Many people believe their life story is more unique than that of many others. For some the belief comes from great sadness they have endured. For others the feeling is rooted in challenges over come. Some people see success as their defining elements. There are those who use heartbreak suffered as a sizeable part of their self-definition. Ultimately, we are all one of a kind who has never been before and never will be again. Genetics, environment, circumstances, happenings and the time we live within conspire to mold us uniquely.
Stepping back and trying to find and admit what has shaped me, I find sadness and a desire to be loved are two of my sizeable drivers. There is also depression has been a defining element in my life. Learning to see the difference between sadness and depression was a huge step forward.
In plain terms, I see sadness ranging from simple momentary unhappiness to long-term grief and sorrow. On the other hand depression is a sense of gloominess or dejection that has no specific source, although one usually tries to hang it on something or someone. Depression may come and go, but it never fully passes.
For some reason I have yet to fully understand, being sad and feeling depressed became friends of mine. Unhappy moods became like my favorite ratty clothes: well-known, familiar and comfortably worn just right. I became contented and safe (I thought) in being a “brooding and complicated man”. It was a large part of how I defined myself and found dark comfort from something familiar. I learned how seductive depression, sadness and bad moods can be.
I was ruled by negative feelings such as “oh, poor me”, “I am not loved enough”, “I had a difficult childhood”, “I was abused”, “I’ve had a difficult life”, “I’m not happy”, “I deserve better” and a litany of other self-told excuses. Lost in the darkness I was unhappy and not in control (which I long worked hard to hide). There were true reasons to be angry, sorrowful and grief-stricken, but I had never worked through them. It took getting to middle age to do that. Until then the darkness from the unresolved only got darker.
For me, getting better was not about strength or determination. Instead it took surrender. Until I allowed my negative mid-set to overtake me completely and to topple under the sudden weight of it all, there were no answers to be found. At first it felt smothering to let my feelings overcome me. But like diving into deep water, I first sank then surfaced, began to breathe and then swim to keep myself afloat and moving forward little by little.
I’ve learned to be aware, yet patient with myself to work though things. Sometimes it takes days, weeks or even months for the full picture to come into focus, long after the initial sting of the pain surfacing is gone. If I remain open without becoming obsessed with a particular issue, the best path always seems to present itself eventually. Whatever comes, I acknowledge it, accept it and make some sort of peace with it. I am grateful for that learned ability and the many who helped me come to practice it.
I say that trials and tests locate a person.
In other words they determine where you are spiritually.
They reveal the true condition of your heart.
How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.