In the first few months of the COVID pandemic, I didn’t know anyone who had contracted the virus. Now, I know many, including family members. I’m not sure any of us expected the pandemic to drag on this long. It’s hard not to become discouraged by the time frame and wonder if our lives will ever resemble the normal we once knew.
To discourage means to dishearten, to cause to lose hope, enthusiasm, or courage. Much in our world, and current circumstances, has the potential to cause us to feel disheartened.
Following are a few tips to combat discouragement:
Discouragement comes in many forms and from many sources. Your greatest source of discouragement may come in the form of a person who constantly criticizes you. Or your sources of discouragement may revolve around unrealized dreams or unrecognized potential.
Sometimes, we become our own worst enemy when it comes to discouragement. We compare ourselves to others, and their accomplishments, or focus on times when we feel we have failed instead of acknowledging positive outcomes.
Perhaps our current greatest source of discouragement is a nearly year-long pandemic, a virus that continues to spread and alter our lives. When this type of situation hovers, it takes foresight and faith to realize hope is on the horizon.
By identifying your main sources of discouragement, you can begin to see them more objectively and take steps to combat them.
Remember Successes and Blessings
For some reason, we often focus more on failures than successes and this negative perspective leads to discouragement.
I sometimes experience discouragement in my writing career. Like most things in life, writing and publishing is a journey, and the trip is not always straightforward or smooth. Rejection is part of the process, and when rejections come, I gain perspective and move forward by remembering successes. You can do the same.
Success isn’t just about achievements. We are also successful when we are attuned to all the ways we are blessed. During this season of thankfulness, make a list of all for which you are grateful. Ruminate on that list and count your blessings. Focusing on positive aspects of your life will help you defeat discouragement.
Give and Graciously Receive Encouragement
Do you encourage others? If not, why? Your words of encouragement to others may be the spark they need to regain forward motion and move beyond discouragement. When you encourage someone, you also redirect your thoughts in a more positive direction.
Conversely, how well do you receive encouragement? Have you ever been so downcast that you rejected the attempts of others to pull you out of a mental or emotional pit? When someone offers encouragement, graciously accept it, be thankful for their efforts, take that encouragement to heart, and trust that your situation will improve.
Hold on to Hope
Hope is an integral component in combating discouragement. Hope sees beyond current circumstances and expects change. Hope provides a broader point of view and trusts for the future.
Acknowledge Your Source of Strength
One of the greatest falsehoods we buy into is self-sufficiency. We wrongly believe we should always be strong and capable. In fact, we often battle feelings of incapability and weakness. Scripture tells us that when we are weak we have the opportunity to draw strength from God. He offers the type of encouragement and strength that can’t be found in a book, a fellow human, a program, or an activity. By tapping into the power and presence of God, you avail yourself to unlimited resources, the kind that help you combat ongoing discouragement.
Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! Psalm 31:24 VOICE
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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