March 27 – Discouragement

We can easily become discouraged when we encounter difficulties in the midst of making a significant change in our lives. Old habits die hard they say, and for good reason. The habit loop, the neural pathways we build when we repeat a particular activity and reward enough times, is extremely hard to break. Change takes time. It takes gradual steps over a long period to accomplish, and occasionally we will backslide. The important thing is that we not let ourselves become discouraged, but continue to push on.

photo of forest with fog

On the topic of discouragement, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“What a beautiful expression of discouragement! . . . Tracks that lead from somewhere to nowhere. We have all tried so hard to do the right things. We have gone to the right schools, followed the rules, worked long hours, skipped long shower . . . and for what? . . . tracks that lead from somewhere (with dusty flowers along the way), or perhaps even tracks that lead from nowhere to nowhere.

Relax. Of course we feel discouraged at times. Recovery is more like a spiral than a line. Our struggles offer us the opportunity to become better acquainted with the many facets of our disease.”

I love this image of recovery as a spiral rather than a line. The same is true for life and for success. We all face highs and lows. The path to success is full of many twists and turns. Think of someone famous who inspires you, for example. Many of these people have stories of rejection, woe, periods when they were at their absolute lowest and it seemed they would never be up. They became successful because they did not let discouragement stop them from achieving their dreams though. It’s ok to feel discouraged when we encounter setbacks. We can’t deny our feelings. We must recognize though that our struggles are an opportunity, as Anne said. They give us the chance to know ourselves better and analyze our lives through a new lens. Discouragement is part of the path to growth and change.

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