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Many people oscillate between elated and depressed states, and feel out of control in regard to their own lives. They do not experience true fulfillment, and suffer from depression without understanding how to see the magnificence of their current situations.
When we have true fulfillment we embrace both sides of life’s coin, happiness and sadness, equally. Happiness, like comedy, is a transient superficial mask that we wear when we ignore the downsides of an inherently balanced event. Sadness, like tragedy, is the transient, superficial, opposite mask that we wear when we ignore an event’s upside. Inspiring love and gratitude occurs when we have realistic expectations of ourselves and others, and understand that all events have a balance of benefits and drawbacks and are supportive and challenging, like the opposite poles of any magnet. If we want to awaken our magnetism we must embrace both sides of our magnet equally. Searching for a one-sided magnet is futile. Searching for a one-sided life is equally futile. It is wise that we embrace the oscillating cycles of happy and sad equally along our journey of gratitude and love, for together they will guide us to our most authentic self. True love includes a synchronous balance of both.
The idea of embracing sadness as well as happiness often sparks some common questions, such as:
Society tells us it’s not okay to feel sad. Your view?
It’s perfectly normal for us to feel sad at times. No one I know lives without experiencing periodic moments of sadness—at least to some degree. Whenever we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves or others and our reality does not live up to these fantasies, we experience sadness. Sadness and depression do not have to be perceived as terrible afflictions, though. They could be seen as fruitful feedback mechanisms to our conscious minds that guide or initiate us to go back and set more realistic goals and expectations, or clarify realistic strategies to achieve our desires.
What if your colleagues are being unkind, or your partner is suffering from depression, and you’re starting to feel blue, too? What to do?
Identify what you and they are comparing your lives to at that moment. Whenever our current reality does not live up to the fantasies that we have set or expect, we become sad or depressed to let us know we are being unrealistic. It is not what happens to us that ultimately matters. It’s how we perceive it, what we compare it to, and how we act upon it.
If someone criticizes you, rather than react with hurt, ask yourself if it is justified. Ask, “How does this serve me? How can I use this to my advantage?” It’s never what happens to you, it’s how you perceive it. Until you learn how to manage that and be accountable to it, you’ll always be blaming and being the victim. We can either be victims of our history, or masters of our destiny. We have to take command of our perceptions and balance out our mental equations to have true fulfillment.
Being addicted to only support and kindness (which can make us juvenile, dependent and obligated) will attract to us challenge and unkindness (which can make us precocious, independent and free) to break our addiction. Our desire for that which is unattainable is the source of our suffering.
Are antidepressants good or bad for us?
When dealing with a depressed state, antidepressants are not my first approach—they’re more the last. Too many depressions arise because of unconscious and unrealistic expectations (fantasies and delusions) that we place on ourselves and others. Setting realistic expectations and dissolving these fantasies and delusions about how you and others are to be can dissolve the very source of many depressions. I have helped hundreds of people avoid the medication trap. Biochemical (neurotransmitter, hormonal) imbalances do occur, but in many cases they are not the source of depression, but a response to challenged values and imbalanced perceptions. These imbalances are often the effect of the imbalanced unrealistic expectations.
If happiness is not sustainable 24/7, what is?
Feelings of happiness and sadness oscillate throughout our lives. In some cases they become quite extreme when we do not govern or moderate our imbalanced perceptions and the resultant polarized emotions. The quality of our lives is dependent upon the quality of the questions we ask. If we ask balancing questions, we can moderate the extremes of emotion and center ourselves upon our primary task or mission at hand. Our intuition is constantly trying to reveal to our conscious mind what we’re ignoring with our biased perceptions and expectations, and to help bring our minds back to a balanced awareness. When we’re sad, our intuition tries to reveal the upsides. When we’re happy, our intuition tries to reveal the downsides. When we’re balanced and centered, our intuition transforms into inspiration.