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The Antidote to Discouragement: 6 Steps to Get Past It

04/15/2013 08:13 am ET | Updated Jun 15, 2013
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When things don't go the way I want them to in my life, or I attempt to make something happen and it's not happening, I can start to feel discouraged and lose my enthusiasm. Here are some of the ways I have found that help me overcome a feeling that can be debilitating and limit who we are.

We've all had this experience of going after something. You're trying for a job you really want, you've gone to interview after interview, and you can't land it. Or you're dating and you have a relationship here and there, but you just can't find the love you long for. Maybe you've been trying to lose weight -- you've lost three pounds, but that's nowhere near the 20 you are hoping to lose. Or you have a book you want to write, a song you want to produce, a career you want to jump start; as much as you try to go after whatever "it" is, you just can't get "it." Then you hit the giant wall known as discouragement.

Now, you go about your days, going through the motions with a heavy heart about it all, and you can't plug into that essential enthusiasm you had when you first started your attempts. This discouragement that burdens all of us, I am certain, is one of the greatest killers of the human spirit. Let me break this terrible feeling down for you, quite simply as a word: DIS-COURAGE-MENT:

  • DIS -- is a root word that denotes a sense of failure.
  • COURAGE -- comes from the French word Coeur, which means heart.
  • MENT -- turns a verb into a noun, it makes an action a thing.

So when you add the "DIS" to your "COURAGE" it implies that you have withdrawn your heart energy. Now, that feeling starts to take over and our heart is sapped of its power, and the connection propelling us forward is weakened. We are no longer engaging the flow of our heart that keeps us moving and constantly pushing us forward with momentum. Instead, our undermining voice bombards us with statements like, "I am NEVER going to do that. This is NEVER going to happen. I am NEVER going to get that. This will NEVER work out. What's wrong with me? I might as well give up." At this point, the statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we start to build on our projected failures.

Now, we don't necessarily do these things consciously. Sometimes this belief, this thought, this emotion creeps in like the tiniest of spiders, and it quietly spins a web around us. This web is a field of unrequited and unfulfilled desires. As it grows, we shut off our creativity, we shut out possibilities, we lose perspective and we miss opportunities. Being stuck in this web is absolutely miserable. However, through this misery we must remember that without a doubt, our greatest test is staying open. It is absolutely essential that we don't shut ourselves off. In order to stay open, it is crucial to not become too attached to the thing we are going after. Otherwise, we run the risk of turning the journey that we started with the best of intentions into a gruesome process, and our joy is snuffed out of us.

So what is a girl (or a boy) to do?

  1. SEE IT: Right then, in the moment that you sense yourself feeling discouraged, you must realize it fully and see it for what it is.
  2. NAME IT: Now that you recognize it, you have to admit what it is and call it by its name, "discouragement." When you name the negative emotion, it loosens its hold on you, and you take authority over it.
  3. ACCEPT IT: You see it for what it is and you don't resist or judge it.
  4. TALK IT OUT: Find a person that you feel safe with, someone who knows and understands you and confess this feeling of discouragement. This way, you start to release the feeling of confinement that discouragement creates.
  5. HELP SOMEONE ELSE: The fastest way to get back to your heart is to extend yourself and give to someone else with anything they might need.
  6. LET IT GO: Now that you've helped someone else, you probably realize you are bigger than the feeling of discouragement. Now let it go and focus on the bigger vision to reach a higher altitude for yourself.

Take hold of the inner thread that connects you to your heart, to the source of your being, to your anchor. It is at this point that you must get back to your gratitude, take some time to pause and start to think of all of the things you are grateful for. Truly and deeply, let the gratitude sink in (be grateful for the miracle of you and the extraordinary reality that you are alive!) and this can be your inner springboard to launch you back into the glorious possibilities of an unbound heart.

Please share with us your experience with the feeling of discouragement and ways of getting past it.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

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