Guilt: The Monster That Needs to be Vanquished

via Daily Prompt: guilty

Depression is like a water vortex. If you get too close to its edge, it spins you down with a violent rapidity that even the strongest of swimmers find difficult, nearly impossible, to fight against.

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The key is to not get too close to that edge.

Sounds easy, right? Not so. There are many anchors that we carry through our daily lives that weigh us down and remove that innate buoyancy that would keep us afloat and able to get away.

One of the most powerful anchors is guilt. It gains its power from having a grain of truth attached to it. It can manipulate that grain to seem so large and overpowering that it just propels us right up to that vortex edge.

What can we do about it? How can we overcome it? How can we lighten the load that guilt uses to weigh us down and push us right to that edge of oblivion?

I have been battling this monster, guilt, recently. We’ve waged war before and I’ve won many times. However, recently, it’s been grabbing at me with its teeth, pulling me ever closer to that vortex that is depression. I know the only way out is to fight. But it had me in a strong hold this time. My usual battle strategies were only minimally working. I needed something else, another plan of attack.

So I started scouring the internet for clues. For for anything that could help me combat it this time.

In my search for an answer, I came across a blog post. Its title sounded too good to be true: New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy. But, I read it anyway.

Well, what do you think the first step suggested in this blog post was?  It was to ask the question: What am I grateful for?

That question made me realize that this was the place that I was led to–that I was meant to find.

I’ve often said that the Attitude of Gratitude is powerful and it can help you steer towards good things. I practice it daily. This resonated with me so much that I read on.

The second step was to label negative feelings. Well, the next time that wave of sadness pushed me closer to that edge, I remembered that step and I called out the monster’s name defiantly. I mentally shouted, “You are just guilt. That’s all you are.” And, sure enough, I started to have a lightening in my heart.

This strategy started to work to help me feel better. So, I kept it up. I didn’t try to counsel myself out of the other negative emotions with reason and logic. I didn’t try to squash them after a good cry. This time instead, I labeled all the other negative emotions I was feeling that go hand-in-hand with guilt. I looked at them and called them out one by one.

It took a little while. And, slowly, that lightening increased. I started to think about all the good things in my life, all the good moments, the memories I was grateful for. And I was able to swim away from the edge of the vortex.

As those of you who fight against depression know the vortex doesn’t simply evaporate. However it does grow smaller with each successive win. So, it’s important to keep winning. To not let the vortex grab a hold of you. To not give up. Not ever.

The post New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy was based on a book by Alex Korb, PhD, titled The Upward Spiral. It’s written by a neuroscientist and outlines steps to take to battle depression. I fully intend to read it when it’s available from my library. It will definitely give me more tools that I can count on in my arsenal against depression.

The Daily Prompt is “Guilty.” Everyone has something they feel guilty about. It’s a part of life. But we shouldn’t let the monster, guilt, goad us into thinking that it’s more than it really is, that we are somehow less than who we are because of it. We should call it out by name, label it for what it is, take steps to see it and decide if it’s something we need to atone for or a monster that needs to be vanquished.

via Guilty

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Just for today, I will be thankful/grateful for my many blessings. As a perk for Patreon pledges, I’m offering a bullet journal page for recording daily Attitude of Gratitude moments. If you feel so inclined, Become a Patron!

Thank you 🙂

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AoG is Always…

No matter how many lessons I learn, or how evolved I become, I keep falling into the trap of feeling sorry for myself. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with being a depressive.

I’ve overcome what once was probably clinical depression. These days, on a daily basis, I’m not depressed. However, it’s so easy to fall into the “woe is me” attitude when things don’t go my way.

One part of studying Reiki teaches developing the practice of an “attitude of gratitude.” Let’s face it: we all have things to be grateful for. The AoG helps to keep things in perspective when things aren’t ideal or when life throws boulders in our paths.
What is the AoG? Well, it’s remembering the good things in our lives.
For example, when I was growing up, we were very poor. Often when it rained it meant dumping out the buckets we had under the leaks in the roof.rain-432770_640
With all this rain we’ve been having in southern California, I can rest easy in the rainy weather. I’m so grateful for having a roof over our heads–a roof that doesn’t leak!
Another example is when I was growing up, I would have to wear layer after layer of clothing in cold weather because we had a flaky wall heater that would always fail in cold and windy weather.
I am so grateful that now when the weather gets too cold, I have an apartment that stays relatively warm and I have jackets to wear that are weather appropriate.
Another more current example is my mom’s battle with breast cancer. I’m grateful to her surgeon because if she hadn’t sent my mom for more treatment after her follow-up visit, we would not have known that she’d suffered a mild heart attack.  Now, she can be treated for her heart condition. I’m so grateful for that.
There’s an expression, “there but for the grace of G_d go I.” And, it is so true!
So when things don’t go your way, or it seems that the fates are against you, try to remember the AoG.
The Attitude of Gratitude always helps to keep things in persepctive. And, when your attitude changes for the positive, good things will have an easier time finding you.

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