Be honest with yourself. Have you ever felt depressed for a long period of time? There reaches a certain point in your depression when you get sick of people asking how you’re doing. Why? Because you hate to admit that you still aren’t well. It makes you feel weak. And you worry that your loved ones will get sick of hearing how bad you feel – that they’ll stop hanging out with you because “you’re always so negative,” which will make you feel worse – as if you are the reason for your loneliness.
How Are You Doing? I Hate That Question!
“How are you doing?” is a judgement of you. Or so it feels. And you don’t want their judgement – just like you don’t want the reminder that yes, I still feel like shit and don’t see any way to stop feeling like shit anytime soon – if ever. So, instead, you say you’re fine and move on, hoping that they never bring it up again. But you’re not fine. Far from it.
Now a lot of people, many of whom consider themselves experts in self love, will stress the importance of positive affirmations to overcome your depression. They will tell you how it changes your mental state. They will talk about how it changes your physical state, which will give you the strength to manifest, or bring into the world, a more positive future. The best selling book The Secret is probably the most warped form of this approach. The problems, however, in positive affirmations is that they sweep under the rug a very crucial part of our journey out of depression.
The Dangers of Positive Affirmations
The idea seems plausible – almost logical even. If I say “I am worthy” over and over again, I will eventually believe it. To be clear, true positive affirmation isn’t just some repetition of words and phrases like a Hail Mary. It involves visualization, which can be a very powerful form of motivation. But depression isn’t a paper cut – it isn’t a scrape on the knee. You won’t heal from your depression if you leave it be. You just won’t. It festers, it grows, it becomes more and more of a problem the longer you leave it be. It’s like cancer. And that’s what you’re doing when you’re engaging in positive affirmations. You are completely ignoring your depression. By saying you are fine or worse that you are great and worthy, you are lying to yourself, which is the worst possible thing you can do.
Ask any therapist, and they will tell you the vital importance of talking about what ails you. Human psychology does not work the same way as the human body. You can’t leave it alone. You can’t hide from it or place a band aid over it and expect yourself to be healed from your depression.
Be Honest With Yourself
In short, you need to admit that you’re not okay. Be honest with yourself. You need to keep admitting to it for as long as you need without fear. If you’re loved ones can’t understand, then find someone or some people who will. That can be a therapist. That can be a character in a book or music. Perhaps it’s a blank page or a canvas. It could also be a group online. Follow the #mentalhealth hashtag on Instagram for example. There are people struggling like you who will understand. Talk to them. Do not pretend how you’re feeling. Do not ignore your current state of mind – like, for example when I’m hating myself for my negative body image. If there’s anything I’ve learned from overcoming even my difficult struggles, it’s that ignoring how you feel will only make your struggle that much more difficult.
If you liked this article, then I suggest checking out my 10-part YouTube series on self love. In this practical and honest guide, I define self love and explain why we need it so badly, reveal how self love is a practice you can do every day, how to stop seeking validation for your worth in others, and so much more!