The global rate of depression has gone up with 18% since 2005 alone, and as a society, we feel more disempowered than ever.
We put a great deal of focus onto our physical well-being; we like to exchange tips on how to eat more healthy, how to exercise more efficiently, and if we hurt ourselves, the damage is often on display and we talk about it. After all we all have a body so it makes sense to understand the best ways to look after it and share our experiences as we go through life with it.
But when it comes to our mental health and the understanding behind the mechanics of our minds, this sharing trend seems to pull a Houdini.
We don’t like to talk much about how we think or feel except for when absolutely necessary and usually until after it’s become a problem. We’re not yet aware of how to tame the wild horse we call the mind when it gets off tangent, and when we become interested in learning how-to it’s usually towards the end of the race.
Though we do live in times of ample information sharing, so we could argue and say that ignorance is really a choice. After all don’t we all have a duty to heal ourselves now and understand what the heck is going on behind our own scenes just so we don’t have yet another generation of trauma passing itself off as culture?
For the truth is that most of us still live on auto-pilot.
We’ve disengaged our complete presence and gone off somewhere in the background of our creation because we’re exhausted. We’re tired of living in a high stress reality where what we’ve been told was right by our surroundings, is in fact making us ill.
We know so much on a theoretical level, but we do little to implement that knowledge into action.
We know but we don’t know how. Our social hypnosis has conditioned us to believe that we’re not able to heal ourselves on our own. That we need something from outside of ourselves to make us happy, and that in the end, we have little power over our own lives to create an ideal existence.
That x y or z needs to be perfect first or otherwise we won’t make it, which in prophetic language is the same as saying that when the stars align, then I’ll be happy…when this or that occurs, then things will work out for me
Unfortunately…as much as that excludes full personal responsibility, that scenario is flawed from the very core. It makes us look outwardly once again and place our own control into the hands of something outside of ourselves.
And we’ve all been programmed to that degree into believing that this is our truth, so we resist the urge to wake up for as long as we can bear it, for we are strong and the fear of a perceived failure is paralyzing.
When depression or anxiety start creeping in, we become forced to start paying attention. We get given an opportunity to draw the curtains behind what we thought possible and change it – change the programming of our mind, change our habitual beliefs, take back the strength we thought we’d lost.
But we usually have to get to breaking point first. As a species we see change as an option to be considered only if absolutely necessary – when we feel we’ve reached the end of the road and have nowhere else left to go, then we reassess a new path.
What if we instead of changing our course when prompted to by our surroundings, we charted our own path and created a life that wasn’t born out of a cause and effect modality, and instead caused an effect? The one that we most desired.
Our evolution of consciousness wants us to know that we are capable of more, that we aren’t simply respondents, that we’re initiators, creators. That we are deserving of more than just survival and that we can get the life we envision.
So how can we even begin to understand the complexity and yet also paradoxically, the simplicity of our inner worlds so that we may see tangible changes in our lives?
What happens when we start inviting full awareness into our existence? When we begin to pay close attention to our thoughts, scrutinizing them for their individual value and discard the ones that no longer serve us.
Would we discover an already disciplined mind, or would we find one that works against us?
When we witness another human being belittled, we deem it despicable, we find it cruel and heartless. Yet if we stop to consider this, most of us self-deprecate every day. We push ourselves down without even knowing it – tell ourselves things we wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else, let alone our best friends or family members. And yet somehow, it’s ok when we do it towards ourselves.
When our minds have shifted from being an analytical tool to a corrupted ally it isn’t easy to admit that we in fact are in an abusive relationship with ourselves.
Abuse. Not something we want to associate with ourselves. It sounds almost a little over-dramatic.
But a relationship where we accept any act of insult, humiliation, infantilization or forceful criticism that can lead to the diminishment of our identity, dignity and self worth, does indeed have abuse at its core.
It doesn’t have to be overly conspicuous to be deemed as such, in fact most times these type of thoughts are elusive, reaffirmed over years and years of programming.
And does that make it ok? Just because they’ve been part of who we are for a long time?
Just stop for a moment and imagine if the things you often think about yourselves, were spoken out loud to your best friend or your partner. And by the way, these don’t have to be thoughts that we deem as grotesquely belittling, they can include all the thoughts that simply aren’t supportive for our overall mental well being.
Imagine that if our best friend told us about a job interview they attended, we’d told them that they probably wouldn’t get it because they were most likely not good enough.
Or if our sister asked us what we thought about her new outfit, and we’d reply that she looked gross and fat in it, that people would judge her.
How would that make us look?
Like a complete arse, right? Insensitive. Heartless.
You see, when a person gets showered with negative attributes on a repetitive basis, there is a very high chance that over time they will start to believe it – that they are in fact ugly, or worthless, or just not good enough.
Over time it will start to affect their self-esteem, which in turn would result in the diminished desire to take chances in life. They would want to remain in the comfort of what they already know in fear that they may make an even bigger fool of themselves than what they already feel to be. Their reality will begin to alter and a feeling of control-loss will slowly start to increase.
If these hypothetical people were in real-life relationships with others who did make them feel that way, you would urge them to leave them, that they are better than that. That they deserve more.
But when is the last time we had that little pep talk with ourselves?
When was the last time we shone our entire awareness onto all those automatic thought processes that fire and wire while we go on about our lives?
We may not be able to change what other people think about us, but we can change what we think about ourselves and make it a promise to become our own best friend. The one who cheers us at the side-line of our race even when it rains. We all deserve that. For if we can’t depend on our own full support as we go through the sometime foggy stages of our lives, who can we count on?
And it may not be easy in the beginning to change our relationship with ourselves, our behaviour is so hard wired that only relentless determination and super awareness will do the trick.
But don’t we owe it to ourselves? To the little child within us who’s still looking up at us with wide eyes begging to be loved.
For when we go about our lives hoping for tomorrow to be a better day, we’ll suddenly remember that in the end we are not able to manifest something bigger than what we perceive ourselves to be.