'It's hopeless, what's the point?'
'I've lost my enthusiasm and my confidence'
'When is this going to end'
'I can't do this anymore'
Discouragement can be one of the biggest killers that stops our efforts, goals and dreams in their tracks. It is the antithesis of confidence and progress, and often creeps up on us unaware. The ironic thing about discouragement is that we are operating in the opposite of the very mindset we need to pull ourselves out of it.
Over a long period of time discouragement can also become hopelessness when we've got to the point of believing that our situation is never going to change. The good news is that there are strategies and solutions to get you through these times.
4 Main Causes of Discouragement
When we're working on something long term that takes perseverance and determination, fatigue can set in. Likewise when we are going through a high stress situation that is stretching our patience and perseverance to it's limits. We can work ourselves to exhaustion; wear ourselves down physically, mentally and emotionally. We can ascribe our feelings and exhaustion to all sorts of things, even blame ourselves for not being good enough or some other excuse. The real problem is that we are burned out and need rest and refreshing.
In the last two years of owning our business and then going through 3 years of a difficult family situation, hubby and I slipped into discouragement and burn out big time. There were days when we lost hope that things were going to change or turn out well. Even now there are days when we are still aware of the toll that it has taken on our ability to work as hard and efficiently as we used to. Burn out doesn't just affect your physical body's state but your mind's ability to function as quickly and effectively as it used to, because our neural pathways become damaged in that burn out process. Self care in these times is absolutely crucial for present and post crisis health.
Often we jump into new projects with great enthusiasm and energy because it's exciting and we're highly motivated. When the newness wears off and things become more mundane, that is the danger point where fatigue and discouragement show up. It's at this point we will often leave something unfinished and struggle to stay motivated. Now is the time to take a break and come back with fresh eyes and new goals.
In among the exciting bits of life and goals, there will always be frustrations. They can be things beyond our control: interruptions, changes, excruciating details, things we can't avoid doing in order to move forward. These things require our patience, or stepping up and taking responsibility to do what needs to be done. Overcoming frustration means putting on your big girl pants, putting your head down and just dealing with the stuff that needs dealing with and pushing on.
Sometimes what we're wanting to achieve seems insurmountable. The mountain just looks too high. Doubt kicks in and says we're even foolish to try. Often this happens when obstacles seem to pile up against us, or things are taking longer than we expected. We lose confidence and lose heart. We may even lapse into a pity party (horrid things I used to be quite good at for days on end), and start complaining or blaming others.
But winners see this kind of failure as a temporary setback, and look beyond it to the bigger vision and the end goal. They don't allow themselves to be knocked down. Perseverance wears away the rock and eventually breaks through to the tipping point.
What fear is feeding your discouragement?
When hubby and I were going through our tough time, we had a couple of people outside of our business and family who didn't know us intimately, that were able to bring objective perspectives and encouragement that kept us grounded and hopeful.
Strategies That Can Help
Be encouraged. There is always hope. There is always a way through. Don't isolate yourself and look after yourself. Do the best you can and you'll make it through.
Be kind to yourself