Feeling Defeated Quotes

“Life is like a boxing match, defeat is declared not when you fall, but when you refuse to stand again.” – Kristen Ashley

Everybody has had the experience of feeling defeated and discouraged. There is a universal resonance with the story of the hero who was down and out, ready to quit and give up. It’s natural, we’re all human beings. 

The word defeat comes from the Old French desfait, meaning to undo, to reduce to near nothing. When we feel like we’ve lost something, our energy is drained, and it is this lack of eagerness that we feel when we say we are defeated. But just because we feel defeated, it doesn’t mean that we are. Our energy naturally ebbs and flows, and while your brain might tell you that you want to quit one day, it’s likely to turn around after a good night sleep and say something completely different. 

Side note: If you are feeling defeated and depressed, it may be necessary to get some help. Here’s a list of crisis helplines by country if you’re having suicidal thoughts.

What does it mean to feel defeated?

Feeling defeated means that first and foremost you have something you were up against and you lost. This may be a goal, a relationship, a health problem, school, work, or any other challenge. 

To be defeated means that you have a sense that you’re down and out. The challenge in front may even appear to be insurmountable. Remember, the feeling is not the fact. Just because you experience an emotion it doesn’t make it a reality. For example, when the body is sick we often find ourselves impatient, negative and close-minded. The same is happening when you are exhausted, your mind starts to create images of a version of you that has lost.

For that reason, it’s important to stay motivated. To read positive quotes and be inspired by people who have overcome the same challenges that you’re going through.

The following quotes and sayings, should you be willing to look deeply into their meaning, will help you to see things from a new perspective, and hopefully inspire you to push on and keep going.

Quotes about feeling defeated in life

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald 

“The world isn’t sunshine and rainbows. It’ll beat you down if you let it, and nothing hits harder than life.” – Rocky Balboa

“I accept this defeat with humility and courage, and I welcome the next challenge with open arms.” – Anonymous

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” – Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, but even he suffered several loses. The difference is, he never chose to take any individual defeat as final. Ali always waited till he regained his strength and came back to face his challenges even after his loss to Leon Spinks, even after being stripped of his boxing license for opposing the Vietnam War.

“Perhaps someday I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” – Sylvia Plath

“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” – Ronald Reagan

“Setbacks in life are opportunities to perform at a new level.” – Willian Cranch Bond

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” – Rainer Mike Rilke

“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.” – Fernando Sabino

How do I get over a defeat?

Getting over a defeat requires patience, time and focus. Here are five tips to help you overcome a setback.

Define the enemy. When we say that we feel defeated we are presuming there is something that has defeated us. If we don’t even know what that thing is, it means that we don’t have clarity over our emotions. Sit down and really meditate on why you feel this way. Did you get rejected at a job interview? Are you trying to work on a project but you can’t muster the energy? What it is that has you feeling beaten?

Define failure and success. If you have now decided that you feel defeated, then you need to define what success and failure looks like. Take for example the case feeling like a loser at work. What does success at work mean to you? What does failure mean?  How can you try and win when you don’t even know what it is that you are losing?

Reframe Your Situation. When we feel like giving up, like we’ve lost and no longer have the energy to continue, it’s important to take a step back and get some new perspective. Instead of saying, I’ve lost. Say, I feel defeat today, but tomorrow is another opportunity to get back on the horse. 

Paint a picture of what success looks like. You cannot move forward without knowing which way to go. Once you’ve defined what success looks like, paint a clear image of the scenario in your mind. Some people call this positive visualisation. Your mind is attracted to what it knows, play a successful scenario in your head over and over, like a musician rehearsing a performance, and you’ll start to unconsciously gravitate towards optimism. 

When Life Knocks You Down

Inspirational quotes about feeling defeated

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” – Zig Ziglar

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Nelson Mandela

“True defeat only happens if you stop. If you never stop, you’re never truly defeated.” – Anonymous

“He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity.” – William Samuel Johnson

“Defeat your fears and you can never be defeated.” – Jeffrey Fry

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

“See any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn’t work. Dare to let go and you won’t lose a thing except for a punishing idea.” – Guy Finley

“The defeat in your head is not the same as the defeat in your heart. If your head tells you to stop, try listening to your heart.” – Anonymous

“The gospel is for the defeated, not the dominant.” – Tullian Tchividjian

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

This is a brilliant quote that captures the problem with turning our experiences into our identity. Just because something happens in life doesn’t mean we are that thing. For example, we experience the flu we don’t identify as sick forever. If we experience a defeat, we should likewise not get discouraged, there is always time to turn things around!

How do I stop myself from discouraging myself?

When a strong emotion catches hold of us it can create habit patterns in our mind. For example, negative emotions can create the habit of feeling like you’re not good enough. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to overcome the habit of discouraging yourself; do the opposite. You need to positively encourage yourself, over and over again.  

Quotes for when you feel like giving up and quitting

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino

“Tough times never last. Tough people do.” – Robert Schuller

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

“When you feel too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated, you are undeniably on the way to success.” – Dr Prem Jagyasi

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Ernest Hemingway

“Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.” – Richard M. Nixon

“You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you’re still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.” – Steve Maraboli

When You Feel Like Giving Up

Bible quotes about feeling defeated

The themes of battle, victory and defeat run consistently throughout the bible. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, agnostic, or atheist, you may still be able to find comfort in these words which have served so many people in history. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crush; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – Corinthians 4:8

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” – Corinthians 5:7

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” – Thessalonians 2:11-12

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” – Lamentations 3:22

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – Corinthians 16:13

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” – Psalm 34:19

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

“Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-56

“Taste and see that the Lord is god; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8

When You Feel Like Quitting

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Ben Fishel

Ben is an author, psychotherapist and the creator of Project Monkey Mind, a blog that looks at Psychology and Spirituality to find practical wisdom for the digital age. He holds an MSc. in Applied Neuroscience from King's College London and a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Queensland.

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