Life isn’t easy but it’s worth the fight. All of us at some point in our lives go through some pressure, some setbacks and some moments of grief. We all have an equal share of miseries and like we all are created unique; our experiences of such moments are unique and adjacent to us.
Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and feelings of guilt, shame have now become the cancer of 21st century. With the rise of pop culture, social media; a digital comparison these days makes us feel if we are not good, not fit or are not getting much out of our life. Much worse than physical pain, the scars of the past can remain with you for ages and hinder all your growth. They take away your power, limit your personal growth and put you in an abyss of guilt that consumes us all from within.
According to press sources, 50 million Pakistanis are suffering from mental disorders in the Country but again these are all registered cases, many of them go unreported. Additionally, in the current era of 2018, we all are exposed to an environment which is slowly becoming a breeding ground for depression and feeling of self-pity to take place. So many factors come to play here:
Rise of Social Media
Although social media like Facebook, twitter all are great inventions and epitome of revolution in communication. But, too much reliance to them and accounts on all social media sites can result in comparing our lives with the ones we see on our feeds. By watching that beautiful house the actress has or her looks, you many feel that you are not good enough. Those snapchat stories of people enjoying their lives might make you feel as if your life is boring and has no fun. Furthermore, Cyber-bullying these days is real and has resulted in a lot of suicides and mental disorders for victims of it.
The rise of domestic violence and family problems are nowadays a major contributor to the depression. The family conflicts, emotional and physical abuse, hate, discrimination is increasingly spreading in families. These all issues affect everyone in family and play a breeding ground for mental health issues. The most effected ones are the children. You can see and observe how the behavior of a child changes in school and college when they have to deal with family issues and feuds at home. Unfortunately, the lack of family and child counselling in Pakistan, makes it more difficult to prevent these practices.
The loss of the loved ones can be the most drastic and devastating period of our lives. It is hard to imagine a life without your parents, partner or siblings. The loss shatters us, and we tend to breakdown. This period of our lives is when we are more prone to give up. I have seen many personal cases where loss of a family member makes a whole family disrupted, they tend to give up on their lives and hope for future. This is the time when they need support of society and help of loved ones to rise back in life.
Another facet is the personal loss. This can be in the form of a broken marriage, loss of a property/home, job loss, business fall etc. The worst part is its unannounced. This loss shatters a lot of people and they begin to fall for the victim cycle. The disbelief demons become active and take away their self-belief. We tend to become ungrateful and curse fate. We look for whom to blame thus avoiding taking any responsibility and ownership of situation for too long.
The three ingredients that make us truly human are our mind, soul and heart. Yet the most complex and hard to understand are our "fragile hearts". We cannot train it, control it, dictate or guide its decisions. It makes its own ways. Thus, the hardest part are our emotions connected with heart. It’s always difficult to handle ourselves especially in our youth when we have no control over the changes in our body, the mood swings and emotions that we develop along the way in life.
In 21st century, the breakups, heartbreaks and divorce are the new trends. As for all decisions of our heart, we do not have any control over whom we fall for. The trouble begins to emerge when we do not get the person whom for we madly fall in love or when a relationship that was going so well in start ends up in breakup for no any reason. We reach to our emotional thresholds and maybe breakout in cases of divorce, broken marriages, breakups. This is where we are most and in current era most prone to depression and all mental issues. We tend to do all things that in our normal state of mind, we would never do. We go into an abyss of emotional fall that breaks us within.
Even those in relationships are in for the all kinds of emotional rides. The rules of the game are never clear but we all are bound to play. Thus, those in relationships are also in for all mental breakdowns, fights and hate. The continuity of issues and quarrels in relationships brings depression, anxiety and a blend of complex emotions in life.
These are not all but few of the causes of why and how depression comes in our lives. In many cases we invite it while in others it tends to befall upon us due to circumstances. To explain this cycle, let us imagine depression as a Devil. A little quite Devil residing in your mind. This devil of depression breeds and grows bigger on our disbelief, our reaction to loss and issues. We tend to give control of our life to the devil and in return he produces and manufactures a multitude of negative thoughts from your mind to consume you.
As the devil continually expands and grows in your mind , it will manufacture more disbelief , a factory of negative thoughts and a feeling of sorry and grief for no reason at times. You will find yourself willfully avoiding people, assuming the most worst circumstances for any life problem or situation, will super worry of what other people think of you , eventually avoiding your parents/partner or social settings. You will fall for the hate, jealousy and anger more often and that devil inside your mind gets a "high" with each negative emotion your trigger.
During these circumstances, we tend to give up control over our lives and let circumstances drive us. We try to blame ourselves for all this and fall in a downward spiral of victim syndrome. Unfortunately, for some mental issues come to play to involve them in harmful and self-destructive habits. Many people are prone to start smoking , drinking alcohol , doing drugs and resorting to crime due to the depression and low self-esteem.
Lets assume example of Jack. A normal fun living person like you and me. Jack had a breakup with his fiance and a loss in business together in one week. This was a terrible time for Jack and he begins to question Why It Only Happens With Him ? Why It Has Always To Be HIM ? !
This triggers the Devil of depression into action in Jack’s mind. The devil will sent a vary of negative thoughts into Jack’s mind. It will try to make Jack play as victim of fate and circumstances. It will spur thoughts to Jack of such instances of grief and loss in past and try to reason that he is the VICTIM. Whenever , Jack is with friends, family and surrounded by loved ones, it will trigger itself more stronger into Jack’s mind and not let him enjoy a good time by always replaying the bad memories of the past in his mind.
In the days that follow , Jack will have only negative thoughts and his self-esteem will decrease and devalue each day thus giving the devil in his mind to control his every decision and emotion. When he will wake up and finds even his toothpaste empty, the devil will proclaim in his mind that “Boy O Boy, today is going to a bad day for you” and he will fall for it. He will not strive hard, work on his goals and tasks because inherently he feels that whatever he does will not result in good because it’s a BAD DAY. He might avoid gatherings, meetings to mourn over his bad life and circumstances. He will feel that he is just not good enough intelligent, lucky or ordinary.
You bet, you can never underestimate what giving the control to the devil of depression does to you. The bad news is this devil is the new cancer of our generation and has resulted in lots of and lots of its victims. The good news is WE CAN DEFEAT IT . WE CAN STOP IT AND WE CAN TAKE BACK CONTROL OF OUR LIFE.
You and I have the power to change and take complete control over our lives. Each of us has the capability it takes to change our circumstances, turn our lives and develop resilience to handle obstacles. Its not power entitled to any rich or lucky brat, it’s yours, waiting for the day you claim it. The only and only way to claim it is by changing your habits/attitude and re-framing your view of circumstances.
By applying the following tips to your life, you cannot only defeat those depressing and disbelief demons in you but will also start a new beginning to the God’s most profound gift that is LIFE.
1. Compete with yourself
Stop right there! You do not need to be better than the world and all the people on the planet. No, you don’t need to be the highest CGPA holder in class. You don’t need to be the best in everything. That’s not what should be our priority. We all are different. You see each of us has unique talents, skills and specific purpose. Each of us have their own destiny and pathway that we need to frame.
Therefore, make yourself your own competition. Improve yourself in every area of your life and track your own progress. Set your own personal goals and reach them. Compete with only the past version of yourself. Be better today than you were yesterday. Keep developing yourself to reach the best version of you. This is real success. Conscious and tracked self-improvement will not tremendously boost your self-esteem but facilitate you to attain your goals and wishes. When you liberate yourself from competing with others and focus on your own improvement, the universe begins to befall the gifts that were there only for you.
Matthew Mcconaughey, one of the most successful actor of all times, explains the pretty much same in this historic Oscar-winning speech which is said to be the greatest Oscar speech of all times. Have a listen.
2. Be Grateful
I cannot proclaim of the magical effect Gratitude can bring to your life. It has power to vanish away all your negative thoughts, bring a pack of positivity in and transform your misery into thankfulness. We humans have the tendency to focus all our attention on what happened wrong and mourn over it rather than looking at what bundles of great things that we have and be truly thankful for them.
The best way you can transform your thought process is by bringing Gratitude to your life. Bringing the following habit in your life can lead you to experience the Magic of Gratitude.
The world isn’t fair to everyone. There are people out there looking for someone to help them and support them in their times of need. Be that one person. Take out time from your schedules and join a volunteer organization to help or support others. The joy of that one kid you helped learn, the elderly you cared at hospital and the contribution you made for better of society cannot be put into words.
Volunteering will not only bring satisfaction and a feeling of purpose to you, but inherently it will shift your paradigms about how you view your life by looking at people who are in worst circumstances than you. It will make you realize how blessed and complete you are and how many things we take for granted in our life. This experience, if you have done it before, is life changing if you draw lessons from it.
4. Be Kind
The world needs kind souls out there. Living in these modern times, materialism is the new trend. Emotions and compassion are slowly becoming a dead breed. This is why, we all need to be good and kind to all the people we meet. Make it a habit to perform one random act of kindness for someone each day. It can be help in assignment, make somebody sitting alone laugh or support those earning less to meet their expenses. We all never know what battle each person is fighting each day and you’re that one random act of kindness might brighten his/her whole day.
Be the one making difference in people lives and the divine God will give you what you desire. You may not believe it but as times and times proven, a good deed and a good act done for others does have magical consequences for your future. Maybe your all miseries be vanished by the Dua/blessings of that one elderly you helped cross the Road. That my friend is how destiny spills its magic.
5. Have a map and compass
The very reason most of us feel worthless in our lives is because we have never setup for ourselves causes to live for and goals to accomplish. We all are like that tourist who visits a particular place without a map in hand and always asks others for directions, ultimately getting lost in the city and finding it difficult to find a way out.
Most of us are guided by the society, our family or friends of what we should do. We never find our own true calling. We tend to go with the flow until we reach the fall. Sometimes its emotional fall, sometimes its career fall or financial fall that jolts us up and we realize, we took a road we never wanted to travel on.
Don’t wait for that fall. Take a day out from your super busy schedules, sit down in your room by yourself with a hot cup of coffee or tea and do the following.
This exercise if properly done will uncover your own innate purpose, divert your focus to what’s really important and make you excited to achieve what your really want in life. You will have your own moral compass and a map in hand for your life and what a sheer joy that is.
6. Be at peace with your past
We all have done stupid things, we all have been through experiences that we felt we never deserved , we all have gone to our extremes only later to regret about choices we took. But you are alive, you are living, and you have a future that demands you to rise up from your ashes and change your circumstances. You cannot always mourn about what happened in the past or the choices you took.
Life is that way, nobody is born with a guide in hand about how to live life error-free and trouble-free. We all have our fair share of miseries and misfortunes. It’s not that all of this will fade away but you need to be at peace about your past and stop regretting/worrying. Your both present and future demand it. Rather than mourning over the failures of the past, analyze the past and extract lessons you learnt from it. Make a list of lessons learnt and apply them to your future. Remember, you past was not in your hands but what you have in control is how you live your present to the fullest and be well prepared for the future that awaits you. As Steve Jobs says:
7. OWN YOUR LIFE !
Live your life with passion , the thrill , the joy of living it to the fullest. Take full responsibility and ownership of your life. You are the sole person responsible for taking your life to the heights you imagine it. Decide that you are going to push yourself. Make yourself the author of your own life book and fill each page with adventures, moments and accomplishments you can cherish on your deathbed. Make your own bucket list and then go do them. You owe it to you. The top most answer of most elderly people at their death bed is that they regret not doing what they really wanted to do.
Proclaim to the universe today that you are breaking up with the stress/depression and worries for the rest of your life. You are going to take full ownership of the magical life that you have, be at peace with your past, excited about living present and ready for future.
Remember you a unique living being , never to be seen again , never seen before. Build upon your own uniqueness, your own voice calling. Live your life with all positivity and accomplishments that you deserve as your birthright.
I would end this with one of my absolute favorite quote of all time:
Your Remedy is within you, but you do not sense it
Your sickness is from you , but you do not perceive it
You presume you are a small entity ,
But within you is enfolded the entire Universe !
You are indeed the evident book,
By whose alphabet , the hidden becomes the manifest !
Therefore , you have no need to look beyond yourself ,
What you seek , is within you if only you Reflect !
~ ALI IBN ABI TALIB (R.A)
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