Several years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression. At the time, I was consumed with fear. My obsessive thoughts dictated my actions. I was anxious and full of sadness and personal hate. It wasn’t until I’d walked the long road to believing in my future self that I could really transform my behaviors.
It was a choice I made daily, moment by moment. I started to trust my inner voice. It led me to new teachers, coaches, books, and places (both physical and metaphorical). As I acted on these inner nudges, my life began to transform, little by little.
When we are depressed, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, which makes the prospect of change too terrifying to pursue. I understand what it feels like when life seems to be fighting against you, as if everything is an uphill battle. But the solution is surprisingly simply. It’s compassion. Be compassionate toward yourself and toward others. It’s the most direct route I’ve found to happiness.
The more compassionate I was with myself, the more action steps I was able to take. The more steps I took, the stronger and more mentally stable I became.
As Virginia Woolf said, “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” I realized a large part of my depression was tied to the fact that I was avoiding my true calling, out of fear and a misguided allegiance to some cultural norm that said being a life coach and an author wasn’t “respectable.”
I would never be able to break free if I didn’t allow myself to take more risks and be more courageous in following my heart. So I left my corporate job to live a life I was proud of, connected to, and in love with. And in the process, I left my depression and addictions behind.
That is possible for anyone. But the process starts with knowing we aren’t alone. If you are feeling stuck, depressed, or anxious, know you are not alone in this world. I hope these reminders help you when you get discouraged:
1. You are so much more than your setbacks.
2. You belong in this world just as you are. Celebrate your weird, quirky, beautiful self.
3. Your dreams matter and they want to be realized, so give yourself permission to dream more.
4. How your life feels is more important than how it looks. Trust yourself more.
5. When you stop trying to find the light, you will see that you are the light.
6. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for being.
7. You don’t have to see the whole picture. Just take one step at a time. Daily action — however small — cultivates confidence and clarity.
8. All your problems are really pathways.
9. You deserve to believe in the person you want to become.
10. What you are searching for is not out there. It is in you.