Encouraging the discouraged

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I GET this ‘depressed’ feeling a few days before I get my monthly period. I know, people sometimes laugh about it and dismiss like it was just a joke but believe me, PMS is not merely an excuse for women to whine, it does exist! Actually, if you ever chance upon the DSM-V or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association, there is such a thing as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder!

Anyway, I am not talking about that. The thought actually just came to mind because I was in such a gloomy mood. I have noticed that whenever I feel this way, it seems that I am also more open to negative feelings and perceptions. Hmm.

The past week was a bit stressful, especially coming from an awesome vacation with family. It was my first and last hurrah for summer and since it was, I made sure that I had great fun during those fun-filled seven days. You could say that I am still suffering from post-vacation blues and who wouldn’t be? Being back to reality and the proverbial rat race can do that to anyone! the Pork Barrel Scam main players only added to my agitation! Geez, all the drama! It might as well be a movie! Many Filipinos have been speculating that the accused will eventually get away with their supposed crimes and that just felt so wrong to me! I kept thinking about how it seemed so easy to dismiss serious matters like that. I couldn’t get over it! How can anyone just give up like that and not even put up a fight? How can anyone nonchalantly say that the justice system is hopeless without even being patient enough to see the whole thing through?

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I know of friends who have chosen to stay away from watching the news to try and veer away from the ‘stress’ of actually watching the full media coverage of the ‘drama’ unfolding as the Senactors continue their epic sagas for the rest to see. I am trying hard to tell myself to give them the “benefit of the doubt,” but who am I kidding? Deep inside I am as wary as most people have become since this Pork mess started! I understand how a lot of us predict that the would-be ending would probably tilt in their favor. History repeating itself.New players but very old story with the same old ending. Honestly, I hoping that it won’t have that expected unhappy ending BUT I understand why people are discouraged to think otherwise.

We all get discouraged, really. Haven’t we gone through similar experiences where no matter how hard we try to be positive about something, we are made to experience things that seemed to convince us to think otherwise? It puts a damper on our positive outlook and reduces us to just accepting the dismal consequences without even trying to hope and work for a better outcome. Certainly, encouraging the already discouraged is difficult and possibly next to impossible because by then, they might have already exerted all efforts to try and be optimistic!

So what’s a person to do during times like these? I would say: Hang in there.

Always believe that things will get better. More so, if you try and exert to make it better no matter how downtrodden you may already be feeling. I seriously believe that encouragement can come from multiple sources. Most of us probably expect it to come from other people, individuals who either have a great influence in us especially in relation to the goals we have set for ourselves that has somehow has yielded our difficulties. Of course their words of wisdom would matter most to us. It would mean the world to have someone who has already achieved what we aspire to make for ourselves actually tell us to keep going! Their validation of our efforts by them would be the ultimate power pill, restoring our energy to keep forging on and working towards our goals. But what if we never hear any support from them? Should we just allow ourselves to wither from despair and let our efforts and dreams die?

We need to be our own cheerleaders too! If nobody can be there for us to provide us with the push to keep going, we need to be able to do it for ourselves. We need to be able to convince ourselves that all we need is another step, a little more effort to achieve what we want. Of course, we need to be realistic too, that although it has been said that sky is the limit when we talk about dreams, reality has a way of keeping us grounded and therefore closer to the earth. But that’s okay! As long as we never lose sight of what matters, we will never be too far away from what we have set out to be. Just have faith and try to continuously find a steady source of “belief” so that you can go on even when your level of confidence dwindles.

Still, there are those awful times when we even lose faith in ourselves and our ability to pull through. We have tried and failed and we may have tried again and again and still come up with nothing. Those are the times when we need to realize that there are things that are bigger than ourselves and our human capabilities can conquer. In these moments it pays to have the humility to admit that we have our limitations and that we cannot always win everything BUt we can still hope for the best in the future! It may seem that we have quit but really, it is just choosing to move on with our lives realizing that the best moments can still be out there in our future! And who knows? Success may have just been delayed so that we can learn from the experience of pursuing it.

There are unexpected surprises that make us feel reassured that we have made the right decision long after we had wanted the validation to come and confirm what we believe to be true. I know this to be true because I have experienced it. Call it divine intervention or destiny or whatever you want but it does happen and it has happened to me! In retrospect, I have come to realize that the lessons that I have learned from not being proven right at the moment that I badly needed to be reassured has made me stronger and flexible when it comes to dealing with life’s curve balls.

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.” - Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain

Happy Sunday Everyone! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 22, 2014.

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