How To Deal With Defeat: 6 Acceptance Tips

How to deal with defeat

Being competitive is natural, we all feel good when we have won in a game or sport, since in these situations our reward system is gratified by the fact of feeling like winners. But at some times we will have to lose, and we must know how to face these situations with sportsmanship.

In this article we are going to review various tips on how to deal with defeat, starting from the idea that having lost is not the same as feeling lost. We will see why it is difficult to accept defeats, as well as a series of recommendations to learn how to manage them.

Why is it difficult to accept that we have lost?

Defeats represent circumstances that in most cases are somewhat difficult to digest. They are always associated with an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling. To answer the question of how to face defeat, we must understand why it is so difficult for us to achieve this acceptance of what is happening.

In human beings there is a psychological dynamic called the reward system. This system works from biological and innate aspects, and also from upbringing (that is, learning), and leads us to try to carry out the actions that make us feel good, and avoid those that make us feel bad. Therefore, winning means that we stand out positively in something, which motivates us, while losing is the other side of the coin. Without these experiences of defeat, we might as well not learn or develop our skills.

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Some people are more competitive than others because they have been raised that way, but inevitably we all dislike losing. The idea of ​​defeat is culturally associated with weakness and represents the uncomfortable fact of accepting that someone has been superior to us in a certain context.

Just as animals compete with each other to see who gets a certain prey or a certain piece of land, people do it to obtain glory and personal gratification, concepts that are only understood by human beings.

Unlike animals, we can determine the causes of defeats In a very abstract sense, learn from them to strengthen our capabilities, and make ourselves better in certain aspects that we needed to perfect. To achieve that level of compression it is necessary to know how to overcome defeats properly.

How to face defeats?

In the next lines we are going to see a list of tips on how to properly manage defeats, so that we can make the best of them. Let’s see it.

1. Reformulate your idea of ​​defeat

When we are competing, 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 these scenarios, and change the perception you have of them.

In case of defeat, it is not appropriate to see it as a total loss, and feel that we have wasted our time and effort during the competition or during the preparation for it. Defeats only indicate that we can do better and they show us what aspects we must improve to do so.

Then, as you begin to see defeats as an opportunity to improve, you will notice how many things begin to make sense and you will understand more clearly the reasons why you have lost, which will allow you to increase your chances of success for the future.

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2. Manage your emotions

Emotion management is an essential process to be able to accept defeats. The ideal is to have the ability to recognize negative emotions that occur when we have lost, frustration, helplessness, anger, etc. This works to limit the power they have over us.

Once you recognize the emotions, you must accept that they are a product of defeat and prevent them from dominating you. Understand that these are temporary emotions and that the sooner you turn the page, the sooner you can get to work to see where you need to improve.

3. Leave the defeat in the past

Once the analysis of the defeat is done, It is time to turn the page and move forward with the learning that it has 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 achieve frustration and generate anxiety about the possibility of losing again.

4. Recognize the effort made

Despite not having won in the competition, it is important that you have the ability to recognize all the effort you made when preparing to compete, This must represent a victory for you on a personal level that no one can take away from you.

Competition is the last stage of a process that begins when we prepare for it. All your previous preparation, the time you invested and the knowledge you acquired stays with you and no one but you can properly value that.

5. Learn to handle criticism

It is common for defeats to be accompanied by negative criticism, which can make the process of overcoming the fact of having asked even more complicated. People who take criticism as something completely negative only sabotage themselves and sink deeper into their own frustration.

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We must understand that criticism is a side effect of not having won or even of simply having tried, and that not all criticism should be given importance. It is good to be selective with respect to the people we surround ourselves with and especially those who listen to criticism. In some cases these opinions help us improve, and In others they only exist as unfounded criticism, to hurt us.

6. Take responsibility

We must know how to recognize when we have been the main responsible for the defeat. Assume that making serious mistakes is normal and expected in any person.

It is true that sometimes there are aspects that can escape our control, fortuitous situations specific to the context and that can harm us. But when we have lost due to a specific mistake on our part, we must be able to recognize it and accept responsibility for it. It is about orienting our locus of control towards the internal and avoiding redirecting all 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 go to psychotherapy professionals. Specifically, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can be of great help in processing feelings linked to the experience of defeat and emotional imbalances that affect self-esteem.

Through the psychotherapy process you will learn to manage emotions and learn from the mistakes that may have predisposed you to reach that situation.

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