When you’re depressed it can feel draining and overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to have compassion towards yourself. Depression can feel mean. It can tell you that you are worthless and make you feel like you don’t matter. This can be hard when you’re in social situations and people are asking you questions about yourself. The other person wants to get to know you, but you feel awful.
Remember this: you did not choose to be depressed. Depression happened to you. It reared its ugly head and decided to tell you lies about yourself. So, the way that you can have compassion for yourself is to talk back to those mean thoughts in a compassionate way.
For example, maybe you think: “I’m a terrible person.” You know that’s not true, but it feels so real. You can question that thought. Did you do something so awful that you fall into the “terrible person” category? Probably not, so lay off yourself.
Tell yourself “It must be hard for you to have those feelings. I can understand that you’re hurting.”
You’re trying, you’re doing your best to be a good friend and family member. It’s not easy to do those things when you’re depressed, but you’re doing it. Give yourself credit for the things you’re doing to better yourself. Those things count!
Another thing I’ve learned is to avoid comparing myself to others. It’s a natural human tendency to compare yourself to other folks. But, after you do that how do you feel? Most likely not that great. What can you do instead of comparing yourself to another person? Think about your accomplishments. Reward yourself for what you have done, no matter how big or small. Hey man, you got out of bed today? Awesome, you are AMAZING. You could have stayed in bed, but you got up and started your day. That makes you a strong person.
Frankly, continuing to stay alive makes you strong. There are times when life throws you a curve ball and that shit hurts. You take the hit and you keep going. Maybe that means crying while you’re walking the dog or riding the train or in the bathroom at work. Do what you need to do.
The most important thing to remember is that you are allowed to hurt. Be patient and loving to yourself and treat yourself like you would a good friend. What would you tell your friend if she said: “I feel worthless?” You would comfort her and let her know that she is a good friend. You’d let her know the things about her that you appreciate about her. That’s the way that you can treat yourself. You are the most important person in your life. When you treat yourself with compassion you’ll notice that you are better able to treat others with love and compassion, because you love yourself. And don’t worry if it’s hard to do this at first, you’ll learn how to have compassion the more you practice it.
What are some ways that you can have more compassion for yourself? Think about it. Try some positive self-talk this week. See if that makes a difference in your overall mood.