Monday, September 15, 2008

Joy - even through Discouragement

discouragement - dis·cour·age·ment (dĭ-skûr'ĭj-mənt) noun
1. the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles
2. the expression of opposition and disapproval

This is one of the definitions from While I agree, I also feel that it is just a feeling of despair - plain and simple. It could be despair in the face of obstacles or it could be just despair with circumstances surrounding your every day life - simple despair. If only it were so simple.

Overcoming discouragement is far from simple. It is very difficult at best because discouragement is part of a huge snowball that is constantly growing if you are not actively fighting it. Discouragement can come from many things in everyday life. Employment issues, financial difficulties, family problems, poor health are the main sources of discouragement. Unfortunately, we all face the giant of discouragement at one time or another. How we handle our self, when we come face to face with this giant, is what either pushes us forward or holds us back.

Talk to someone - You do NOT have to go through discouragement alone. Most everyone has someone they can talk to that will remind them that while this giant of discouragement is huge and very scary, it is only temporary. This is just another chapter in your journey and you WILL make it through. We don't want to "burden" our friends with our whiny, woe is me, sob story - but if we think about it, everyone gets discouraged. Plain and simple - everyone. Don't try and hold it in, your body should not have to endure that kind of stress. Once you share it, you start to feel the weight of this huge giant coming off of your shoulders. Talking to a friend in person, on a message board, during instant messaging or even via email will start easing the stress of this burden. I have to tell you, I know how hard this is. I hate feeling discouraged and have a hard time going to talk to someone about it. Each time when I was finally "in a corner" and sought out a wise individual I wondered why I put it off for so long. If you can't get to someone, email. Seriously. Email your bestest friend in the whole wide world - email me. Find someone who will seriously talk you through this.

Count your blessings - Most of us have financial difficulties. True difficulties. But in the scope of things, we are truly blessed. We have everything we need and most of what we want. We can get our favorite coffee a the corner and have our favorite books delivered right to our door step. We are always in constant communication with anyone at any given time thanks to cell phones, instant messaging and the like. We are blessed with families that love us and friends that enjoy being around us. We are blessed with the freedom to worship in any way that we choose to (or choose not to). We are blessed with help in time of need. Food banks, Christian Ministries, Shelters, etc are established to help those that are down and out and that is a blessing. Sadly we wait until Thanksgiving to think of all the things we are thankful for. Start today - keep a journal, an online journal, a notebook and write down 3 or 4 things everyday that you are thankful for. In "The Cup of Joy" for this posting - you'll find my "blessings" list....well, most of it. Many of the items are my "favorites".

GIVE - I don't know about you, but when I'm discouraged the last thing I want to do is give. That should be a giant red flag for me because I love giving. When I feel like I hate "everything" that should be my cue to just go out and give anything I can. My time, my smile, my talents - anything. Giving to others will help to pull you out of your discouragement. Their smile and sincere thank you will lift your spirits and soon, you'll feel the encouragement that giving brings. You'll literally start feeling the JOY that you are giving. When you feel discouragement looming, you should start giving something everyday. Anything will help. Buy a box of ice cream sandwiches and give everyone of them away. Lots of joy for less than $3.00. Purchase some teddy bears that are on sale and take to a Nursing Home and give to the residents there. Start an "Others Box" and on every trip to the store, purchase something specifically for the box. In 4 to 6 weeks, donate it. Give it to Spreading Joy Corporation. Give to the neighborhood children. Just Give. Don't worry about what you give and how much you give - simply start giving and you'll find that there will not be room for discouragement.

For me - doing one of these is not enough. I consider myself to a happy person, but when the ugly discouragement monster rears its ugly head, I have to do all 3 of these things. You may find giving will be enough to help rise above the trials of discouragement. Maybe just talking with your best friend will be the ticket or maybe you are like me and have to do a combination of the 3. I truly hope you'll have the courage and strength to take the first steps to do any or all of these things to rise above discouragement and find the Joy that lies just below.

~ ~ If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart ~ ~

~Cup of Joy ~

As promised above - here is my list of blessings and/or favorite things (in no particular order):

Great husband who pumps my gas and makes sure that I have coffee (oh that wonderful stuff) wonderful son who will be graduating next year and beautiful daughter with great dreams of living abroad, my mommie and the very best step parents money can't buy and the rest of my family. Sunsets, sun rises above the ocean. Full moon and clear night sky. Crisp fall nights, delicious coffee (that wonderful liquid gold), fresh baked cinnamon rolls, reading books. I love the ocean in rain, sleet, snow or shine. I love snow, Christmas, kids opening presents and digging gifts out from under the tree. I love decorating the tree (ok, I don't - but I love looking at the decorated by someone else tree and drinking liquid gold) I love hot doughnuts now - nothing like a Krispy Kreme HOT out of the icing. I love high speed internet - will never have dial up again and the ability to email anyone around the world anytime day or night. Being able to take online classes fire balls mp3 players laptop computers (one of the greatest inventions in all time) my doggies my job good vehicles recipe books book store scrapbooking happy memories. I love that i don't have to wear suits and ties and yummy hot chocolate and marshmallows spell check reese peanut butter cups (reese trees yuuum)warranties peanut butter cookies and my vcr (record my favorite cop shows and watch later) indoor plumbing(have you ever been in an outhouse??? n-a-s-t-y! being born in this day and age telephone (so i can talk to angie all the time) mobile phones (see previous note) instant messenger toe socks yard sales hot dogs my game boy game hugs shopping God's protection cloud shapes cool whip wizard of oz cheese cake circus (love the flying trapeeze) peace antique items history breakfast for dinner flea markets blue things sea shells - especially the cool ones my monkeys m&m's (mini's and blue are my favorite)silly signs (make me laugh for days afterwards) fresh cut grass chuck norris (one of these days someone somewhere will fix it so I can MEET CHUCK NORRIS - one day) road runner cartoons riddles mcdonalds - mc rib - internet - so much to read....quietness (i know, i should contribute more often...and you are thankful when I am quiet...) winnie the pooh candles good smelling men (specially my man) roller coasters, scary movies (not about bugs though) dinner with friends, other peoples birthdays cruises to anywhere visiting other states and roses (well actually all flowers)

WHEW - and that is just the beginning.


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