Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sure-fire Way To Handle Discouragement

Do you ever get discouraged?  The definition of discouragement is 1) the act of making something less likely to happen or of making people less likely to do something 2)  a feeling of having lost hope or confidence

smiling baby
Find someone to make you smile
If that is the definition of discouragement, then what is the definition of encouragement?  It is 1) the act of making something more appealing or more likely to happen 2) something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident

The interesting thing about the definition of both words is that discouragement and encouragement are an act that WE do.  It is not done TO us.  We perform the act.  We choose to be discouraged in a situation or encouraged by it and make the decision to change it.

In our darkest times, we need to find something or someone who we know will make us smile. It helps change our perspective and view the situation rationally.

we need others
Everyone needs someone

I believe that when we are discouraged most of us will look to others for encouragement. We talk to our peers about our situation hoping they will encourage us or perceive the situation from a different perspective.  We seek wisdom from various sources or rationalize that things aren't as bad as they appear.

No matter how positive or upbeat we live our lives, there are times we can get discouraged.  We didn't get the job we were hoping to get.  The relationship we were in didn't turn out the way we expected it.  The money we received was not as much as we had hoped.  We didn't win.  We got bad news.  The list goes on....
Note that discouragement is not described as being happy or unhappy.   We can be discouraged about the way something turned out without being unhappy about it.  This is where the turning point is -- what we do with that emotion.

We can be discouraged that we didn't win but choose to be encouraged to try again.  We can be discouraged about hearing bad news we were not expecting, but we can learn from it and figure out how to turn it around.

The second part of the two definitions is an emotion - a feeling of having lost hope OR a feeling of being more hopeful, more determined.

This is the way I have chosen to live my life.  I am a realist.  One of my mottoes has been:  Faith does not deny reality.  I refuse to deny the reality of a situation.  Bad.  Stuff.  Happens. That is a fact and one we cannot deny.  How we respond is of utmost importance.  Do we get angry?  discouraged?  vengeful?  or........ do we accept reality and determine to move forward?

I understand that sometimes we can be overwhelmed by what happens and it is very easy to get discouraged.  It is a lot more difficult when you are feeling low to change the direction our thoughts want to take us.  We have to choose to encourage ourselves.  But, we also have to remember that faith does not deny reality.  We have to believe things will change.  We have to believe we can change them before they will turn around.  The reality is -- it happened.  The faith (hope) is -- things will get better.  Herein lies our encouragement. 

Discouragement is a powerful weapon.  It is a weapon that wants to rob us of being encouraged.  It is a weapon that will destroy us if we allow it.  We must choose not to allow it to take hold of our thoughts and our actions.

There is no way we can prepare ourselves for bad news unless we choose to live in a negative world, always expecting the worst to happen.  The secret is to NOT allow discouragement to take root, to immediately turn our thoughts to what we can do to improve the situation.  It takes time and it takes work, but it will give us a strength we did not know we had.

My motto is:  BUY THE THOUGHT AND YOU BUY THE LIE.  If we believe the negative thoughts we hear, then we will be controlled  by them.

What about you?  Is it easy for you to look at the bright side?  Have you ever had a situation where you know your attitude made it go one way or the other?

AND REMEMBER -- a HUG speaks volumes 
 Give them generously.

dog hug

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