Discouragement

Artwork / Photography by Tracy Sheppard

The ‘Valley of Discouragement’. Not exactly on my ‘adventure list’ for Summer. Certainly not a place I had planned on visiting while creating my plans for the month. But that bold, ‘You are here’ stared me in the face, nonetheless. Right smack in the middle of disappointment. That melancholy spot right between ‘loss of confidence’ and ‘the blues’.

How in the world did I get here? I was on the path of positivity, the clear cut trail of productivity. I was forging ahead full steam on the road of life. On a mission to accomplish my grand goals and purpose.

This isn’t a place I frequent. What the heck happened? I don’t begin my stories, with ‘It was a dark and stormy night…” I am that girl who starts out the day by experiencing the beauty of a sunrise or appreciating the blooming of a tiny flower.

The fact of the matter is; discouragement is a place many of us may find ourselves as unwanted tourists. We can be heading in the direction of our dreams only to be met by feelings of inadequacy or fear. We all have these obstacles and bumps in the road. This is life. The high notes and the low notes. This dramatic range is what creates a beautiful song. These ‘mismatched’ threads which are woven throughout life, are what create our beautiful tapestry.

Here is the thing. When we find ourselves in this place, and we haven’t adequately ‘packed for the trip’; there are a few essentials to put into immediate practice. Implementing these basics can make all the difference.

  • Focus on strengths. Those unique traits that make you uniquely ‘you’.
  • Nourish. Now is the time to pay attention to what’s on your plate. Certain foods make a huge difference in our mood.
  • Sleep. Our bodies don’t function properly without at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep consistently per night.
  • Pause. When we are constantly rushing, trying to meet deadlines and crowd too much in one 24 hour period; something has to give. Usually, it is our health. Mental and physical health will suffer
  • Get quiet. I mean; really quiet. Listen to that small voice. Pay attention to what your inner voice is saying. Your intuition is surprisingly accurate.
  • Stop comparing. I could really write an entire chapter on this one. Comparison robs us of joy. Stop doing it. Stop wishing for something else.
  • Purge. If it is not creating joy in life; if possible, get rid of it. Let those things go that aren’t creating positive energy.
  • Examine. This exercise needs to be carried out without judgement. Allow your feelings, but be honest as to why they exist. There is usually something else beneath the surface. Be real with yourself.
  • Surround yourself with inspiration. I don’t care if that inspiration comes from art, books, music, quotes, or people. Fill your space with everything uplifting.
  • Fake it until you make it. Practice your best ‘Wonder Woman’ [insert favorite epic super human character] pose. Practice, practice, practice.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have these moments. Some of us more than others. They are as natural as the bends in a stream. What we have to realize is that we don’t have to ‘unpack’ here. Visit, pay your respects, and move on. Gather up the lessons, and head back on the road. Like any place temporary; it’s critical to pay attention to what the scenery had to offer, otherwise, we will end up revisiting this unwanted destination.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes;

“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow”
Mary Anne Radmacher

 

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