Friday, 4 March 2016

Bonnie's Helpful Guide to Being Encouraged

Today I'd like to be a bit real with all of you (because being real is quite good, so I'm told). So here's me being really really really realistically real.

Sometimes I get discouraged.

Don't we all?
Don't we all have days when we just need someone to come along beside us and give us a hug and encouraging words? Don't we all have days when we just feel down in the dumps, sad and/or discouraged (sometimes even for no particular reason)?

I'm not talking about depression or anything like that. I'm just talking about the times when us humans just get discouraged.

It happens. It happens.

When I'm feeling discouraged, there are a few things I do to encourage myself. Of course, it depends on exactly why I'm feeling discouraged what I do to encourage myself. But this is pretty general advice and I feel it could apply to pretty much any situation.

So here's Bonnie's (hopefully) Helpful Guide to Encouraging Yourself When You Are Discouraged.

1. Identify (if you can) the cause of your discouragement
Sometimes it just happens and we have no idea why. But if there is a special reason, it can be helpful to pinpoint what it is. I find it helps me to solve the problem if I know what the problem consists of.
See, that wasn't so hard, was it?! :) Now for number 2.

2. Be kind to yourself!!

To get back to your cheerful old self, it is necessary to be a bit gentle and lenient on yourself. If you're grumpy at yourself for being discouraged, trust me, the situation is NOT going to improve. Let yourself be discouraged. Console yourself. Be sympathetic and empathetic (bonus points if you know the difference between the two, because there is a difference!). Have a good cry. Encourage yourself. One thing I do is write little encouraging messages on post-it notes and put them in random spots in my journal. Then I come across the notes when I'm writing in my journal and am encouraged. :)

3. Dig into God's word for encouragement.
Really, there is no better way to encourage yourself. Find encouraging Bible verses such as Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength) and Isaiah 41:10 (So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand). Spend time in the Word. If it helps you (like it helps me, cause I'm a visual person) illustrate the verses. Write them out beautifully. I meditate on them while I do it and it's incredibly helpful.

4. Ask God to send you encouragement

Say to God, "Lord, I just really need some encouragement today!" then wait and see what God will bring into your life that day to encourage you. God loves to bring unexpected joys and surprises into our lives. He loves to pick us up and is incredibly gentle with us in our discouragement. He understands.
Here's a quote by Amy Carmichael (from the book 'Thou Givest, They Gather', I believe) that I love - emphasis mine.
"The rose is set on a thorny stem. This is my word for you today. Is there in any heart something that is like the piercing of a sword? Then watch for the unexpected joy. It will come sooner or later. The rosebud will form and open, and the rose appear."

5. Talk to others

Talk to people. Your family is there for you. So are your friends. Be honest about your discouragement and they will encourage you for sure! If you need some encouragement, feel free to contact me via the form on the sidebar of my blog and I would LOVE to send you some encouragement. One thing I'm trying to do more of this year is encourage. So talk to people (and do contact me, I'm really not hugely scary!).

6. Do things that lift your spirits

Go for a run, if that lifts your spirits. Watch a funny movie. Listen to some really beautiful music. Google image search "incredibly cute puppies" or even "baby alpacas" and then look through some of the search results (this really lifts your spirits!!). Eat icecream, chocolate, whatever makes you feel better. Do the little things you love. Crafts, biking, playing your instrument, reading, just sitting still and thinking about the many blessings in your life.

7. Encourage others
There's nothing like encouraging someone else to lift your own spirits!! Google "how to encourage people" if you are stuck for ideas. Here are some random ideas of my own.
- Write notes/cards and put them in the mail. I love receiving mail from friends. "Happy mail", I call it. So nice to know someone is thinking of you and praying for you!
- Give someone a hug
- Compliment people sincerely. Tell your friend that she has a really beautiful smile, tell the girl serving you at the shop how efficient and friendly she was.
- Let someone know you appreciate them. A quick facebook message or phone call is all it takes!
- Be quick to listen - and careful and postive with your speech. Bite your tongue if you're about to say something negative.
- Pray for people. In the quiet of your room or when you're with them. There's nothing like asking someone if you can pray for them then and there.
- Recognise and affirm people who are doing things behind the scenes.
- Don't look for things people do that are wrong but notice and verbally appreciate the right.

And that's that! Thank you for reading!
What do you do when you're feeling discouraged?
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  1. I needed this today Bonnie, truly helpful.Thank you for your sweet, Christ-filled spirit. You are a great encourager, a "Barnabas" if you will. Take care! One (kinda silly I know) thing that helps me when I am discouraged is a simple pot of tea and devotional. So simple, but it's calming and peaceful.

    1. Oh, I'm so thrilled it was helpful for you!!
      Now who's being encouraging... :P Your comment really made my day. Thank you so much!
      Ah yes, tea and a devotional. What could be nicer? I had a cup of tea with a smidge of honey in it this morning (I don't normally have any sweetener at all) and it was lovely. I have a new favourite way to drink tea. :)

  2. I like encouraging others or passing out tracts when I am discouraged. Great post!

    1. Yes, those really are good ways to get out of the dumps! Passing out tracts is a nice idea. Thank you for sharing! :)

  3. I'm usually encouraged when I do some exercise or do something that I like.

    1. Awesome! :) Doing something like that is a good idea.


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