Stepping Stones Made of Encouraging Quotes

I have a file folder full of photos on my phone; I have one on my laptop too. And just in case anything should ever happen to either folder, I have one stored on the cloud. They're full of quotes, full of inspiration and encouragement - not only to help me offset the natural negativity inherent to my history with depression and PTSD, but also to balance out the abundance of discouragement I encounter in my day-to-day life.

Some are bits of poems, others are simply lines of wisdom from men and women I've admired for various reasons over the years. There are quotes I've pulled from podcasts I was listening to, books I was reading, shows I was watching. There are quotes from online, from blogs, from music.

They speak on spirituality, romance, relationships, personal development. They speak on living well, on loving deeply, on making a difference. They inspire, they motivate. They are a balm when I'm feeling wounded, a push when I'm feeling frozen ...

... a stepping stone when I'm stuck and don't know how to keep moving forward. Lately, I've been loving this one:

There's something special about the sentiment of encouragement behind this quote, isn't there? "Don't let life discourage you." It's a strong start regardless of the rest of the quote, and something we all need to hear sometimes. "Don't let life discourage you." It translates into other things too; the situations we face at work, the people we encounter, the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Life can be discouraging all on its own sometimes. We spend too much time struggling, we're forced to cope with disabilities, we suffer through challenges we didn't ask for or don't understand. But as I've said before, if what goes up must come down, then the opposite must be true - what goes down must come up. All things are temporary, both good and bad, and while this in itself can be discouraging (because all good things pass away), it is also a reassurance (because all bad things pass away with just as much certainty). "Don't let life discourage you."

But then there's that bit of inspiration at the end, the reminder to give yourself credit for where you are in your journey - the reminder that while comparison is never a healthy entertainment, if you find yourself comparing, you should at least endeavor to do it with compassion for yourself. "Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." You can't read someone else's chapter 13 and kick yourself because you're on chapter 5. And even if you're the same age, race, sex, gender, religion, disability, and economic background as someone else, it's still possible to be in completely different emotional stages - which greatly impacts our development, our coping mechanisms, and the speed with which we recover from challenge in order to move forward. But even in that, there's a leveling ground: "Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was."

All of life is a journey, a process - and regardless of where we're going, how we're getting there, and the speed at which we are able to travel, we can't go anywhere unless we're willing to start where we are and take the baby steps that keep us moving forward on our journey.

So don't let life discourage you. Because everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was. He had to take one step at a time just like you, had to find a new way when the old one stopped working - just like you. Because we're all only human, after all.

We can, however, endeavor to become - and remain - undaunted.

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