Discouragement

It isn’t 7:30am yet and already your day’s off to a bad start. Your 9-month-old daughter doesn’t want to sit by herself and play for ten seconds put together (usually acceptable), let alone ten minutes. Yet when you pick her up, she wants to be put down again, but being put down just triggers little whimpers and crocodile tears. It’s too icy outside to use the pram, and there’s too little snow to bundle your youngster into a sledge and go for a walk that way either. And, to top it off, you feel like you’ve exhausted the human element surrounding you. The lady you visited yesterday SURELY won’t want to have another visit from you and a fractious youngster so soon. And you don’t really know any other mums well enough to drop them a call and sound them out for a visit, coffee out, anything. Before you know it, you’re a sobbing heap, feeling isolated within the four walls of your own home. Discouragement sets in, and a certainty that no-one really cares that you’re a first-time mum and you’re alone.

Sound familiar? For non-mums, perhaps try comparing yourself to the ‘Jones’s’. Either way, at some point in life we end up depressed, citing that “Life is not fair” because someone else seems to have it easier than “I” do.

I’ve just started reading a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. The title is unimportant, as is the fact that it discusses two ladies from the Bible. That is slightly irrelevant to this post, so please don’t run away at the word Bible.

The chapter I’ve just finished reading is about three D’s – Distraction, Discouragement and Doubt. Specifically, we are easily distracted from our goals or purposes by taking our eyes off them and looking at those around us. We begin to compare our efforts, possessions, abilities, and so on, with those of others. Especially if we feel we work hard and sense (rightly or wrongly) that others are getting more than we are by doing less. We perceive that ‘life isn’t fair’ – which it in fact isn’t, by the way. This leads to discouragement as we begin to feel isolated and overwhelmed. We crave validation. Finally we begin to doubt. Our abilities, the love and care of ‘others’, the worth and purpose of what we do. ‘Nobody cares’ becomes the catch phrase.

I’m pretty certain this affects all creatives from architects to, um, zoo designers, not to mention mothers, carers and other people in similarly ‘lonely’ positions. Knowing that “you are not alone” sounds clichéd, but it actually does help to know that other people go through the same emotions and mental blocks.

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About Laurel C Kriegler

A born and bred South African, I was educated at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where I graduated with an Honours Degree (post-graduate) in Economics at the end of 2001. After spending several years gaining work experience in the UK, I returned to South Africa to get married. It was during the ensuing period that my pursuits of writing and editing took hold.
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