Discouragement is something that every individual experiences. Whether it’s in regards to relationships, current struggles, or just basic expectations that we have set for ourselves, it’s completely normal to feel like we’re not quite living up to the life that we were meant to lead. You know, just four years ago when I graduated high school, I would have expected myself to be planning my wedding by now: I would have been in a “happy” relationship, prepared to build my future with the one person that I loved more than anything, and I would probably be looking into getting a puppy or something. Oh, and I would also have a job right out of college that I was automatically a good fit in. Yep, no. That’s not the case. However, I could live in a nostalgic state of mind and envy about what could have been, or I could face it head on and shift the sails to the new direction in the wind.
Here are the Top Six things to remember when you’re feeling discouraged:
1. Discouragement is a natural instinct. How you respond to it, however, is completely in your control. Let me say it louder for those in the back – You are in control of your own happiness! Now, I’m not discrediting depression. And I’m also not discrediting the fact that it is completely okay to feel down on your luck. But don’t let that pity party carry on for too long, and do not self-diagnose yourself with something that isn’t even there. If you want to be mopey that something didn’t work out the way you were hoping, that’s all you. But, personally, I say pick yourself back up and keep fighting. You’ll thank yourself for that later on down the road.
2. Keep an open heart and an open mind. If you are religious at all, this is the right time for me to point out that God has a plan for you. He knows what He is doing. Maybe you have to be broken down to see and appreciate what His plans are, but He has something extraordinary in store for you, and I have no doubt about it. If you don’t want to talk religion (which is fair enough – I won’t force it on anybody), then think about it in regards to yourself. If you are so caught up with having a certain person in your life or a specific job, you won’t be open to the idea of anything different. You know the saying that “when one door closes, another one opens”? You will never see that the other one opened in the first place if you are too busy trying to find the key for the locked door.
3. You’re not alone. You aren’t the only person in this world that has had a broken heart or that has had problems with their family members or has had problems finding a job right out of college. The world really isn’t out to get you. I promise. Sometimes it’s easier to move on with your life when you surround yourself with other people that are experiencing the same things you are. Go out and do something different. Go dancing. Join a book club. Do something new and surround yourself with new faces. Or, better yet, reach out to people that you already know but have lost contact with. People care about you. Let them in on your struggles and your hopes for the future. Everybody needs a cheer-leading squad.
4. Remember your own past. Think back on your own past and remember a time that you wanted something badly and yet it didn’t happen. Now, remember what resulted in this discouragement. Did you have to change something? Did you become closer to somebody through this process? Did you learn something about yourself through all of this? Did you grow at all? If you’re reading this, let me applaud you for a moment. You survived. Check that out. And you’ll survive from this, too.
5. I hate to say it, but… You’ll appreciate aspects about your life more when you actually have to work towards it. You aren’t entitled to a job just because you graduated college. You aren’t entitled to an engagement ring because you were in a relationship for several years. And you aren’t entitled to not having to work for what you want. The best things in life are the things that we cherish the most – and, frankly, you’ll appreciate things a lot less when they are easy to obtain.
6. Be realistic with yourself. When it comes to people, usually your first impression of them is the accurate impression. Stick with your gut instincts and actually listen to what people tell you rather than be blinded by what you wish the outcome would be. If somebody tells you that they don’t want a serious relationship, don’t think that you’ll change their mind. If you get a weird feeling that a job isn’t the right fit for you, you may want to reconsider accepting it/staying with it. You’re never truly stuck. Let me say that again: You are never truly stuck.
Keep your chins up, ya’ll, and stay optimistic. If you want the change, be the change.