17 September 2015

I Do Get Discouraged

When I started Living Life Fully all those years ago, my goal was to present positive words on life in order to provide people with encouraging material that might be able to help them through difficult times in their lives, or even to help them maintain their positive attitudes.  I knew that the positive quotations and passages that I had read had always helped me, and I wanted to share that source of encouragement and motivation with the world--and the Internet actually gave me the possibility of doing so.

With all of the focus on the positive, though, sometimes I feel a little bit guilty when I feel things like discouragement and sadness.  My brain tells me that there's no reason to feel discouraged, but the feeling is still there.  It happens over many things--relationships, money, work, projects, writing.  Sometimes things seem to pile up--car problems and money problems and job problems at the same time--and the discouragement becomes an unfocused sense that "nothing ever goes right, no matter how hard I try."

In the quotation below, the writer says that people won "because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."  I don't buy that completely--I think that discouragement is completely natural sometimes, as long as we treat it as a temporary feeling and work ourselves past it.  Discouragement can actually be a great motivational tool if we tell ourselves "I don't want to feel like this any more, so I'm going to do what's necessary to move on past the feeling."

Often, talking about what's making us feel this way is enough to help us to see that things aren't so bad.  Getting advice from others never hurts, either, whether we follow the advice or not.  But the key is to remember that all of our situations are temporary, and that discouragement occurs when we're afraid that there will be no changes in the future, that things are going to continue being just as they are now.  But we can't know the future, so it's important that we stay focused on the here and now.  What can I do now to try to improve things?  Or should I just keep on keeping on, doing what I know in my heart is right, in spite of false evidence from the world that I'm failing?

I'm discouraged now.  That's why I'm writing this.  Because as I address the discouragement in terms that are as objective as I can make them, I see that there really is no need for my discouragement--it's a very real feeling that I'm not going to deny, but I'm also not going to let it control me or my life.  There's too much life that I would miss out on if I were to focus on what seems to be going wrong, so I'll focus on the things that are going right and do my best to do things now that may help to make sure that the future turns out better than it seems it might.

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually
encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed.  They
won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

Bertie Charles Forbes

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