Depression makes me want to sit down, lie down, curl up in a ball.
It doesn’t like it when I stand up, let alone stand up for what’s important to me. It would prefer I ignore anything that doesn’t directly involve paying attention to its unhelpful thinking. It is most comfortable when it has me time traveling.
I can easily be in the future or the past.
There is no need for a time machine, I can do it all in my head. On my commute to work, I sometimes start to ‘should’ on myself. I travel back to the past and revisit situations that I have been involved in and moan out loud. Then depression has me catalog all the things I did wrong and all the things that might have been if I hadn’t made the wrong choices.
You would think depression would know that this is upsetting to me.
But it keeps finding ways to have me time traveling. And the worst part of this is that over the past 40+ years, I have allowed depression to take me to places where I can feel sorry for myself. Where I can wallow around in self-pity, and moan aloud, “whoa is me.” It also wants me to think of myself as the victim. “they did this to me” is a popular topic with depression.
“If only they hadn’t done this, I would be fine.”
But I have fought against this thinking. Even before acknowledging that I have depression, I have been actively focusing my brain to not be the victim. I have chosen to look at the glass as half full and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. This has been a success story for me over the years. Now I see how this way of thinking has antagonized depression. It is too positive, too hopeful. It wants me to experience gloom, despair, and agony to quote Laugh In.
This post,I thought, was going to be about something else.
When I sat down to write, I was going to explore relationships at work. Am I focused enough on addressing what’s important too me? I saw me writing about this as I understand how my thinking impacts those around me. I want to set the proper expectations so everyone will be clear.
Most people hate to be told what to do.
Most people love to know what to do.
This is the challenge, to get information to others in a way that they think it was their idea.
I stand up for what’s important to me.
This is part of my daily affirmation. It is part of my value as a human being. It is part of what makes me special. And by including it in my daily affirmations, I am reinforcing it in my brain.
It turns out the real issue is unhelpful thinking.
How I frame my thoughts determines what’s important to me. This underlies how I use my brain during the day, what actions I take, everything about who I am. If I am not clear on what’s important to me, how can I stand up for it?
Saying my affirmations many times a day for the past week has emboldened me to be stronger, to feel like I have value, and to be prouder of myself, just the way I am. In addition, doing a deep dive into each of the affirmations I am saying may be helpful to me.
By exploring this one belief, “I stand up for what’s important to me,” I am learning more about myself. This process can be frightening as well as uplifting. Above all, I am rewarded with a better sense of who I am and what I believe.
Understanding what I believe is a step towards accepting myself just as I am. I have struggled with my own self-worth. For most of my adult life, I have measured my value as it related to something else. I know my value when I am a father, a manager, or a husband. But just sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee, watching our dog sniff around to determine what animals visited last night, my value has been unclear.
Understanding that I have value even when it is not attached to something has been a big hurdle for me.
I stand up for what’s important to me could mean standing up for me! However, if I only stand up for me in the context of a label; father, manager, etc., then I am not important. The title, the role, the responsibilities I have when I think of myself in that role, that’s what I am demonstrating is important.
When I can only see my value in relation to something else, I am really saying I am NOT important.
Depression must have thought up this deception. For instance, it seems logical that I should stand up for my roles and my titles. Yet this is only a small part of me, with all my flaws, blemishes and quirks. I am many things and I need to accept that there are some parts of me that I would like to change. But there are parts of me I would never change. Parts I am very proud of.
A few months ago, I would not have even dared explore this.
Now, I am determined to better understand myself and the value I place on me. Standing up for what I believe in is more than just an affirmation. It demonstrates to the world my attitude and beliefs. My actions are how I am judged by others. Unless I see value in myself, just as I am, it will be difficult for others to see it.
How can I expect to be treated better, like I treat others, if I do not see value in myself?
Until I believe in my soul that the affirmations I am saying are true, then my sense of self-worth will not change. Saying that gives me a clearer picture of what I need to do. I will continue to say my affirmations and understand that standing up for what’s important to me includes me being important to me.
What do you stand up for?