Much like a heroin addict addicted to that drug, the chronically depressed person proceeds to scan for and find reason after reason to become depressed. She or he actually becomes adept at buying into the negativity of others or interpreting situations in such a way that reinforces whatever it was that caused them to feel sad during previous upsetting events. Depressed individuals even unwittingly tend to attract people and circumstances that allow them to “get their fix” of sadness.
Those who develop this addiction to sadness often abdicate responsibility for creating a different reality because of all of the frequently invisible, contrary benefits they receive by being sad. These include…
* They get to feel sorry for themselves.
* They get to evoke the sympathy of others.
* They get to be victims.
* They get to avoid responsibility for turning their situations around.
* They get to be right about how unfair things are.
* They get to make others wrong about something.
* They get to control others with their depression or avoid being dominated by them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Chronic depression is a very real condition…so real that brain chemistry becomes altered and if left untreated, can cause the depressed person to spiral downward into a self-destructive, debilitating state.
The Antidote to Depression
If you find yourself succumbing to this addiction to sadness and worsening depression, here are 10 things you can do to elevate your self-esteem and turn your situation around:
1. Take responsibility for doing whatever it takes to honor your most important core values. Your values are the threads that form the fabric of who you are at your core. If love, creativity, freedom, belonging, adventure, respect, security or other key values are being dishonored, identify what is needed to live in a manner that honors them.
2. Manage your negative thoughts. Create empowering interpretations for all daily events. Know that every challenging situation holds for you a gift for your personal growth and development. Embrace life as a continual learning process and look for the wisdom that will come from every problematic situation and difficult person.
3. Adopt an attitude of gratitude as you go about your day. It’s impossible to be grateful and feel self-pity simultaneously. Look for the good in every situation. Make every day your personal Thanksgiving day!
4. Take on an empathetic point of view during all upsetting situations. Remind yourself that everyone operates in alignment with how they view the world and in an effort to protect themselves from hurt and harm. Ask yourself, “What must it be like in the other person’s world to have them say or do what they did?” Decide to find the behavior of other people as interesting rather than offensive.
5. Give up your right to take things personally. Don’t buy into the negative opinions or distorted perspectives of others when they don’t support your happiness. Counter anger with love and fear with understanding.