Recently I have been really getting into Podcasts, I know finally jumping on the bandwagon, as podcasts have really exploded in popularity over the last year. Not only are they inspirational and educational, but are also uplifting and make you feel like you want to be new BFF’s with the presenters (like Ana Faris new podcast). Even my husband is a mad fan of ‘How Stuff Works’, and listens to it while exercising or driving. Podcasts are ultimately the multitasker’s best friend.
But I digress. Today’s post is an exciting one for the Tortoiseshell Glasses, as it is my very first guest post. I’d love to introduce you to Lily Liseno. Lily is a true #girlboss; not only is she the owner of Design by Lily Liseno, which focus on graphic and WordPress design, but Lily is also the presenter of Coffee & Feelings a podcast about overcoming mental blocks and fears as a creative. I am very grateful to have Lily on my blog to talk with you all about finding joy in discouragement, and how the struggles we face in life lead us to where we ultimately want to be.
Finding Joy in Discouragement
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and
failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
– Dale Carnegie
Discouragement can feel like a real downer. It’s defined as a loss of confidence and spirit. When you lose those two things, anything you do seems to suck inspiration, life, and happiness right out of you. Discouragement may come from a job, a relationship, school, or just the everyday tasks of life. When discouragement arises, your risk for giving up on a project, job, or even a relationship runs high.
So how can we get rid of this feeling?
Well, we may not be able to get rid of it, but we sure can learn to deal with it – and learn a lot about ourselves in the process.
Speaking of discouragement, I taught Kindergarten last year. It was the hardest period of my short little life. I majored in Early Childhood Education and Development (I don’t even remember why I chose that major) and took a job right out of college despite my growing anxiety and confusion towards my career choices. But I needed money and knew finding a job was the next step I “should” take, even though I wasn’t feeling the teaching thing.
Well, I landed a job… that’s for sure. My first week teaching Kindergarten was fun, but as the tasks, tests, and expectations piled up on my plate, I started feeling extremely discouraged. Everyday I felt like I was climbing a ladder and could never reach the top. Everyday the future of these children were hanging over my shoulders. MINE. Everyday I would get phone calls from concerned parents. Everyday I would have to deal with something insanely stressful, like a child knocking over tables and chairs while hitting the other kids, or a child running out of the classroom through the emergency exit door to get away from school. I was so discouraged. I just wasn’t ready for this. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to quit. Even though it was the most stressful time in my life, I learned a lot that year about my needs and limitations through my discouragement.
When I think back to that year, all I see is how much I grew. In the midst of discouragement, I grew so much. I learned what I liked and didn’t like about teaching, I learned how I acted as a leader, I learned how I behaved under pressure, I learned about my compassion, I learned about all I was able to do, and I learned about my limitations. Because I was so discouraged during this period of my life, I knew it was time for me to find what I really loved to do. My discouragement guided me to the point where I finally had to face parts of myself and come to terms with my feelings. I thought to myself, “am I doing this just because I feel like I should? What do I even like to do?” It made me realize, I shouldn’t be doing this anymore. I have limitations. I need something I can handle, something that will challenge me but also bring me happiness. Teaching was a challenge for sure, but it was not bringing me happiness.
After a few months of teaching, I started counseling (something my discouragement lead me to do) and realized a ton of things my discouragement was trying to tell me all along. Which then of course led me to realize how much I love blogging, web design, and creativity.
Where is your discouragement coming from?
Think about a time when you were discouraged. You probably felt like you were trying to do something you couldn’t do. You may have felt this way because of perfectionism (not living up to your own expectations or the expectations of others), criticism from others, or plain old fatigue. Those were the three things that constantly came up for me during that crazy year.
I’m going to guess you got through this discouraging time despite the fatigue, perfectionism or criticism and learned a lot about yourself through this experience. Or you left the project, relationship, or whatever was discouraging you behind and walked away. Walking away is also a positive thing (I walked away from my job!) because it means you knew what you wanted, or in this case what you didn’t want.
You may be feeling discouragement right now. Take heart that the fact you are experiencing discouragement means you are growing.
Discouragement is telling you what you need. Because I was discouraged while I was teaching, I realized I had limitations and I did not want to teach after all. We all have limitations, and discouragement allows those limitations to show themselves.
This realization alone allows me to be thankful for my discouragement, despite frustration. Being discouraged means I am growing. I am not moving in reverse, maybe I’m making a slight turn, but I’m still moving forward.
What is your discouragement telling you?
Discouragement is there for a reason. Stop and examine why you are feeling this way. Do you need rest? Do you need to stop and take a break? What have you learned about yourself through this particular discouraging experience? Do you need to change something in your life, or quit doing something that isn’t helpful to you? It could be telling you to do something as simple as going out to get some ice cream or taking a nap, or something as complicated as quitting a job.
No matter what, remember that discouragement is temporary because we are always moving forward. It’s not going to be there forever. When you recognize the cycles of what causes discouragement and what it’s trying to say to, you will be better able to welcome it, learn from it, and let it go.
In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which
I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.
– Vincent Van Gogh
Find the joy in discouragement! Despite it all, you are learning, progressing, and moving forward. Discover what you can learn about yourself in the midst of hard times.