When I decided to take control of my life by healing my depression, I let go of several hard-worn habits that caused me to feel bad. Along with these habits went a few friends as well. Previously, my life was centered around instant gratification, fun and material gain without much depth. That made me feel miserable. It actually exasperated my depression because I was just focusing on short-term joys. As I began to focus more on hobbies and interests that gave me a sense of accomplishment and inner peace I deposited my old interests in the memory bank.
Well wouldn’t you know, when I changed, my friends didn’t magically change along with me. We quickly grew apart though I tried to hang on to them for longer than I needed because comfort is addicting and change is scary. A few of those friends I still keep in touch with, but we’re not as close as before because we have such different life pursuits.
Before I left on an extended vacation (a gift of unemployment) two years ago, a wise friend gifted me the book “Steering by Starlight” by Martha Beck. This book of self-realization resonated with me immediately. So much of it is full of ideas and actions I’ve been working on and that have helped me along the way. Her encouragement to look at the stars and be our own “Stargazer”, “Mapmaker” and “Pathfinder” is fantastic. I recommend getting a copy. Along with what I knew before opening the book I’m also learning new actions to help me stay focused on my true North. In the last chapter, “Leading Your Life” she talks about the fact that just because we change doesn’t mean everyone around else will embrace the changes and in fact some may react strongly against our new self. Her advice for this stage of our growth process is “sustaining calm, fearless affection” in our relationships.
“Instead of defending ourselves by counter attacking and riling up our ego-induced anger, we should recognize that our loved ones are in fact scared of losing us and unsure how to deal with that fear. They probably aren’t purposely trying to be mean. By staying centered and choosing reassuring words we can calm their fear and lead them along with us on the journey.” Read more of Martha’s advice on her blog: http://Marthabeck.com
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If you’re suffering from depression I strongly encourage you to seek help. If you can’t afford a therapist find a supportive mentor, teacher or healer who can help you discover inner peace. Healing is possible IF you are open and willing to commit to a self-care plan.