Discouragement is something we all experience in life. Nobody is exempt from it. The question becomes how do you deal with it when it comes your way and how to set an example that will help your child to overcome it too! The past few years have been beyond difficult. Many people are struggling to come back from the pandemic, economic downturn, and the exhaustion that comes from trying to back into everyday life. What steps can you begin to take to overcome discouragement?
Discouragement is Choice
Everyone gets discouraged at some point in their lives. You are not a lone if you feel that way! Discouragement can cause you to make one of two choices: 1) Do you get up or 2) Do you give up?
Last summer I had a flood in my home that caused $44,000 of damage. Looking at the damage was a real low point for me. I had just bought the condo 3 years before and put a lot into remodeling it. I was completely discouraged to say the least to see the total destruction from the flood. I fell apart for a few days until I realized it was up to me to start looking at the actions I had to begin to take to change my circumstances. I began to small steps in order to clean up the mess. I realized my perspective had to change. I stop wallowing in self pity and start bouncing back. Discouragement is many times a choice. What is your perspective of it and how does your perspective impact your child’s perspective? What choice are you making; are you getting up or are giving up?
How are you Talking to Yourself
We all have self talk. Many times the things we say to ourselves are worse than anything we would say to anybody else. With the terrible things we say to ourselves is it any wonder why we get discouraged? Listen to yourself and what you are saying? Is your self talk devaluing you and making you feel discouraged? Are you critical of everything you do? Turn that negative talk around and start talking in a different way that is far more encouraging to yourself. Think about a friend or family member that is discouraged, what would you say to them. How would you coach them to get out of their discouragement? Many of us would do well to listen to the advice we give others and begin to use our own advise for ourselves. Again, get a perspective on what has caused your discouragement and begin to talk yourself through it. Is it as bad as you think or have blown it up to be bigger than you are?
When the quarantine happened I was so discouraged because before this, Pathways was really doing well. We were looking at building a summer camp and expanding our services. All the sudden everything went up in smoke with the advent of Covid. How would we take the classes we had and pivot to a virtual format? I was so discouraged trying to think about what to do and how to save Pathways from complete fallout.
The key was switching from my negative hopeless talk to taking positive action and getting help. We made it through the pandemic and today we have grown 30% larger in our registrations than pre-pandemic levels. We had our first summer camp in 2022 with 45 registrations and 37 on a waitlist! The pandemic that overwhelmed me with discouragement, ultimately resulted in reaching a victory. It proved to all of us we could make it through some of the roughest times!
Get Help or Give Help!
Discouragement is hard to overcome, and if you are struggling too long with discouragement or repeated bouts of it, get professional help. So often I see people get down because the mountain standing in front of them seems ominously high. Don’t sit in discouragement long. Take action and get the support you need. Get professional help if your skies are turning dark and hope seems too far a way. On the other side, if you also see somebody else struggling, don’t sit on the side line. Instead, sit next to them and and lend a hand to help. One person stopping to care can be the light of hope at the end of a person's darkest tunnel. Hope is one of the greatest gifts you can give to somebody else. It will also make you feel better! There is no greater example you can give your children than teaching them to help and give hope to others.
How are you struggling with discouragement and what are some things you are doing to change your circumstances from discouragement to encouragement?
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