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I get discouraged.  When I do, it's a very powerful feeling.  I feel as if my enthusiasm, my drive, my energy, my optimism all have left me.  I feel that all that I've worked for--whatever it might be--has been for naught, and that things just don't make sense.  After all, I've tried and I've tried to do what is right and what I'm supposed to do, yet the results still haven't been what I feel they should be.

It's discouraging that I can't find an agent or a publisher for my novels.  It's discouraging that I earn less than half the pay at my current job that I would be earning elsewhere under the exact same circumstances.  It's discouraging that people still judge and criticize each other when we really should be looking at ourselves and practicing the ideal of "live and let live."

But I find that as time goes on, discouragement becomes more fleeting.  It's not something that ever has lasted a very long time for me, but it lasts an even shorter amount of time nowadays, for I recognize that my discouragement is my reaction.  I used to think that other people could discourage me, but now I realize that that's simply not true.  Other people always can and will do as they wish, even with me as their target if they so choose, but my feelings are tied up in my reactions to them.  My novels may never sell, but my feelings about that depend on how I react to that truth (while it still is the truth, at least).

I like the word "discourage"--it implies a stealing away of courage, a loss of courage.

It's even more interesting when you look at it as part of the group of "dis-" words, like dismay, disrespect, disillusioned, or discombobulated.  They're fascinating words.  But in the case of discourage, we have to ask ourselves--do we ever really lose our courage, or is it just pushed down by something else for a while?  When I'm standing at the edge of a tall cliff and my fear of heights kicks in, that doesn't mean that I'm no longer a courageous person.  It simply means that at that moment, my fear of heights is stronger than my courage, which I always can feel trying to overcome that fear of heights (though it never seems to succeed!).

So when I'm discouraged, I have to ask myself:  Which feeling or emotion is overwhelming my courage right now?  How would I be thinking and what would I be doing if this feeling weren't so strong right now?  Is it a feeling of having been betrayed?  Is it a feeling of uselessness or of failure?  Is it the feeling that I'll never do anything right?  There are many different feelings that can lessen my courage and make me feel weaker than I truly am.

I have to remember that, though:  They make me feel weaker than I truly am.

Discouragement visits all of us from time to time.  We all get the feeling that no matter what we do, it's somehow not worthwhile.  Our challenge is to accept that feeling for exactly what it is--a temporary state that in no way defines who we are or what we're able to do.  If we're able to accept that feeling, we can allow our true courage to come back and take its place, where it truly belongs, and our discouragement will quickly become encouragement.  It's not that the negative becomes positive, but that the positive is able to take its true place at the forefront of our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings.

Let your discouragement have its five minutes in the sun, but even as you do so keep in mind that you soon will overcome it and return to a more positive state.  No matter what anyone may do to discourage us, no matter what may happen, we know that our value isn't found in what others think of us or what others do to us, nor in the things that we "accomplish" or the number of material goods in our homes.  Our value is found in who we are and what we do with that, and if we can continually encourage ourselves, our discouragement will have less space in which to live and grow.


Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure
are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Dale Carnegie


The most essential factor is persistence--the determination
never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened
by the discouragement that must inevitably come.

James Whitcomb

Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into
manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before
the big achievement comes apparent failure and discouragement.

Florence Scovel Shinn


Yes, people will discourage you, often unintentionally.  But what
do we do with that discouragement?  Do we take it to heart and
allow it to stop us from reaching our ultimate goal of spreading
love, or do we polish it up and put it on a shelf with the rest of
our discouragements, and move on with our lives,
continuing to work towards our goals?

tom walsh


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Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement --
discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from
trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Discouragement often is a result of listening to people
who have their own best interests planned for your life.

Doug Firebaugh


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


When we yield to discouragement it is usually because
we give too much thought to the past and to the future.  

St. Therese of Lisieux


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Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its
own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.

Og Mandino


It's discouraging how discouraged some people can get.  When you take
the dis off discourage, you have what you need to press on:  courage.
When things don't happen "on schedule," hire a squad of cheerleaders
to remind you, "Don't get pissed off, take the dis off."

John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Life 101


Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.

Neal A. Maxwell

When discouraged, some people will give up, give in or give out far
too early.  They blame their problems on difficult situations,
unreasonable people or their own inabilities.  When discouraged,
other people will push back that first impulse to quit, push down
their initial fear, push through feelings of helplessness and push
ahead.  Theyíre less likely to find something to blame
and more likely to find a way through.

Steve Goodier

Discouragement is the illegitimate child of false expectations.

Lloyd John Ogilvie


Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a choice that you make.

Charles Stanley


Do not be discouraged if your plans do not succeed the first time.
No one learns to walk by taking only one step.

Catherine Pulsifer


Nearly every person who develops an idea works it up to the point
where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged.
Thatís not the place to become discouraged.

Thomas Edison


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Any person can work when every stroke of one's hands brings down
the fruit rattling from the tree. . . but to labor in season and out of
season, under every discouragement--that requires
a heroism which is transcendent.

Henry Ward Beecher

Donít accept discouragement; keep going!  Less stress will result
by not allowing discouragement to be your attitude.

Catherine Pulsifer


What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the
silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those
who fight on in the face of discouragement.

Napoleon Hill



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