Discouragement and destruction are built into our society.
They are laced into our skin and follow us everywhere we go. They sit in our breath and wait for a time to reveal themselves. They choose weak moments. Moments of insecurity, or moments of doubt. When we allow ourselves to consider the ways others are superior to us, or the ways we are lacking in comparison to our neighbors.
Discouragement and destruction are partners. They strike together and strike hard and fast, eating what remains of our confidence and controlling the chaos in our minds, until we truly believe our worth is so low that everything outside our lives is better than everything in it. We sit and dwell on the cropped images put before us. We believe they are images of happiness we can’t find. Of success we’re struggling so hard to achieve. Of love we didn’t dare let ourselves believe existed.
Of a better version of ourselves we wish we could reach.
But discouragement and destruction are only closed curtains. They don’t acknowledge the light on the other side of the window, just keep it out of view.
They don’t let you see the great things you’ve done. Surviving difficult courses. Working the extra hours. Stopping to help someone who didn’t even care to ask your name. Taking that extra step, that extra cost to make someone you love happy. Loving unconditionally. Breathing one more time. Waking up one more morning. Pursuing that degree, that career, that trade, that new adventure. Simply doing.
Discouragement tells you that these things aren’t important. That surviving another day is easy and choosing to love isn’t special. It tells you that the things you do, like grabbing an extra drink for your friend, buying the random trinket for your sister, and making sure everyone is buckled in before you drive, are basic.
And just when you’re feeling low, destruction comes in to discredit the moments you felt you had accomplished something.
It ruins the happiness that you graduated, because somebody else graduated a degree higher. It ruins the excitement that you’re trying to date again, because somebody else is already madly in love. It shatters the relief that you’re surviving, because somebody else is thriving. And it makes you feel low, then lower, and lower, until you’re sinking into a cycle that ruins you.
The thing is, everyone is in this cycle at one point or other. Everyone is sitting there, feeling low about themselves, struggling to get to higher ground. And the only way out is encouraging one another and organizing the chaos into something good.
We’ll get to higher ground by building together. And I’ll set down the first stone by telling you that I’m proud of you just for taking that extra breath, that extra step, that extra moment to love and grow. I hope you’ll find a moment to be proud of yourself, then be proud of those around you. Until we’re all welling with it and one stone builds a whole city.