Are you playing the victim?

If you're playing the victim, you will act like a victim. Guess how far that'll get ya?When I set out on my great escape from depression towards a confident life, one of the hardest things to realize was that I had a habit of unconsciously playing the victim.

A habit that I needed to outright slaughter if I was going to get confidence, and get where I wanted to be.

This goes for you and everyone else, too.

I find that pretty much all of us play the victim from time to time. You might only do it in certain areas of your life; you might only do it in certain periods — like when you’re really low on confidence and self-esteem.

Chances are, you’re doing it. No matter the details.

But you don’t get it! I…

Oh yes, I do very much so get it. Because I’ve been there, taken the ride and gotten my picture taken, and I’ve had it sit on my mantelpiece for years and years. And it did me no good.

But…

Yeah, there’s that word again. “But”. Let me guess…

Following that “but”, you were gonna talk about how this-and-that were affecting you in whichever-and-whatever way. And about how you wouldn’t know what to do about it, and how there might not be anything you CAN do about it. Because it’s out of your hands.

Here’s a great new way of thinking for ya:

Whenever we play the “but…”-game, we’re playing the victim.

It doesn’t matter how “right” we might be; what happened when; or what which person said or did. There are only two things that matter:

    1) How we think about it

    2) What we do about it

How we think about things speaks volumes of who we are. And if you wanna be the kind of person who thinks like a victor, not a victim, it all starts with the simple choice of doing so.

This is an area worth many articles and books in itself. For now, I’ll simply say that it CAN be done. But you gotta truly want it, and you gotta be willing to let go of those non-supportive ways of thinking. Including the “but…”-game.

And then, of course, there’s the small matter of what we do about things. — A matter which speaks immensely greater magnitudes of who we are, and which in itself is worth not several books, but libraries altogether.

If we really wanna do the things we say we wanna do, we need to think about them the right way. This means we need to stop playing the victim.

Nobody who ever completed any goal worth pursuing ever did so by playing the victim.

Yes, a lot of things happened to you. Yes, they hurt, and yes, it’s tough. What are you doing about it?

When we think like victims, we will act like victims. But when we think confidently, we will act confidently. And that’s how we set ourselves up to win.

Now, don’t get me wrong on all of this. This insight — this ONE insight of how I’d been playing the victim, and how I needed to take responsibility for my thoughts and actions — is one of the harshest insights I’ve ever had to deal with.

Re-wiring my ways of thinking took years, and it probably will for you, too. But if you really want to, and if you keep at it, you WILL find a way to do it.

ACTION ITEM:

For the next week, don’t begin any of your thoughts or spoken sentences with the word “but”. Instead, substitute for “yes”, or at least “okay”.

Notice how this one simple way of thinking makes you more open and accepting towards new ideas rather than being all-too conveniently dismissive of them.

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Depression is NOT “laziness”, it’s your ignorance and arrogance that’s lazy.

What does low confidence have in common with depression? A lot of things, including that none of them can be reduced to a simple matter of "laziness".Many non-fident people will be familiar with depression. In fact, you could very well say that confidence and self-esteem are pretty safe antidotes for depression. — And vice versa.

When we’re depressed, we have little faith in our abilities and our future. In our purpose, our entire existence, our very worth as human beings. Depression in its worst forms can be one of the most debilitating non-lethal illnesses ever known to mankind. In fact, according to the WHO, depression will account for “the highest level of disability accorded any physical or mental disorder in the world” by 2030.*

(And I say “non-lethal”. Because in the case of suicidal depression, it’s technically not the disease itself that kills you.)

And then, some ignorant, self-righteous idiot starts claiming that it’s all about “being lazy”, “pulling yourself together”, and “if I can, so can you”. And then, I involuntarily grind my teeth and clench my fists.

As if depression was simply a matter of being “lazy”. I mean, how dare these people?!

As if anyone who, remarkably enough, knows absolutely nothing about depression, were even remotely qualified to have an opinion on the matter. — Much less write the whole thing off as “laziness”.

Seriously, if you’ve ever thought someone suffering from depression was simply being lazy, up yours. Your point of view is not only objectively wrong and twisted, it’s insulting and harmful. The end, period.

In fact, I think it’s about time we put the very idea of “laziness” to scrutiny. Because what I’ve found is that, when there’s someone we might consider “lazy”, there’s really all other kinds of stuff going on underneath that perceived laziness.

There’s fear. Insecurity. Barriers. There is analysis paralysis. These things tend to manifest as procrastination, inactivity, isolation, and defensiveness.

… But they’re NOT “laziness”.

And no, not even procrastination. It’s all based in fear; it’s all driven by fear.

Insecurity is basically fear. We perceive barriers out of fear. We over-think, second-guess and go into analysis paralysis out of fear. The most primal human feeling, (apart from the conglomerate of physical attraction, survival instinct and dopamine-induced emotions that we call love), is fear.

… NOT “laziness”.

– “Okay, so now there’s no lazy people anymore? What if the name is there for a reason?

Well, everything’s here for a myriad of reasons. But just because every ol’ man-made notion or idea is here for a reason doesn’t make it true.

Our ancestors used to think the solar system was geocentric. Errrrrrp, wrong answer.

It’s not that I’m writing off the idea that someone can be lazy. But psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and mental therapists have long since built an entire bulletproof framework around the concept of depression. By working with people suffering from depression and low confidence/self-esteem.

— Just like astronomers have long since discovered that our solar system is heliocentric.

Depression is real; it’s medically proven; and it’s not laziness. On the contrary, the only thing that’s remotely lazy in this context is the ignorance and arrogant attitude of anyone who claims that depressed people are simply being “lazy”.

 

* Source: https://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/2012/february/manicavasagar/

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We need a more nuanced way of saying “just do it”

Try telling someone with low confidence and/or depression to just do it. -- Actually, don't.People with low confidence and/or depression endure additional frustration when confronted with the attitude of just do it.

Popularized by an immense athletics corporation, it’s hard not to see the mass-appeal of this ubiquitous saying. — And of its more jaunty sibling: Nothing to it but to do it.

Ah, how quaintly it conveys confidence and a winning spirit.

Unfortunately, it’s hardly translatable into utility.

Two reasons for that:

    1) First of all, it only presents an attitude that, when paired with persistence, focus, and above all a crystal clear plan, will help you endure. But when you have neither, what good is a one-sentence peptalk in itself?

In other words: I should just do what, exactly?

And when? And how? For how many hours a day? What time of day? And until when? And succeeded by what?

     2) Second, depression and low confidence is impossible to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself. And the people who are keen on giving well-meant advice often have no clue what kind of situation they’re addressing…:

Feel depressed? Well, you just gotta pull yourself together!

Can’t lose weight? Well, you just gotta eat less and exercise more!

No luck with the ladies? Well, you just gotta be yourself!

Don’t have any friends? Well, you just gotta have more confidence!”

*SIGH*

Look: Building one’s confidence and/or breaking free of depression can be tough. Solving those issues can take months, or even years. And…

If you have neither confidence nor direction in life, being met with an attitude of just do it isn’t only inappropriate; it can seem downright insulting.

If we wanna carry something out, we gotta be specific about it. Only THEN does it make sense to talk about “just” doing something.

First, however, we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do. And for many people, this in itself is a biggie.

(Hell, it took me +33 years!)

Specifically, the best way to get started on this is to start walking one path. Plain and simple.

Pick it out of interest. If you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere, pretty much anything will do.

This isn’t a mandatory future career we’re embarking on here. We merely walk a path because any momentum is essential for any progress, and because standing still will only cause us to deteriorate.

Also, if at any point we feel like changing directions, we can always do that. And we will have gathered valuable experience for our onward journey.

ACTION ITEM:

Write down at least three things you’d like to answer the next time someone gives you the happy-go-lucky attitude of just do it.

No need to be belligerent. Just think about what you’d most of all want people to understand, and use that as a benchmark.

Optionally, if what you need might be direction, write down three things you’d might wanna pursue. List any pros and cons beneath each one. If you have no interests whatsoever, take comfort in the fact that you likely have worlds of undiscovered interests ahead.

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Three magic words for depression and tough times

No matter how deep your depression, there's always a light at the end of the dark. Whether we see it or not. If you’ve never experienced depression, consider yourself lucky. But show me one human being who does not profess to at least having been upon hard times, and I’ll show you a liar.

(Well, either that or one lucky bastard.)

Even the bigshots, the Sylvester Stallones and Tony Robbinses of this world, will tell you that they did most certainly not get where they are today without having to endure goodies like stress, depression, financial rock-bottom, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles galore up front.

So, then, what’s their secret?

While there certainly isn’t one single answer to that one, I believe there’s somewhat of a common denominator.

When normal people face hard challenges, they usually give in, give up, adapt to their new circumstances, and/or simply let things run their course.

Look at the number of people with depression in the US. It’s alarming, and it goes to show that not many people actively do something to change their current circumstances rather than let their current circumstances have their way with them.

Of course, as in the case of depression, this can be totally understandable. Sometimes we simply can’t. Sometimes things need to run their course. And sometimes, like with most depressions, it really DOES get better.

Of course, we should always try to take action whenever possible. Even though things seem futile and hopeless, there’s often something we can do to improve our situation. But however things are, we could always use some encouragement.

For those darkest of days, I’ve found this quaint little reminder. I used it a fortnight ago when I was seriously ill. Usually, I have a kickass immune system, but I felt like I literally might need extensive medical treatment, and that I was in grave danger. I mean, it was messed up.

And so, while impotently slumping on the couch like a sack of rotten apples, trembling with cold and quietly mewling from aching joints and muscles, I continually forced this one mantra through my near-feverishly-delirious mind:

THIS
WILL
PASS!

Remember those three words. Because it’s these words – or any equivalent thereof – which goes through the minds of great people who endure and overcome stuff more wicked than you and I can imagine.

I’ve used this mantra before, but never so intensely as the other week. And while it doesn’t do anything to better one’s current predicament, it really does help on one’s awareness and outlook.

Because…: EVERYTHING PASSES.

Neither summers nor winters last. The inevitable march of time does not give two shits about you, me, or anyone else. (And we all end up dying, and there’s no Santa Claus.)

But getting stuck in a negative focus is all too easy, and we probably all know this all too well. And so, oftentimes, we could use an anchor connecting us to the positive side of things.

“But what about people who have terminal cancer, or AIDS, or [insert deadly illness of your choosing]?”

Well, there’s not one saying that applies to every imaginable situation. What I’m saying is that whenever one comes upon harsh circumstances, chances are that things WILL get better.

And no matter how bleak things appear, we need to know it, and to act like it. Because that way, we set ourselves up to win. And otherwise, we set ourselves up to lose.

So the next time you fall upon a seemingly dark period, remember those three words:

This will pass“.

Let them be your light in the dark. Because, whether you can see it or not, the light really is there.

We just gotta know it, remember it, and live by it. Only then can we move with safety and confidence.

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