while losing is the flip side. Without these experiences of defeat, it would be the same for us not to learn or develop our skills..
Some people are more competitive than others because they have been educated this way, but inevitably not all of us like to lose. The idea of defeat is culturally associated with weakness and represents the embarrassing fact of accepting that someone has been superior to us in a given context.
Just as animals compete with each other to see who stays with a certain prey or a certain earthly space, people do so to gain personal glory and satisfaction, concepts that are only understood by human beings.
Unlike animals, we can determine the causes of defeats in a very abstract sense, learning from them to strengthen our capacities and improve ourselves in certain aspects that we needed to perfect. To achieve this level of compression, you need to know how to overcome defeats properly.
How to face defeats?
In the next few lines we will see a list of tips on how to properly handle losses, so that we can get the most out of them. Let’s see.
1. Reform your idea of defeat
When we are in competition, the possible scenarios that exist are diverse: we can win, we can lose, or in some cases, we could even get a draw. It is important that you familiarize yourself with all of these scenarios and change your perception of them.
In the event of a defeat, it is not appropriate to regard it as a total loss, and to feel that we have wasted our time and our efforts during the competition or during the preparation for it. Losses only indicate that we can do better, And show us which aspects we need to improve for that.
Then, starting to see defeats as an opportunity to improve, you will notice how much things start to make sense and you will understand more clearly the reasons why you lost, which will increase your chances of success. for the future.
2. Manage your emotions
Managing emotions is an essential process in being able to cope with defeats. The ideal is to have the ability to recognize negative emotions that arise when we have lost, frustration, helplessness, anger, etc. it serves to limit the power they have in us.
Once you recognize the emotions, you need to accept that they are the product of defeat and prevent them from dominating you. Realize that these are fleeting emotions and the sooner you turn the page, the sooner you can get down to work to see where you need to improve.
3. Leave defeat in the past
Once the analysis of the defeat has been made, it’s time to turn the page and move on to the learning he left you. You will not gain anything positive if you keep the image of defeat in your mind for a long time, you will only get frustration and anxiety at the possibility of losing again.
4. Recognize the efforts made
While you may not have won the competition, it is important that you have the ability to recognize all the effort you have put into preparing to compete. it should be a personal victory for you that no one can take you out.
Competition is the last step in a process that begins when we prepare for it. All of your prior preparation, the time you have invested and the knowledge you have gained stay with you and no one but you can assess it in the right way.
5. Learn to handle criticism
It’s common for defeats to come with negative reviews, which can make the process of exceeding demand even more complicated. People who take criticism as something completely negative only sabotage themselves and sink deeper into their own frustration.
We need to understand that criticism is a side effect of not winning or even just trying, and not all criticism should matter. It is good to be selective about the people we surround ourselves with and especially those who listen to criticism. In some cases, these reviews help us improve, and in others, they only exist in the form of unfounded criticisms, to hurt us.
6. Take responsibility
We must know how to recognize when we were primarily responsible for the defeat. Assuming making big mistakes is normal and expected in anyone.
It is true that there are sometimes aspects which can escape our control, fortuitous situations typical of the context and which can harm us. But when we have lost through a one-time failure of ourselves, we must be able to recognize it and accept responsibility for it. It’s about orienting our locus of control inward and avoiding redirecting any responsibility for defeat to other things.
Do you need professional psychological help?
In cases where the emotional discomfort is very intense, it may be necessary to consult psychotherapy professionals. Specifically, acceptance and commitment therapy can be of great help in dealing with feelings related to experiencing defeat and emotional mismatches that affect self-esteem.
Through the process of psychotherapy, you will learn to manage your emotions and learn from mistakes that may have predisposed you to reaching this situation.
- Hayes, SC (2004). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Relational Framework Theory and Third Wave of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Behavioral therapy, 35, 639-665.
- Maddi, SR and Kobasa, SC (1984). The resilient executive: health under stress. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin.
- Oñate, M. (1989). The concept of self. Formation, measurement and implications for personality. Madrid. Narcea.