I have been encouraging clients to identify their emotions, to find the words for those and for their unmet needs and hopes, to speak them to loved ones. I have tried to do this myself, because I am the kind of person who has to think about feelings in order to really feel them, and because my loved ones care for me well when I let them.
I see my feeling reflected in those around me, and this helps me to understand it. Someone told me recently that he tries to pray, but he always feels like a kid in a spelling bee trying to figure out the longest word whenever he does, so he stops. Discouraged.
I assess other people’s mental health needs on a regular basis. Are they hopeless or are they discouraged? Have they given up on everything or are they still trying to heft that load, with its ever-piling pebbles?
My courage and enthusiasm have been sapped by a string of small inconveniences, frustrations, late nights, and very bad news. Dis-couraged.
Feeling discouraged is insidious because it depletes initiative gradually. I keep telling myself and others that I am okay. I am just discouraged. Because of that, I do not have the stamina to pick myself up. Acknowledging that increases the sense of discouragement.
I am tempted to dismiss this feeling, because I see hopelessness every day, and that is much bleaker. Fortunately for me, I am a therapist, and my clients come to our sessions telling me that self-compassion helps. I have decided to try not to be a hypocrite.
Feeling discouraged is hard. It doesn’t have to be compared with anything else to be hard. Suffering is part of being human, and I am not alone in this. May I be kind to myself as I move through these grey days.