Myth #1: We were all born to be happy.
Myth #2: We’ll never get what we need to be happy, so why even try?
The result of both of these myths is discouragement—that feeling we get when we don’t meet the expectations we’ve set for ourselves, or when we don’t even have any expectations and just accept our current state. Failure often comes before discouragement, whether we feel like we were born a failure, that we can’t measure up, or that we did our very best and it still didn’t turn out the way we wanted.
But discouragement is part of life, and it can actually be productive when we learn how to work through it. So here are 10 tips on how to turn your discouragement into progress:
Acknowledge the failure and take responsibility for your part in it. Yes there are times when forces beyond our control knock us off our feet, but most of the time, we could have done something differently. Seek to learn from your failures.
Pray about it. Pray, not necessarily for everything to be fine so you can be happy again, but to understand, to find the lesson, and to find a positive attitude so you can move on.
Problem-solve. Worrying is counterproductive. Try to shift your thinking from the emotional part of your brain to the logical part—the place where you marshal your resources to make a plan.
Pray again. Once you have a good plan in place to overcome discouragement, pray for confirmation that your plan is a good one. The Lord will help you move beyond the failure that caused the discouragement in the first place.
Go to work. If you’ve lost your job, work the same number of hours every day looking for a new job as you would have worked at your old job. If the problem is a relationship, go to work repairing the damage. Whatever you’re overcoming—especially if a sin is causing you to be discouraged—work on changing and meeting small goals.
Take it one day at a time. Even the goals that are part of your plan should be small and should move you in the right direction.
Use your support network. Friends and family are a tremendous resource. Let them know about your situation without being too melodramatic. True friends will listen and support. Sometimes a good listening ear can make all the difference.
Ask for a priesthood blessing. There’s no limit to the number of priesthood blessings you can receive. If you need one, ask for one.
Endure with patience. Sometimes it just takes a while for the down times to pass.
Count your blessings. Make a list of all the things you’re thankful for. Add to it every day and know that ultimately, happiness waits for all of us.
Yes, life is hard. It’s hard for all of us. However, our faith grows as we react to our trials in a constructive way. We are more likely to feel God’s love for us because we are progressing, doing the best we can, and asking for His help.