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So when you add the “DIS” to your “COURAGE” it implies that you have withdrawn your heart energy.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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