All of us have a unique journey and different ways of dealing with similar situations. In this blog I’ll talk about what I think helped me to not only get back on my feet but also to become a better version of myself.
It’s a long journey on the path of self-recovery and self-discovery. You’ll fall hard every step of the way, fail miserably but you’ll have to still muster the courage to keep going. Every-time you fail, know that you’ve made the maximum progress then. It’s a life-long learning process. What I am going to share with you is the essence of learnings acquired over a long period of time.
If you haven’t read the Series 1 of this blog which tries to explain what depression is? How it feels like? And how you can identify it? I recommend reading this blog first to have better context.
A disclaimer before we start: The things I am sharing are not to be looked at from the perspective of solutions to a problem which you’ll implement once and wait for the results. It’s not going to work like that. Working on yourself is a continuous process, look at it from a perspective of making a lifestyle change.
I spent long time thinking about what helped me, believe me when I say there are a lot of factors that influences one’s state of mind in different situations. I’ve tried to summarize it all here in 8 points:
Nobody can help you as well as you can. You’ve to take care of yourself every step of the way. If you don’t understand yourself then how do you expect others understand you? You’ve to be the first person who loves and respects you. If you are not at peace and happy with yourself, no one else can ever make you happy or give you mental peace.
Self-love doesn’t mean “Pamper yourself” which lot of us confuse it with. Self-love is to listen to your body and mind, give them what they need, healthy food, encouraging and positive thoughts, proper sleep, relaxed mind and body, no beating yourself up over unnecessary perfection. The list goes on, but you get the gist, prioritize yourself.
One of the biggest enemy of self- love is the negative attitude. Negativity makes one’s life miserable. Adapt a positive attitude, start looking at life through a lens of positivity. Trust me, this skill will go a long way.
Whenever I had a negative thought, I would consciously introduce a positive one. Whenever the feeling of resignation took me over, I pushed myself “Just a little bit more, there’s nothing to lose from here. We are almost there, don’t give up now”.
I was very clear on one thing, life is long and I don’t want to live in perpetual agony.
You might say, while living with positive attitude is the best thing, but don’t you want to be prepared for the worst case scenario? I can’t agree more, you should always be prepared for the worst case scenario. However, the trick is to never let the worst case scenario suck away your motivation and become the leading factor of your life. Don’t resign before you even start by dwelling on the worst case, that’s where positive attitude comes in play.
Be Grateful for the good and the bad
Do you know, how lucky we are to be born here, to be able to experience life, feel different emotions, see the beautiful nature, smell the mud right after rain, and taste the wonderful food which we have perfected over thousands of generations? How stupid can we be to just waste it all away!!! Life has just started, how can we already give up? There’s so much to life.
The objective of life is not to achieve something or feel happy all the time. It is to do something and experience everything.
Perpetual happiness is a myth, how will you enjoy a single emotion forever? It’ll get boring beyond a point. Our human soul seeks different experiences. Soon you’ll be unsatisfied again and will look for something new. To be able to experience happiness, you have to experience the lack of it too.
Only in the absence, we learn to appreciate the presence
Consider yourself lucky to be experiencing what you are experiencing, I am not saying it’s amazing to be depressed. No, it sucks. But isn’t is making you stronger in the process, more resilient, more empathetic, and above all it makes you realize the importance of those moments of happiness and emotional turmoil which usually we don’t even acknowledge.
Just like coal has to go through a gruelling process to turn into diamond. Similarly, you my friend are on your way to become a diamond. How brilliant a diamond you become is in your hand!
Change of perspective
Always Remember your mind is you
I constantly felt like I am in an endless well, I can see the sky at the other end, I can see the boundary of the well, I can see where I have to reach, I just have to climb it. But no matter how hard I climbed every time I looked up, the walls were still as high as they were before I started. It was an unending well. It was exhausting, but I kept trying.
All my failed attempts, slowly made me realize that I wasn’t being honest in all my attempts. All the troubles, that endless well, they didn’t really exist in real life, physically I was free, the well existed only in my mind. We think what we want to think, we do what we want to do. And if I really wanted to climb out of that well, all I had to do was change my perspective. How can I be trapped in something which existed only in my mind?
So, slowly but surely instead of pitting myself and thinking of being trapped, I shifted my thoughts to being free and looking down the well instead of looking up from the well. And oh buoy! Did it work like a magic.
BE HONEST AND LET GO!
Here’s a little secret about memory. With time, our feelings, our experiences, our memory fades away. Some old neurons die, some become weak, while rest get overwritten by new experiences, thoughts and feelings. However, if you continue thinking about the same thing, you’ll be restoring memory of the old experiences. The longer you dwell on a thought, the longer it takes to fade away.
Just like we don’t catch cold for no reason, our mind doesn’t catch any sickness for no reason, there always is a cause. Our subconscious brain is very powerful, even when you think nothing is bothering you, deep somewhere there must be something that is causing you to feel the way you are now. Once you identify the cause, you’ve won half the battle.
Sometimes when we find ourselves behaving or reacting in an acceptable way towards a certain situation, we try to behave in ways we find acceptable while shoving our actual feelings deep inside. Sometimes we ignore our actual feelings and thoughts, to not get overwhelmed by them. Sometimes we unconsciously bury a traumatic experience and our conscious mind forgets about it, but all this while when we are being dishonest with ourselves and trying to run away from the version of us we don’t agree with, our subconscious brain keeps storing everything. So we never really forget anything instead we just remember these experiences as unpleasant, and leave them unresolved. These supressed feelings are like a festering wound, the longer they remain unattended the worse they become.
Be honest with yourself and try to identify the root cause of your feelings. No matter how harsh the truth might seem. None of us are perfect. We learn and grow in every moment of our existence. Forgive and Accept yourself and others, only then can you really move on. Once attended, these old wounds will slowly heal with time. Trust the process, just keep trying and you’ll come out stronger and wiser. Slowly but surely your present will start becoming your past and before you know it, you’ll be free
FIND AN OUTLET
You need to express your feelings, it could be either by talking to someone or by finding a creative outlet, like writing, painting, reading, working your ass off, travelling, exercising, swimming etc. It can be anything, but it’s really important to find an outlet for your feelings, because if you keep it all bottled up it will keep eating you from within and leave you feeling emptier than ever.
Half of my problems were solved when I learned how to really communicate my feelings not only with others but also with myself. Over time I learned, the more I dissect my feelings and communicate, the lesser power these feelings have on me.
I feel, it’s worth mentioning though, that you should definitely steer clear from the immediate escapes, alcohol, drugs, etc. Their effect will fade away in a few hours but they’ll leave you feeling emptier than ever, not to mention their devastating effect on your body.
I don’t know where I would have been right now and what would I have done, if I hadn’t found faith. The faith in the universal energy, which is greater and much powerful than our individual self, the combined energy of this universe of which we are an integral and significant part and yet nothing compared to its magnanimity.
There is this weird but really strong sense of security in complete surrender.
By surrender, I neither mean that you don’t do anything for yourself and wait for something good to happen, nor I mean you follow a definite religion or a person blindly.
By surrender I mean, to lead every second of your life with a positive outlook that whatever happens, happens for the best. Acknowledge the fact, that you can’t know and can’t control everything around you.
Steve Jobs very famously said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”
Only by complete surrender can you really trust something. The only person you can trust the most is YOU, not your parents, not your partner, not your friends, not a guru, not a deity. You already have all the answers, just need to find them. Let the Universe be your guide, you’ll find all the answers, just keep your senses awake and listen to that voice inside, it’s your voice. Don’t ignore it.
Surrender yourself to the universe, don’t hold back. The sense of security and fearless positivity that comes from it, will naturally make you take action for yourself in the right direction. Imagine the power of not just understanding but accepting yourself completely, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and at the same time being utterly fearless in all your actions and thoughts. Ain’t that a fatal combo?
I had lot of inhibitions, I was too harsh on myself for being so weak, for not thinking or behaving how I expected myself to. I was ashamed and scared of revealing my thoughts, this is where Travel helped me a lot.
While travelling, I met a lot of people from different walks of life, different culture, different dreams. Everyone was fighting their own demons, and strangely I found myself confiding in them very easily. With these strangers, I was free from the fear of being judged on my feelings and thoughts. And that’s when I realized, I was not as alone as I thought I was, these strangers were able to understand what I was failing to communicate. There is this extreme sense of kinship and comfort when you know you might never see your fellow traveller again. And before I knew, strangers started to feel like family and all new places became my home.
The feeling of being able to travel to far-away places all by yourself, is quite empowering. The more I travelled the more independent and confident I became. I was able to get myself out of any difficult situation and take care of myself in any new place, it was all very new for my 20 year old self.
Travelling shows you the beauty of this amazing planet that we are privileged to live on and the beautiful souls you meet by sheer luck. It’ll make you marvel, feel humble and grateful. The immense love you get while travelling is unparalleled. It’s while travelling I found my Zum (my happy place, my home) 🙂
Still not convinced? Read my other blog on Why you should travel Solo? May be this will convince you.
Thanks for reading so far. Let’s proceed towards the conclusion :p
We all know the theory of dos and don’ts but learning the application takes years to master, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything right in the first attempt.
It’s extremely important to be completely honest with yourself at all times, even when your thoughts and feelings are not as per your expectation. Forgive yourself and forgive others, don’t be ashamed of your feelings, only and only then you will be able to Let go.
Spend time with yourself, treat yourself with respect. Whatever you do in your life, whatever is happening to you, it’s all in your hands. It’s your eff-ing life, it’s all your decisions that put you in a certain situation and will take you out from certain others.
So try try and try until you successfully get your ass out of that bed and just move.
Each day is a progress. Take baby steps, just get up and keep that cup in the kitchen, fold all the clothes today, take a shower and go for 5 mins walk, feeling thirsty? Go and get that glass of water don’t dehydrate yourself. Just a little bit effort every day.
Move a little every day,
Just a little, but every day
I Promise you, it’ll get better, by the end of it you’ll be the best version of yourself. Just don’t give up yet, keep trying.
And if you feel like talking, drop me a message. My details are here.
Keep your hand on your heart, Right now! Do it while you’re reading this. Yes, this person right under your hand is YOU, the one person who understands you the most in this entire universe and who has got your back at all the effing time. You are the first person you’ve to learn to love and respect, only when you have it in abundance can you share it with others.
You’ve got one shot at life, don’t throw it away.
Until next time…