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Don't Shop at the Devil's/Ego Garage Sale - Overcoming Discouragement

Updated on October 5, 2012

Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged. – Thomas Edison

Discouragement – A loss of confidence and enthusiasm. A feeling of despair when facing obstacles; depriving one of hope and potentially leading one to deter action.

We have all dealt with discouragement in our lives. But how many of us have actually allowed doubt or discouragement to change our path or caused us to turn back, just when we thought we were onto something that might make a difference in our lives? And isn’t discouragement so prevalent today, as we look around and hear all the disheartening news of the day? When I was a young girl, my mother used to tell me that the most powerful tool ever, was doubt and discouragement. I believe she was right.

Where do we find the wisdom and the strength to face these nagging doubts? Here are a few people you might know that have - Take a look at this video:

So, you might say… Good for them, they overcame discouragement. How does that help me? The people in the video had one thing in mind that maybe we are missing when we begin to feel discouraged – and that is awareness. When we know what discouragement really is, then we can look at things quite differently. Here is an illuminating story about Satan having a garage sale, which may be a helpful learning tool. For our version of the story, we will change the metaphor of Satan to Ego for a better representation of the tendencies of the Ego when challenged with a loss of the conditioned self (when we are experiencing growth and expansion personally and/or spiritually).

Here is the story:

Once upon a time, Ego was having a garage sale. There, standing in little groups were all of his bright, shiny trinkets. Here were tools that make it easy to tear others down for use as stepping stones. And over there were some lenses for magnifying one’s own importance, which, if you looked through them the other way, you could also use to belittle others, or even one’s self. Against the wall was the usual assortment of gardening implements guaranteed to help your pride grow by leaps and bounds: the rake of scorn, the shovel of jealousy for digging a pit for your neighbor, the tools of gossip and backbiting, of selfishness and apathy. All of these were pleasing to the eye and came complete with fabulous promises and guarantees of prosperity. Prices, of course, were steep; but not to worry! Free credit was extended to one and all. “Take it home, use it, and you won’t have to pay until later!” old Ego cried, as he hawked his wares.

The visitor, as he browsed, noticed two well worn, non-descript tools standing in one corner. Not being nearly as tempting as the other items, he found it curious that these two tools had price tags higher than any other. When he asked why, Ego just laughed and said, “Well, that’s because I use them so much. If they weren’t so plain looking, people might see them for what they were.” Ego pointed to the two tools, saying, “You see, that one’s Doubt and that one’s Discouragement — and those will work when nothing else will.”

As you can see, the ego has many creative tools to pull us into our own “smallness”. When we begin to feel inspired and motivated, we grow. Our mind and our spirit begin to cooperate and we begin to create, produce, and act from our growth. We begin to see outside of what we thought was possible, outside of our own box (conditioned limits). This is when the ego, which can only function within the boundaries of our past experiences calls in the troops to pull you back down to earth. This ego tactic is simply a function of the conditioned processing of our mind, thinking that it is acting in our best interest to protect us by creating emotions that cause us to feel discouraged. Everything we have already experienced is safe, doable. Anything outside of that is risky. Warning! Warning! Or, Doubt! Discouragement! “You have been taught this lesson before and it never works”, says the ego. “Remember when you tried the space shuttle launch science project only to come in second to last. Oh yeah, how about the time you got bold enough to tell your co-worker you wanted to come to their party, only to find out they avoided you all week in order to not invite you.” “See”, the ego says, “going outside the box is dangerous and hurtful”. This process is not a bad thing, unless you don’t question it and become aware of its illusive nature.

In contrast, our intuitive and divine nature is constantly offering us new opportunities to renew our spirit with new ideas, dreams, and behaviors. This conflict will continue between discouragement and inspiration until we release one of them. Please, let it be discouragement. In the past, we saw discouragement as the only new truth and allowed it to define our new direction. There is always another choice. This is what being aware brings to light - the other choice. To disarm doubt and discouragement in the face of our dreams, passions, and intentions, we much choose differently.

When we can recognize that discouragement is not a “reality”, but only a suggestion of one, we can then let our higher self compassionately remind us that the more likely outcome will be a positive one, just as you intended. Forge ahead with confidence that you are being directed from a higher source. If an incident turns south, capture the lesson to be learned, and move forward.

When you start to feel the first inkling of doubt or discouragement creeping up on your dreams and exciting plans, remember the story of the Ego’s Garage Sale. When that old ego uses these feelings; that is an indicator that you must be shaking things up because the ego’s pulling out the big guns! Use the feelings of discouragement as an impetus to rev up your intention. Think about what these feelings of doubt and discouragement are telling you. Do you need to shift direction slightly? Do you need to double down on your plan? The feelings are a trigger – not the truth. Listen to your heart and your soul, not your feelings to direct your path.

I like to use the Satan’s Garage Sale story to share with my older grandkids, because the earlier we can be “on” to this little trick the better. When we make a mistake or have a set-back, we just lay it down on the ground and step on it to keep climbing. This is how we learn and how we develop the tools to keep going stronger. Let’s put the ego out of garage sale business and be very aware when we get the feeling of doubt and discouragement because now we know, we are only trying to be sold ego’s valuable fool’s gold.

Never, never, never quit! – Winston Churchill

Pleased to Meet You!

Joleen (Bridges) Halloran is the author ofFinding Home - Breaking Free from Limits. This book represents over 10 years of research and inspiration in the topics of personal and spiritual empowerment and provides readers with a pathway to overcome limits and discover authentic divine qualities in their lives and to live a life of unlimited freedom. .

Beyond Joleen's professional life, she is an avid reader and researcher of books related to her special passion, which is metaphysical and spirituality topics. You can find out more about Joleen's book at her books website, Additional articles of a spiritual and inspirational nature can be found at the book's website as well.

Recommended Reading - Inspiring!


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    • DouglasWW profile image

      Douglas Warren 

      6 years ago from Auckland , New Zealand

      Great video! I would tick inspirational if that was an option.


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