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  • Diana Holstein

The Four F's of Discouragement

Merriam Webster defines discouragement as a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness: some synonyms are dejection, depression, and demoralization.

Every one of us experiences discouragement. We become overwhelmed by the problems and circumstances in life. When this happens, we can experience mild, moderate, or disabling discouragement. Our hearts become heavy with fear and trepidation. We lose our desire, energy, and ability to move forward.

Four components promote discouragement.

1) Fatigue

The first is fatigue. When we are exhausted, we have a lower threshold for any obstacle in our path. Our ability to tolerate others lessens and, the energy to overcome the slightest challenge is almost non-existent. It is essential to get enough sleep, not to pack too much into one day, and to set boundaries. We can burn out, phase out, or live out our days!

2) Frustration

The second facet of staying encouraged is to keep our frustration levels low.  Discouragement sets in when we have a sense of hopelessness about the future. When it seems like the troubling circumstances you're going through won't ever improve, and nothing you do seems to work, you get frustrated. At times like this, you need to keep your eyes on the goal. Break them down into doable steps and take one action at a time.

3) Failure

Discouragement also comes with failure. Realize, people who have achieved greatness failed many times. The only thing that is guaranteed to fail is a lack of trying. A goal without action is just a wish.

A person once told me people should learn to embrace failure. My first thought was- they were crazy. However, upon reflection, I realized it was true.  We learn much more from our failures than our successes. What have you learned from your biggest mistakes?  Life is like a field of landmines. We step on a few! Learn from your mistakes. Also, don't wallow in the failure. Stand up, dust off, move on, and when possible, help others avoid the same landmine. Our tests can be our testimonies.


The last, and I feel the biggest instigator of discouragement is fear. Fear, like can't, is a four-letter word. Many have been immobilized and paralyzed with fear. When we are afraid, we need to analyze what is so terrifying. Is it a valid fear, or is it something we have magnified out of proportion?  Will it harm us? If so, how? What can we do to keep it from happening? Can we minimize the effect? Do we need to adjust our plan? Is it in our control?  Do we need outside help? Most times, there is a solution.

Again, we all experience discouragement at one time or another. Just know when it comes, (and it will) manage the level. Keep it at a mild or moderate level, and never let it disable you. Get your rest, keep our eyes on the goal, dust off after each bump in the road, and keep moving forward.

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