We Are Depressed When We Are Not Ourselves
When we betray our true selves, there are emotional consequences.
Since the 1930’s in America, rates of depression and anxiety have climbed, especially among college-age students. Long-term studies show a steady increase over time.
How could this be? The 1930’s were called “The Great Depression,” after all. Life has supposedly been getting better since then! These days we have cars, phones, TV’s, video games, airplanes, microwaves, and fast food.
Daily tasks are easier, more convenient, and we have more options… but we’re getting more depressed! Why are we not happier?
Our current culture, with all of its luxuries, does not support the blossoming of who we are meant to be.
Those who do live authentic lives do it despite social pressures, not because of them.
Conforming social pressures include:
- Media. By creating unrealistic expectations through idealized snapshots, media and social media are making us feel lonelier and worse about ourselves.
- Valuing Image Over Substance. If having a new, shiny iPhone makes us feel better than other people, or better about ourselves, then we are likely to overlook real areas of potential growth. Our ideas of image and status either limit or aggrandize our ‘deservedness,’ and what we allow into our lives. We create a mental delusion which stops us from seeing ourselves and our world clearly.
- Emotional Denial and Suppression. Many people are trained from childhood to ignore, deny, or act out feelings. In families and social gatherings, real, authentic emotions are often met with ridicule, guilt, or shame — as those uncomfortable with emotions try to shut them down.
Being true to yourself is much easier said than done.
I verbalized my desire to be my own authority years before I connected with my authenticity. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just decide and make it so? “I want to be enlightened!” …and POOF! You are fully awake.
Instead it is a long and slow process. There are many moments of realization and awakening along the long path. Uncovering your natural self happens slowly, in layers, and in a way your life can handle.
For most people it is a process of reintegration. You already are who you are. The process of becoming yourself begins by shedding your role and false selves, consciously and unconsciously. There are countless ways to achieve it. For example, meditation, quality therapy, yoga, regular time in nature, a practice of loving, self-reflection, spiritual study, and much more. Those activities that connect you to truth, and to yourself, lift up your spirit, or center you.
To peel away the layers, I have used a simple but powerful polarity processing from Leslie Temple-Thurston. It’s even more potent in a group — find out for yourself live online twice a month.
When we long for something in our lives, whether it is love, or money, or status, or success, what we really ache for is ourselves. Authenticity brings all the parts of yourself home. You feel full enough to enjoy being you, without looking for outside approval.