The Antidote to Discouragement: 6 Steps to Get Past It

When things don’t go the way I want them to in my life, or I attempt to make something happen and it’s not happening, I can start to feel discouraged and lose my enthusiasm. Here are some of the ways I have found that help me overcome a feeling that can be debilitating and limit who we are.

We’ve all had this experience of going after something. You’re trying for a job you really want, you’ve gone to interview after interview, and you can’t land it. Or you’re dating and you have a relationship here and there, but you just can’t find the love you long for. Maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight — you’ve lost three pounds, but that’s nowhere near the 20 you are hoping to lose. Or you have a book you want to write, a song you want to produce, a career you want to jump start; as much as you try to go after whatever “it” is, you just can’t get “it.” Then you hit the giant wall known as discouragement.

Now, you go about your days, going through the motions with a heavy heart about it all, and you can’t plug into that essential enthusiasm you had when you first started your attempts. This discouragement that burdens all of us, I am certain, is one of the greatest killers of the human spirit. Let me break this terrible feeling down for you, quite simply as a word: DIS-COURAGE-MENT:

  • DIS — is a root word that denotes a sense of failure.
  • COURAGE — comes from the French word Coeur, which means heart.
  • MENT — turns a verb into a noun, it makes an action a thing.

So when you add the “DIS” to your “COURAGE” it implies that you have withdrawn your heart energy. Now, that feeling starts to take over and our heart is sapped of its power, and the connection propelling us forward is weakened. We are no longer engaging the flow of our heart that keeps us moving and constantly pushing us forward with momentum. Instead, our undermining voice bombards us with statements like, “I am NEVER going to do that. This is NEVER going to happen. I am NEVER going to get that. This will NEVER work out. What’s wrong with me? I might as well give up.” At this point, the statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we start to build on our projected failures.

Now, we don’t necessarily do these things consciously. Sometimes this belief, this thought, this emotion creeps in like the tiniest of spiders, and it quietly spins a web around us. This web is a field of unrequited and unfulfilled desires. As it grows, we shut off our creativity, we shut out possibilities, we lose perspective and we miss opportunities. Being stuck in this web is absolutely miserable. However, through this misery we must remember that without a doubt, our greatest test is staying open. It is absolutely essential that we don’t shut ourselves off. In order to stay open, it is crucial to not become too attached to the thing we are going after. Otherwise, we run the risk of turning the journey that we started with the best of intentions into a gruesome process, and our joy is snuffed out of us.

So what is a girl (or a boy) to do?

  1. SEE IT: Right then, in the moment that you sense yourself feeling discouraged, you must realize it fully and see it for what it is.
  2. NAME IT: Now that you recognize it, you have to admit what it is and call it by its name, “discouragement.” When you name the negative emotion, it loosens its hold on you, and you take authority over it.
  3. ACCEPT IT: You see it for what it is and you don’t resist or judge it.
  4. TALK IT OUT: Find a person that you feel safe with, someone who knows and understands you and confess this feeling of discouragement. This way, you start to release the feeling of confinement that discouragement creates.
  5. HELP SOMEONE ELSE: The fastest way to get back to your heart is to extend yourself and give to someone else with anything they might need.
  6. LET IT GO: Now that you’ve helped someone else, you probably realize you are bigger than the feeling of discouragement. Now let it go and focus on the bigger vision to reach a higher altitude for yourself.

Take hold of the inner thread that connects you to your heart, to the source of your being, to your anchor. It is at this point that you must get back to your gratitude, take some time to pause and start to think of all of the things you are grateful for. Truly and deeply, let the gratitude sink in (be grateful for the miracle of you and the extraordinary reality that you are alive!) and this can be your inner springboard to launch you back into the glorious possibilities of an unbound heart.

Please share with us your experience with the feeling of discouragement and ways of getting past it.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.


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Four Magic Words: Can You Help Me?

I had a very interesting experience a few days ago that led me to the insight of the importance of asking for help and also the importance of how we ask for help.

Here is what happened:

I was out having dinner with a new friend, chatting away in my favorite way of connecting, which is bypassing the chitchat to get to the heart of the matter of our lives. One of the questions I asked him was, “What pattern are you trying to break to create more freedom in your life?” He shared that he had difficulty communicating solutions that he so clearly saw in how people were conducting business. He continued to express his thoughts in a very passionate way, and I sensed a deep caring about the human problems that he wanted to help people solve. I offered my quick fix solution — you know — the tendency that’s inside us to want to fix things when someone is struggling. As much as I coach myself not to try to offer quick fixes, I can’t help myself sometimes.

Then my new friend asked me: What was I struggling with that I wanted to overcome? What came out of my mouth surprised me; setting up my new iPhone! I was having a major block switching from my BlackBerry to my iPhone, it felt completely overwhelming and the thought paralyzed me. When I would see people quickly press buttons to get instant access to maps or movie locations, restaurants, websites and all sorts of apps, I felt very jealous and wanted to be able to do it but I didn’t have the patience to go through the coaching. He looked at me with a slight grin, being that this man is also an engineer, picked up his phone and said, “These are just buttons that can help make your life easier and more flowing. There is nothing that stands between you and you getting your phone activated, you just go to the Apple store and tell them what you need to do.” I turned to him and said four magic words, which opened the path for me to move towards making it happen, “Can you help me?” I was direct and clear in asking without really knowing how could this man who lives out of town help me. He immediately said, “Yes, go this weekend and text me from there as soon as you have your iPhone.” I said I would.

Of course, the next day there was nothing in me that wanted to move towards going through the maze of the Apple store to start the process, there were a hundred other things far more important. A day later I got a text from my friend that said, “Waiting,” and he was waiting for my text; whoops I was caught! I didn’t really think he was serious about helping me, I thought it was just dinner conversation. I made an excuse that it was snowing and I promised that I would go the next day. He replied, “OK one more day, but that’s it.” Wow, I really had an ally in helping me.

Would you believe it, the next day I was at the store setting up a new phone line, my iPhone, a couple of apps and a fabulous minouette ring. I texted my friend from the store to share my victory; he called back and we ended up talking about the joy of having broken through my block. I thanked him for his support, and I shared with him my awareness of how powerful it is to ask for and receive help. I questioned him if he asks for help? He told me that he had great difficulty asking for help because he did not want to burden people. I asked him, “Did helping me feel like a burden to you?” He answered, “No it was a joy.” I expressed, “Why would you then deny that joy to other people and not give to them the same chance to have joy?”

This experience led me to have a lot of conversations with other people, if they ask for help and if not, why not? Here are some of the answers that I got:

A lot of people feel vulnerable and that they will be rejected.
Some don’t want to appear needy.
Some don’t want to impose on other people.
Some people are proud and feel they should do it all alone.
A few men said they don’t feel that they need any help!

Here is how I see it, asking for help in the absolute knowing that we deserve to be helped, is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves; not coming from a place of entitlement, or having the expectation that someone should help us, but more like an owning of the areas that we need assistance with. There are hundreds of areas we are all good at and hundreds of areas that we are not, and after all, why should we expect ourselves to be good at everything? The asking is one of the most powerful things we can do for our human heart, because it allows us to be vulnerable, to be open and to receive. One of my favorite Bible quotes is, “Ask and you shall receive.” For me, the initial asking is from your spirit within, and then to reach out and ask those who can support you in your dreams, your visions and how to make them real; also how you can bring your gifts more to fruition and generally any aspects of your life that needs help. We might get it, or we might not, but we must ask and keep asking until we receive the help.

In the meantime, I am progressing little by little with my experience of using my iPhone and loving it….

Will you share with me what are your experiences with asking for help? How do you ask for help and how do you feel when you get it or not? I’d love to know your thoughts.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.
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Bring Your Heart to Everything You Do: Happy Valentine’s Day

I was at an entrepreneurs meeting yesterday and was talking to a very successful woman — a mother and a businesswoman — who is now divorced. She was starting to feel sorry for herself because she didn’t have anyone. That is what prompted me to write this blog, to address the craziness that we get caught up in on Valentine’s Day. If that special someone doesn’t meet your expectations today, remember: It’s just another day to offer what we can offer 356 days a year, 24/7. If it has a charge on you, share your heart unconditionally, and make it a fun day.

Valentine’s Day is such a set up. For one, it is set up with so many expectations for the people who don’t have that one and only special person, to feel excluded from what they assume (and trust me, it is an assumption) other people have with a special person in their life. The people who have someone special are filled with expectations of what their special person will get them as a gift, where will they take them for dinner, should they send them flowers. They want to figure out what they need to give the other person to remind them how special they are on this day.

My dear friends, let’s end this insanity today. Valentine’s Day is just another day to celebrate love. Love comes in many forms, shapes, and opportunities 365 days a year, 24/7. Today, join me in the celebration of love and bring your heart to everything you do. Unleash your heart. Make this Valentine’s Day an opportunity to unleash your heart, and make it a little bigger. If you are in an elevator with strangers, smile at them. If you have an extra chocolate in your handbag, pass it on. If you go to the supermarket, bring the cashier a rose. If you are going to the bank, bring the teller a box of chocolates. If you are on the bus, stand up and sing your favorite love song. Do something to break the pattern that might be cycling inside of you, that may be saying, “Woe is me, I don’t have anyone special to tell me how wonderful I am and to feel loved and cherished on Valentine’s Day.”

I think romance is a wonderful thing. It is an opportunity to bring the sweetness and the tenderness of your heart to a more present place. I’ve always loved the phrase, “Treat yourself as if you were someone inexpressibly dear to you.” I think this sweetness and romance starts with ourselves. So today, go buy yourself your favorite flowers, create romantic moments for yourself, and open to a more sharing, loving, and joyful way in everything you do.

I remember some years ago, I would get caught up and feel this pit in my stomach, because someone special wasn’t there to take me to dinner and tell me how much he loves me. But now life is different, ever since I have been in this impassioned mission, spreading the Unbinding The Heart message, because I realized when I placed this condition, and I would only spread my love when I was loved in this way, it so restricted me, and bound me — it created so much unhappiness. As I say, wear Spanx on your hips, and not on your heart. So let’s start with the person in the mirror: Give to yourself with such generosity, and if you need a special little something for yourself, ask someone for something you want, and then you can both receive. Create a joyful day for yourself and those around you.

Keep your heart open no matter what — that’s the greatest gift we have as human beings. When things go the way you want them to, or when they don’t, we always have the choice of staying open or shutting down. When we are open, we have the opportunity to create what we want. Because when we are open, our perception is open. So as they say, what are you going to give up for lent? Let’s give up any feelings of sorriness for ourselves, feelings of what life should have given us. Let’s give up any feelings of lack, and know that the most beautiful gift we have as human beings is our heart — it is always available to us. If we listen, nurture, and learn to share it, our hearts will grow a tremendous capacity for love.

So this Valentine’s Day, open the gate, and let the water that is being held by the dam flow. Bring your heart to work, to your family, and to those around — and sing the song of your heart.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.


Books by this author


This Blogger’s Books from



Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love

Gods and Goddesses in Love: Making the Myth a Reality for You

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New Year’s Resolution: There Is Always a Solution

I was out with my family having Christmas dinner, and as we went around the table making our resolutions, my mind went blank. This happened partly because I didn’t want to set myself up for failure: I know how hard it is to implement new habits and break old patterns. My resolutions usually last from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12 (if that). And when I do fail to follow through, I start to judge myself as a failure. So, I thought: I am not going to do that to myself again this year. But, at the same time, there are things I’d like to change and improve upon. So, what do I do?

To manage this problem, some of my wiser friends commit to “New Year’s intentions,” rather than resolutions. I like that better.

Intentions set a direction toward a new vision, opening the vista to see where one wants to go, making it easier to go toward the intention. There is less resistance with intentions than with resolutions.

My mother (those of you who have read my book and my many blogs know how much I rely on her wisdom) had a mantra that she used to tell me and my sister whenever we had a challenge or wanted to achieve something that seemed impossible: There is always a solution.

This mantra is an approach that fits my sensibility for what I want this new year. Let’s say I want to feel lighter in my body and want to let go of some excess weight. If I say to myself, there is always a solution, my creative self starts to come up with strategies for releasing weight.

Solution Number 1: Get more sleep, set an intention to go to bed before midnight (I am a night owl), play soft music before bed, turn off the TV, and put down my Blackberry earlier.

Solution Number 2: Increase my daily movement, cardio for 30 minutes, take a Zumba class, make workout dates with my friends.

Solution Number 3: Continue my no-wheat, no-sugar diet and find treats to eat that don’t have sugar.

Solution Number 4: Meet with fun buddies to work out with, share, and ask for support.

Solution Number 5: Make lists of foods that make my body feel good and start with a healthy breakfast.

My creative part ignites and helps me find solutions. Instead of being stressed, my problems feel like a scavenger hunt, and I am engaged. There are no “shoulds” — instead, my issues feel like a puzzle, where infinite solutions await to be unlocked.

Now, let’s say I am dissatisfied with my romantic relationship. Tell yourself loud and clear: There is always a solution! And then find it.

Now we have opened the field of possibilities, and we are no longer stuck. We might not see the solution right away, but there is relief that comes simply from the process of searching for a solution.

Solution Number 1: Talk to a wise friend who understands relationships to help see new strategies and opportunities to connect.

Solution Number 2: Talk to your partner about what is dissatisfying in the relationship.

Solution Number 3: Ask for divine inspiration and assistance from your higher self to help you see with clarity.

Solution Number 4: Explore the option of leaving and moving on. Ask: Is it better to be on my own?

Solution Number 5: Stay and ask him or her to create an ideal scene of what we need to do to enhance openness and lovingness.

When we think in terms of solutions, we see opportunities of growth and improvement, and we have our inner cooperation. When we think in terms of solutions, our consciousness cannot dwell in the luxury of negativity or depression or bitching that life isn’t fair. When we think in terms of solutions, we are busy solving our conditions and seeing that we are not alone. Within us lies a mechanism that is dying for us to succeed to have what we want to have.

Within us lies an intelligence that stays dormant if we complain — if we rely on wishful thinking and don’t act. If we put the responsibility on others, blame life for things that should be different or better, or even blame and criticize ourselves for not doing better, we are trapped, and the boogie man wins.

So instead, let’s open it up to this amazing being that resides within us.

First, accept things exactly as they are. That includes accepting ourselves. We must allow our imperfections to breathe, exhale, and have space. Then, as we take dominion of all of our qualities from that presence of seeing the perfection, we will see the solutions that are offered to us to make the changes we want, from the little personal things to the bigger issues that we face.

And let us be our own cheerleaders by broadcasting and amplifying: There is always a solution!

Let’s now go find it. Because we are the creators, and we are never alone in this process of our human growth and evolution.

Wishing you a year of unbound hearts that are filled with solutions for all you want and you deserve. The best is yet to come.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on New Year’s 2013, click here.
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