It struck me recently: why on earth do we fall for the plight of discouragement, for it’s a state of mind based in a reality of something we see... one version of events?
There are other versions equally visible.
Why do we not believe those ones?
Sometimes we’re prone for situational reasons, but it’s mainly because we’re conditioned to suffer discouragement. We learned it from an early age, and it was reinforced so many times it became part of the way we coped with losses and rejection.
But we can buck these trends, and this is chiefly how resilience is achieved. In a sense, we transform the effect and the meaning of the discouragement, whilst recognising it as an event that should not stop us.
Acknowledging the Truth
When discouraging things happen to us, we don’t have to choose to be discouraged, though we should always recognise them for the events they are.
“So, that job I went for I didn’t get...” or “He clearly doesn’t find me attractive...” or “I’ve lost that important position of status...”
These are mini biblical-Job-like events and for a short time we’re bound to sit in our ashes and contemplate the misery of it all. Everyone should do this. To feel the experience of pain is to be human.
What we shouldn’t do, however, is languish there for longer than it takes to be honest with ourselves. This can be achieved, in many cases, almost instantaneously.
Transforming the Potential Effects and Meaning of these Events
This is our opportunity. At each point of grief—if we can manage it, because they’re highly situational—there are opportunities to respond in better ways. Doesn’t always mean we’ll achieve it, but there is potential.
Knowing the truth of what hit us and possibly why, and even though we’re hurting and confused, we can now begin to manually transform the effects and meaning of the event into more encouraging ones, if we can.
Due to the nature of loss, sometimes it’s not our destiny to make a speedy recovery. We cannot outdo God’s plan.
But we can acknowledge the theory that asks the question, “Why ever be discouraged,” for these are states of mind we’re musing on, and the mind can believe better things if we’re able to see them.
Many discouragements are choices to remain there. It seems easier to stay discouraged than to shift into a more self-encouraged or God-encouraged state. And that’s true. Arranging such transformation takes work, but the good thing about that is it’s only a process—anyone can do it.
Why be discouraged when there is the possibility for joy to swing back through? And even if it’s a question that has a meaningful answer (that discouragement is real, and to sit there is right), there’s no harm in challenging it for times when there aren’t meaningful answers to the question and we can recover quicker.
Could it just be that the view of our worlds in discouragement are tainted, and that that taint can often be removed easier than we think?
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Michael Hyatt.