Existential Psychology

Bouncing Back From Discouragement

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Discouragement is the result of the felt conflict between expectations and a happening that seems to diminish the chances of those expectations coming to fruition. When you’re hoping for one outcome and some stimuli from the environment makes that outcome less likely you’re probably going to feel discouraged.

Discouragement in and of itself is simply a psychological/emotional response. The problem is that it often leads to a lessening of the frequency and intensity of the myriad behaviors necessary for the desired outcome or to outright quitting.

So while you blame external factors for things not working out, it’s actually you solidifying the outcome by choosing to go along with the narrative that things aren’t going to work out. This choice is based on newly recognized factors that might reduce the probability of success but probably don’t make it completely impossible. What does make it impossible is when you quit.

Bouncing back from discouragement starts with the recognition that neither your expectations nor the new information putting those expectations into doubt are necessarily indicative of reality because conditions are always changing when you’re working towards some goal. What’s true today might not be true tomorrow, both in terms of what’s inside of you and in terms of what’s going on in your environment. The only thing you can control is your own behavior. You can choose to keep doing the things you think are necessary to achieve the result you want or you can can choose to quit doing those things.

You can use discouragement as a tool to isolate and then minimize the variables getting in the way of a successful outcome. Just don’t let that discouragement turn into apathy, because it’s when your own behavior that supports wanted future conditions disappears that failure occurs, not when a variable that seems to make the wanted outcome less likely appears.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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