"You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement wil weaken your faith."(Preach My Gospel, 10).
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being you're Ryan Gosling and have nothing to discourage you in life ever and 10 being you're Lindsey Lohan and literally have nothing in your life to not be discouraged about ever (unless you're reminiscing about the Parent Trap glory days), I would say that I have a constant level of discouragement that varies from 3-7 on any given day. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop and have a hard time believing that things can really go well for me all the time. If I do well on a test then I'm bound to not do well on a paper or if I have a fun time on a date the guy I'm with definitely thinks I'm an ogre. I had a conversation with a friend about this a month ago and she pointed out that I need to be better at positively affirming myself--especially because I'm pretty good at positively affirming others and believing that other people aren't nearly as flawed as I am. I kind of brushed her off and didn't think much about the way I was living life until I read this passage. Discouragement will weaken my faith. No wonder I have a constant stream of doubts about my future running through my mind! Discouragement is a vicious cycle that leads to less faith and even more discouragement. After 22 years of putting myself down and focusing on my faults instead of my talents I realize this is more than damaging me emotionally--it's damaging me spiritually. It all makes sense. While I tell myself I will never be good enough to get married, I'm simultaneously saying I don't have faith that God will bless me with a spouse someday. Further my doubt doesn't allow for the Lord's plan for me. My discouragement makes everything about me and not about me submitting to the Lord's will. My first goal inside of my study Preach My Gospel goal is to replace thoughts of discouragement with thoughts of affirmation and submission to the Lord's will and plan for me. Clearly I'm not going to be delusional and switch "I will never get married" with "Ryan Gosling will take me out tomorrow and we'll be married and have a baby in 11 months." Instead I will evaluate my talents and positive attributes and realize I have a lot to offer, even though I have faults. I can still work on my less than appealing characteristics, but I also need to recognize that my negatives don't overshadow my positives and that Heavenly Father has a plan that factors in all of my great and horrible talents and personality traits. This won't be easy, but it will provide me with an opportunity to pray for help and to rely on Christ to assist and guide me. I will also need to remember that I am a daughter of God, and as such I am loved by God and Jesus Christ despite everything.