One of the fastest ways to get into a rut -- or even into deep depression - is by falling under the shadow of discouragement and disappointment.
Do you ever get discouraged? Do you ever find yourself disappointed in your work, your family, your life in general? I think we all do from time to time. There are those times when disappointment looms over us like an impossibly high, impassable mountain. If we're not careful, our disappointments can derail our lives and cause us to lose focus on the positive things.
Sometimes, disappointment and discouragement come because of the things we remember.
Sometimes we spend too much time looking back. Remembering the past is not always a bad thing, but when we choose to live in the past it can be discouraging. When we focus too much on the past we sometimes find ourselves having no interest in the here and now, and sometimes we are so tied to the past that we have no interest in the future. We just want things we way they used to be.
Memory can be a good thing, if we remember the right things. On the other hand, at times discouragement and disappointment come from forgetting important things from the past. Far too often we get caught up in this trap. We look at the negative things from the past and forget that we came through those times moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and that we can get through this time of disappointment in the same way. Focusing on good and pleasant memories can help us along this path.
We can also get pulled into disappointment and discouragement by making comparisons.
We tend to get caught up in the comparison game way too easily. We compare our homes with those of others; we compare our families -- our spouses and our kids -- with those we see; we compare the way things are with the way they used to be; we compare what we don't have now with what we had at one time in the past.
Let me preface the next thought with this disclaimer: I am as bad as anyone in making comparisons. That said - comparisons are always foolish, and they can be especially harmful when we are constantly disappointed with the outcome of our comparisons ... rest assured, we usually will be!
When we live in the past and downgrade the present, the inevitable result will be disappointment and discouragement.
We will miss what is in store for today and for tomorrow; we will be so trapped in what we feel and believe, that we will forget that some big things may be just around the corner.
Authors' Note: Next week we will look at some ways to combat disappointment and discouragement.