Together, Let Us Thwart the Despair Mindset
Want to get your bother on starting now?
Read the first chapter from my new book for a jolt of fresh perspective and possibility, and a radical reframe on what to do when you are feeling lost, blah, unmotivated, or burned out, in any area of your life or for any reason — even success!
Since writing my book Why Bother? I have developed a new skill: sussing out the despair mindset.
I instantly spot it in conversations with friends, on social media, and in op-ed pieces.
It’s so tempting to agree with a friend complaining about her marriage, with someone saying the election in the US will be stolen, or with my own mind whispering, “Everyone pays attention to so-and-so’s new book and not yours, so just give up.”
I hear from clients and The Oasis members things like:
It’s all over.
There’s no point in even trying.
I already blew it.
Nothing ever changes.
Nobody listens to people like me.
It’s not going how I planned, so whatever.
Everyone is corrupt.
There’s nothing I can do.
Do you feel icky now? That’s because despair is contagious.
It’s even sort of strangely restful, because if there’s no point in trying, I can feel justified spending the day watching Indian Matchmaking and forget about doing anything.
Despair keeps our hearts safe, because we don’t have to fail, we don’t have to engage, we don’t have to risk, and we don’t have to open our hearts to those who need our help.
But we also don’t get to live.
Our life force, our purpose, our wonder, and our ability to bother shrivels.
Despair is how we lose the world we want to create.
Despair is the favorite tool of despots, bullies, dictators, racists, abusers, and narcissists. It does their work for them.
Friend, I understand, oh so intimately, how convincing despair can be. I have lost years to its baleful bullying.
I finally learned to refuse to indulge.
To use self-care, community, spiritual practice, limiting the gloom and doom voices in my life, and remembering my plans going south means nothing but a chance to start again.
Tell the voices that say there is no hope, “You are wrong.”
Fight to keep your mood steady, your health strong.
Lift up your people when you can and ask to be lifted up when you need it.
Build your resilience with the truth that we all falter in our plans and desires. Stop planning for the perfect day, the perfect democracy, the perfect business, and start planning for interruptions, for bouts of procrastination, and opening to the groundlessness of life.
Falling apart, falling down, even despairing, is not a problem.
Because you were built to get back up again.
I know the more I believe in my ability to begin again, the more I believe that I can make a difference, the more I believe in the goodness of my heart, the less I believe the crooning of despair, and the easier it gets to keep going.