Overcoming Discouragement: The Committee in My Head

Image of a discouraged person's head with committee members saying things at the same time coming out of the top.You know those voices you hear in your mind sometimes? Occasionally they are positive and uplifting but most are discouraging and disparaging. Some actually seem to echo voices of real people, often from our past – former teachers, leaders, parents, family members or friends. Others seem to come from nowhere. Even the voices of people who love us can sometimes give us bad advice or negative feedback.

  • “You are so clumsy.”
  • “You can’t do that – you are too dumb.”
  • “You can’t ask God for help with that.”
  • “You’ll never be good enough.”

Unfortunately these voices can make it hard for us to think clearly and move forward. Just when we think we have a plan and are ready to take a risk and try to do better – to do something new – to challenge ourselves, to overcome discouragement, one (or more) of those voices will tell us that we are doomed to failure.

I call those voices the “Committee in My Head”. I imagine them sitting around a conference table expressing their thoughts. Freely. Sometimes at the top of their lungs. Other times in a persistent whisper.

I have learned an interesting thing about my committee over the years. It is my committee, and I get to decide who is on it!  If someone on the committee is discouraging me, I can fire them!  I can tell them that they are no longer welcome on my committee and their advice is no longer needed. If they come back, I can refuse to let them in or listen to them.

Even better, I can deliberately choose new voices to invite onto my committee to drown out the old discouraging ones. How? By reading great books or blogs; by finding mentors who I trust and who have created the kind of life I want; by attending meetings and making phone calls and using the other tools of the program. I can fill my committee with cheer-leading encouraging voices.

  • “You can do it!”Image of an orderly committee meeting with happy participants.
  • “You are awesome!”
  • “Give it one more shot.”
  • “Maybe you should pray for the Lord’s help and try again.”
  • “Think of how much progress you have made!”
  • “God loves you and I love you, too!”

If I am going to have a committee giving me advice it might as well be good advice!  And advice that will help me overcome discouragement, not create it.

  • Do you have a committee in your head that sometimes offers negative thoughts or ideas?
  • Do you let these thoughts hold you back from doing what you would like to do?
  • Do you believe that you can learn to recognize and “fire” the voices that are holding you back?
  • What voices would you like to invite to join your committee?
  • What will you do today to let go of what is holding you back and nurture and support yourself in moving forward?

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