Roger has been working two jobs for years just to make ends meet. Unfortunately, he recently lost the higher paying of his jobs. As if that weren’t enough, his son was also just suspended from school for drug possession. Roger feels that he has failed as a father and blames himself for not being home enough with his son.
Amanda longs to have a husband and a family of her own. Now that most of her friends are married, she has been thinking a lot about her ex-boyfriend of five years. She blames herself for their breakup and thinks about how things could have been different if she had only been a better girlfriend. She has been spending most nights at home alone and her friends are beginning to worry.
DEFINITIONS & KEY THOUGHTS
Discouragement involves a lack of confidence or feeling of sadness that is the result of either a real or perceived event in life. Two of the main underlying causes that contribute to discouragement include lack of confidence in oneself and lack of hope for the future.
Discouragement can reinforce negative thinking because it in itself is a feeling or emotional state. One who is discouraged must learn how to control their mind, and thus learn how to control their discouragement.
Discouraged people usually blame themselves for their disheartened feelings.
Discouragement can lead too depression if it is not dealt with. One must learn how to deal with their lack of confidence or feelings of sadness in order to avoid depression from occurring.
Discouragement occurs when one carries all of their own fears, worries and cares until they eventually collapse under all of the weight. It can also occur as a result of out of control events, events in one’s control that were handled poorly, and failure (in the past, occurring, or the future potential for).
Take responsibility. At times discouragement is the result of something that the individual could have controlled (i.e., being late to work or failing out of college). Such events shouldn’t be seen as hopeless disasters, but rather, wake-up calls or as opportunities to improve.
Get accountable. If discouragement has been a lifelong struggle, it is likely that the individual will need someone to be accountable for his or her negative feelings.
Grow. In either case the individual needs to see that their discouragement is an opportunity to grow and to rediscover who they really are. They need to examine their own life, and in doing so may find that they need to change some of their goals or behaviors. The individual should also realize that it is normal for feelings of discouragement creep into everyone’s lives from time to time- even into those of the most confident people- and that it is okay.
For those who are trying to get over discouragement it is important to:
- Be realistic. Understand that discouragement is just another part of life. It is often due to situations that are beyond one’s control, rather than one’s own failures.
- Rethink goals. Seek out a fresh direction or outlook. Plan for an optimistic future.
- No “what ifs”. Stop thinking about what might have been because it will only result in defeat.
- Do not focus on feelings. Don’t use feelings as a way of determining how to handle discouragement. Feelings change drastically with every mood. They key is to focus on changing and doing.
- Keep a journal. Record each discouragement and turn it into an encouragement by recording what was done to handle it.
- Be ready. Keep open to change and whatever else may come.