Admitting Defeat: It's Okay to Not Be Okay

According to the Tik Tok algorithm, I fit the mold of “Gifted Kid Burnout”. I’ve always been motivated to do well in school, be as involved in extra-curriculars as possible, and constantly stride towards improving my skillset and work ethic. As someone who has been praised for various achievements since the early ages as a kindergartener, I am definitely approaching (and maybe experiencing) burnout.

All jokes and memes aside, it is really hard to come to terms with reality when you’re not reaching your goals. I feel my self-worth diminishing when I don’t accomplish maximum productivity for a day. Taking a break and giving myself much needed rest feels like giving up and accepting failure. I realize that this is unhealthy, and that life isn’t a linear climb to success, but instead is full of ups, downs, and sometimes backwards loops. Not to be the millionth, clichéd person to metaphorically compare life as a roller-coaster ride—but it’s true! So, I am working towards being able to admit my defeat, because it’s okay to not be okay.

woman sitting in front of Macbook Photo by from Pexels

But it’s so hard to surrender to yourself. When you spend every waking hour working and improving to some degree, it’s hard to just simply give up even when you know you should. Asking for help is like willingly scratching your fingers down a chalkboard and admitting your low points feels deprecating. Even when your plate is spilling over with obligations and prioritization becomes a puzzle, it is hard to take a break. Despite every fiber in me wanting to persevere when I know it is impossible, I am learning to accept when it’s time to put on the brakes and just simply stop.

I don’t have to always be on my A Game. I can’t constantly operate at optimal productivity levels while relying on boundless amounts of cold brew. And I definitely don’t have to throw a veil over myself to mask how deeply I am struggling. After all, if someone expects me to plaster on a façade during my worst, they clearly don’t deserve me at my best. I’m only human and I don’t need to hide my lows to conceal the fact that I’m not always at my highs.

Daria Shevtsova Whether it’s while I’m leading a meeting in front of 120 members over Zoom, posting an insight of my life on social media, or simply hanging out with close friends, I can lower my shields and reveal my true, authentic self—no matter where I am on my not-so-linear path. What might be even worse than admitting defeat is setting unrealistic expectations that affect others. It's an endless cycle of everyone trying to impress, not back down, and compete in an unwinnable game.

So maybe sometimes I actually can’t continue to juggle school, the looming of graduation, coping during a pandemic, and all the other complications of a newly twenty-two-year-old. And, maybe, there isn’t a solution or really any necessary step to take. Instead, maybe it’s just time to stop and admit defeat before resuming my bumpy, ever-changing little not-so-linear journey that's called life.