I love my work because I get to see so many who are willing to reach in for a better version of themselves. It is ever inspiring, and sometimes – in darker moments – a reminder that there is always possibility for change.
But the dark moments come back, and sometimes they can be seductive. Self-judgment becomes a habit; a slippery slope to depression. Even as I write I find myself reluctant to consider the subject for fear of contamination.
Human beings have a problem. We want relief, joy, intimacy, the lightness of being. We want it so much, and at the same time we undermine it. We want to enjoy vulnerability, yet we protect ourselves because we don’t want to get hurt.
Without the will to explore our darker side we fall into the trap of by-pass, avoidance and denial, but to visit the shadowy realms is risk-ridden and dangerous.
The questions I asked for our breathwork this Sunday were these:
On a scale of 1-10, how fulfilling is your life right now?
What would your next choice be to make it more so?
It was moving to see the honesty of the answers, and as I read through them I noticed a significant pattern. Some people put a 7, 8 or 9 as their current life fulfilment level, others were as low as 1 or 2.
Those who felt more fulfilled were very clear about what their next choice would be to make life even better, most to do with gratitude. Those who rated their fulfilment as low said that they didn’t want to choose as they had given up on themselves.
What it showed me was that the less fulfilled people felt, the less sense of choice they had. It makes it easy to understand just how slippery the slope to depression is.
I know what it’s like to be down there, and I imagine in your life you have scraped bottom too. But it also begs the question: “When you are at an all time low, is it true that you have no choices, or do you miss making ones that may serve you better?
It’s easy to believe that the problems we face are ours alone to carry, and life in the shadow of shame and self-deprecation is a lonely one. But the truth is that it isn’t personal, it’s all a part of the human condition. It happens to us all at some point, and the only thing for sure is that if we don’t make new choices, we will stay there.
In a world where self-development is so important to counterbalance the horrors we see around us, it can be all too easy to fall into a choice-less state, to blame ourselves for not doing well enough and others for getting it wrong. It is a pit of darkness, and as easy as it is to slide down into it, it is even harder to climb back out.
Today’s responses in the chat box suggest something else too; where gratitude exists there is little room for depression. So in times when you feel at your lowest, here are some questions that may be of value to you:
Are you willing to consider that your experience is an illusion?
Can you think of a choice you made to get to this state of being that you could change now?
Are you willing to notice – and measure – differently?