This is the season of the year for depression, isn’t it? While some depression has bio-chemical causes and treatments, not all fit into this mode. Some are more psychological. For instance, the above quote is talking about shame. Shame is a key part in depression. At a workshop, some years ago, I heard [pardon the paraphrasing] “Shame is the result of lies we were told about ourselves that we believed because we didn’t know any better.” It took me several weeks to fully wrap my head around that statement. External messages about ourselves form the basis of shame – if we hear enough of them, we internalize them, i.e. they become ours. Frequently they come from shame-based members of our dysfunctional families. They can also come from outsiders, peers, schools, and/or work. A lot of them come from primary relationships [think boy/girlfriend, lover, spouse]. If we continue to choose similar relationships, then that way of thinking becomes hardened and habituated. When it’s internalized, then we are no longer “being shamed” but are “shaming ourselves.” “Shame on us.” But that’s not quite true – just like the lies they told us about ourselves were not true. We had become victims.
Today is a new day – we no longer need to be held hostage by the way we were trained to think of ourselves. We can learn new ways of thinking. To reverse the pattern, we need to mindfully change our thoughts, starting small and then take some small actions based on the new beliefs. If this is too much for you, try some new, low risk behaviors and then change the thoughts.
You might ask, what is he talking about? These kinds of topics were discussed in my Thursday evening group this past week. Here’s some thoughts from that experience. Perhaps something might resonate with you: slowly learning to make positive I statements; doing something small like buying healthy food for your self rather than based upon what others will think or say; assertively standing up for your self; saying “no” and sticking to it; finding people and/or a job situation where you feel included; finding a way to start taking those piano lessons you had wanted so long ago; and taking/making some pictures.
The objective is clear: keep trying to find your self and work on discovering your own potential. When you catch yourself thinking about what others may think, simply let it go and come back to your own truth of who you are, what you have experienced and what you know to be true about yourself. Discover, explore and enjoy what it is you value about yourself.
Time to change that belief at the top of this page? Persist and make sure to get the support you need.