“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
For your mood to improve and for you to start to feel better, the first step is to accept yourself and your feelings just as they are.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is that you’re reading this blog because you’re fed up with your depression and you desperately want to beat the blues!
Let me explain, why I am asking you to embrace your feelings as they are. People feel depressed for a reason (even if they cannot always identify that reason). Low mood can be triggered and maintained by problems in personal life, work or difficult circumstances.
When we reject or push down painful feelings, we do not explore the cause of these feelings. This pushing away of sad feelings gives rise to ever stronger low mood messages. This happens for the simple reason that they were not heard or acknowledged. If you don’t accept your depression and acknowledge the low mood message, you will continue to receive an increased number of sad negative messages. These messages will keep knocking on our door until we sit up and take notice.
Our feelings form part of our survival mechanism and as such they want to be heard. Believe it or not, these feelings have good intentions – they want to keep us safe physically and emotionally.
At this point, it’s quite possible that your rational mind is telling you that your depressed feelings hurt you rather than protect you! Especially, if because of depression your work or personal life suffers.
So what I am asking is for you to look at your depression from a different perspective. In other words, I am asking you to look at the whole picture and not just at your low mood.
Perhaps some of you have already tried to reject, squash or wage a war on your depression. Perhaps this helped for a while. But the depression has returned, like a gate-crasher, an unwelcome guest you had thrown out of your home.
From the whole picture perspective, your depression is trying to tell you that something is not quite right. In other words, your depression asks you to look at what is happening in your life.
What keeps depression in its place, is the fact that most people notice their low mood but not what caused them to feel depressed in the first place. They declare a war on depression – treating their low mood as a foe and not as the friend it’s trying to be.
So, the first step to overcome depression is to let our brain and heart know that we have received their messages. This will stop our brain from sending more unhappy messages. And when the low mood messages stop arriving, then our mood will stop worsening.