It is no secret that depression is a worldwide epidemic, but did you know that a hidden cause of depression is the fear of self-expression? If you often sacrifice self-expression in exchange for acceptance, appreciation or approval – or to avoid negative consequences like rejection or conflict – you may become depressed.
Every time you shut down self-expression in order to get your emotional needs met by others, you are actually rejecting your Real Self – cutting yourself off from your intrinsic source of energy and power, and thereby diminishing your natural state of peace, joy and love. The result is often what we refer to as depression.
But, why would we ever do this to ourselves?
From birth we are taught to believe that in order to be accepted, appreciated, or to get any emotional needs met, it is necessary to follow a set of rules, regulations and limiting beliefs that were handed down to us from parents, teachers, religion, culture and society. If we fear that others will withhold love and approval if we don’t conform, we are likely to restrict our self-expression whenever it contradicts with the pre-existing ideals of those around us. We may even feel as if our survival is at risk – making us believe that self-suppression is a better choice than self-expression. Unfortunately, when you constantly repress your Real Self, there is a huge unseen price to pay.
Depression is the unavoidable by-product of not being who you really are and a direct result of repressing your Real Self.
When The Need For Peace Turns into Depression
Yes, it can be wonderful to choose peace over adversity, but if you are habitually choosing peace in order to avoid conflict, you may be sacrificing your Real Self. Negating yourself or your preferences, in order to avoid conflict with others, may sound evolved and selfless on the surface, but when we look deeper, we see that continuously closing yourself down in order to avoid conflict causes chronic depression.
Self-expression is a sign of spiritual evolution. Self-expression allows the Divine to shine through you like a priceless work of art. Choosing peace over expression just might mean repressing Divinity.
Indeed, sometimes being our Real Selves causes others to feel uncomfortable and maybe even to judge us for being different – and on occasion there could be conflict. This is all true, but what is also true is that when you have the courage to express your Real Self, you call forth a higher version of reality where you can truly be your Real Self. Yes, this might mean overcoming the opinions of others on the way to this vibrant new land of expression but it is nothing you can’t handle. When you get there, you will discover that there is nothing easier than just being yourself. The people in your life will learn your new song and the steps to your new dance, and many of them will sing and dance along with you, and those who don’t will simply go on their merry way.
Your only job is to be You. If you are not going to be You, then who will? Being You requires that you follow your joy, listen to your heart, and express yourself in all ways that feel like YOU.
Get Plugged In!
When we express our Real Selves, we are tapped into the source of who we really are and, as a result, we are plugged into unlimited life force energy. When we hide our Real Selves and suppress expression, we disconnect from this immense source of energy and power, and if we do this for a prolonged period of time, eventually we become depressed, and it seems as if the whole world is against us. This means that in order to fit in, be accepted or to keep the peace, we often sacrifice the very life force that gives us the vision to create extraordinary lives and the energy and enthusiasm to follow through.
Depression is a result of being disconnected from the Supreme Energy of the Universe, but at any moment, you can get plugged back in, by choosing to be who you really are.
Certainly, seek professional help for depression when needed, but don’t depend on pills or doctors to save you. You can only save yourself by finding your Real Self and getting plugged into a Universe that loves you.
Listen To Your Heart
You cannot live your life according to anyone else’s ideals, values or expectations; you must choose to live life for yourself. Every time you suppress a desire to try something new, connect with other people, laugh, have fun or create, you repress the life force energy within you – shutting down the source of a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Depression is the long term consequence of not living your life the way “something inside you” really wants to live it.
The way to live a “life worth living” is to live it from your heart. You must throw out the concept of right and wrong, good and bad, sinful and saintly and begin to discover your own personal truth that is not influenced by anyone or anything (as long as it does not physically hurt you or others, the sky is the limit).
Impossible you might think – but it is what you have unknowingly been seeking. You will not find the answer to your happiness in anyone else’s diary or vision board. You can only find the answer for yourself – perhaps independent of everything you have ever learned. If you want peace, bliss and a “life worth living,” there is no other way.
How far down the rabbit hole of self-suppression must you sink before you begin to question the illusions you have been living?
If you were to know me now, you would never imagine that I once suffered from chronic depression. It began when I was just a child and it lasted for decades. Living with depression was very much like having an invisible disability that affected every aspect of my life. I tried everything to overcome it, and I sometimes had success that would last for weeks or months but that dark cloud always returned. More than anything I wanted to experience joy and I wanted to be at peace with myself, but it would take me years and years to find this permanent cure.
People who lovingly express their Real Selves are simply not depressed. They are the people who go through life singing and dancing. They have made the choice to live their lives from the inside out and not care one bit about what other’s might think. Joyful people know that, in the end, what they think and feel about themselves and their lives is all that matters. They are the people who die with smiles on their faces and feel the deepest sense of gratitude for having lived the best possible lives they could have imagined. You have the very same choices right now.
You might be depressed because you have a history of oppression but as long as you blame the outside world, you will remain powerless to heal yourself. Instead of trying to overcome oppression, turn your attention toward expression. The way to climb out of the pits of depression is by the ladder of self-expression. It is true, that when you are depressed, it is often difficult to get in touch with self-expression, but if you can take small steps consistently, you will make progress. The journey from depression to expression is one day at a time. Every time you express yourself you are one step closer to emotional freedom.
The only thing that is required for an extraordinary life is bringing your Real Self to the table.
What Is Required To Be Your Real Self?
Meet Your Own Emotional Needs
Until we wake up and become conscious, our emotional needs dictate our behavior. The need for approval, appreciation, understanding and acceptance often rule our lives, causing us to sacrifice ourselves in order to get these, and other, emotional needs met. But, it never works, because if you have to hide your Real Self in order to gain approval, for example, it is only your false-self being approved of, so you never really experience approval. Instead you may even feel like a fraud.
As long as you expect others to meet your emotional needs, you will stay locked in a prison of your own making. You unlock the doors of your prison when you stop looking to others, and you meet your own emotional needs. How can you expect anyone to appreciate you, if you don’t appreciate yourself? Ironically, as soon as you practice self-appreciation, the world will reflect it back to you. If you are no longer needing others to meet your emotional needs, you won’t have to change or hide yourself for any reason, or for anyone. You will be free to be yourself – your real, true, authentic, beautiful self! This is the whole point.
Re-evaluate Your Life
When you finally decide that the cost of not being yourself is too much to pay, the first step to take is a non-judgmental assessment of your current life. In order to determine where you are out of alignment with your Real Self, a willingness to be honest is required in all areas of your life. It is important to approach this evaluation with curiosity rather than judgement. Judgment will lock you into negativity, while a sense of curiosity will begin to loosen your past reality and allow you to start thinking about what is possible.
Listen to Your Inner Voice
Deep inside you is a voice that is whispering divine instructions to you. This still small voice speaks through your secret desires, your creative drive and your greatest fantasies of a life well-lived. You may think, “I don’t know what my inner-self is saying,” but this is only because you have been suppressing your deepest desires for so long. When you don’t listen to that inner voice, it becomes almost impossible to hear, but once you begin to listen and take inspired actions, your divine voice will become louder and clearer.
Apply Unconditional Self-Allowance
It is time to release that inner critic that focuses continuously on everything that is wrong. It is time to embrace yourself from a loving space of self-allowance. You don’t have to accept anything. It is not about acceptance. But, if you can begin to allow yourself to be where you are right now, you will likely experience a sense of peace which will allow you access to your inner-self. From a space of unconditional self-allowance, you can find your truth, and ultimately manifest that truth in ways that support your greatest and most extraordinary self.
When you base your self-worth on possessions, accomplishments or how you think others see you, your worth is transient – and it remains inaccessible, as long as it depends on external things. This type of artificial worth invokes fear and anxiety, even when you are experiencing what you consider success. But how can you be your Real Self if your worth is contingent on things you cannot control?
The greatest healing is to own your worth. Stop giving it away and stop looking for proof outside of yourself. Look deep inside. Your worth is guaranteed and unconditional. You have worth just for being. This is Soul-Worth! When you remember that worth is intrinsic and unconditional, you gain access to personal freedom, where it doesn’t matter what the world thinks or says. Imagine having the freedom to discover yourself and ultimately the freedom of glorious expression.
When you make the conscious choice to be the Real You, you may disrupt the dynamics of current relationships where you have not been your Real Self. Some of your relationships will begin to improve, while others will naturally fall away. It is normal to focus on what you might lose but there is so much more to gain when you align with who you really are. The relationships that remain and the new ones that will ultimately show up will be more satisfying than you ever imagined. It is only by being who you really are that you can truly connect with others. The most essential aspect of any connection is the Real You. When you have the courage to be the Real You, positive energy infiltrates everyone around you. As you express your Real Self, you invite others to do the same. If you want to be the change you want to see in the world, this is it!
When we are depressed, it is easy to go further and further into seclusion, but that only makes us feel worse. Chances are, if you are going into seclusion, you are excluding more and more things, people and opportunities from your life – this adds up to deeper depression. When our lives are not an expression of our Real Selves, it is easy to shut down to everything, but in order to rise above depression, it is important to include things in your life that might make you feel better. You don’t have to expect huge changes in yourself overnight – you just have to move step-by-step in the direction of self-expression.
If you practice even small acts of self-expression every day, you will naturally gravitate toward emotional freedom. Dance, sing, paint, draw, write, make a video, dress in ways that make you feel more like you, or express your hidden gifts and talents. Any expression of you will do!
Speak Your Truth
An essential aspect of self-expression is speaking one’s truth. It is not that you have to tell everyone everything – that is not the point, nor is it helpful. The point is being willing and able to verbally express yourself, without fear of consequence. The greatest consequence is to sacrifice the beautiful gift of your life because you are too afraid to stand in your truth, and be seen. What truth do you need to express to the people in your life? Remember, speaking your truth can more powerfully come from a space of love. Love for yourself, love for another and love for your truth.
Mind Your Own Business
It’s none of your business what other people think about you. Every time you alter your behavior because you are worried about what others might think, you stop yourself from being the Real You. As long as the opinions of others matter, you will never be free to be yourself. You already know that you cannot please everybody, no matter how much you monitor your behavior, so why not just please yourself? Yes, you can still care about others without caring about what they think about you. As you are committed to being your Real Authentic Self, you give others permission, and space, to do the same. This is a priceless gift to those you love.
Take Chances and Make Changes
If you have not lived as your Real Self, your life and relationships are based on a false image. Being your Real Self means taking chances and making choices that support you regardless of whether others approve or not. It means that sometimes you go against the grain and do what is right for you, simply because it feels right. The people in your life might negatively react but it is your life we are talking about and your life is far more important than any reaction you will get from anyone else. As you begin to re-create your life around your most authentic self, a new freedom emerges that will carry you forth to an amazing new life.
Believe it or not, boundaries allow you to be more of who you really are. When you set and enforce boundaries, it allows others to understand what is acceptable and not acceptable to you and what they can expect from you. When you say “no” and mean it, you free up time and energy to say “yes” to all those things that are an expression of who you really are. What boundaries do you need in order to be your Real Self? Keep in mind that some of the most important boundaries are the boundaries that you will set with yourself, for example, I will not judge, criticize or limit myself in any way.
Talk Nice to Yourself
You cannot overcome depression if you continue to think or speak negatively about yourself. Every word you think or say is recorded in your subconscious mind and later played back through the manifestation of reality. Carefully choose thoughts and words that support self-expression.
Activate Your Senses
Our five senses are the way in which we connect with the world, and the way in which the world expresses itself to us. But, often when we are depressed, we close down our senses and refuse to participate in receiving life’s expression. Intentionally re-activating your sense of hearing, taste, touch, sight and smell will assist you in moving out of depression, and back into a receptive and loving world.
In order to get reconnected with your Real Self, you need to go inside. Meditation is one of the most direct routes to get there, and, as a by-product, it will allow you to connect with your sixth sense as well.
Be In Nature
One of the reasons that it is so powerful to be in nature is that it is believed that the natural DMT in your body communicates with the DMT in nature and this helps to rebalance your body, mind and spirit.
When we are depressed, our breath tends to be shallow. Breathing deeply for even ten minutes a day can bring life back into your body. You can even imagine breathing in golden light energy to all the cells of your being.
Move Your Body
I know that it is difficult to get moving when you feel depressed and lethargic but do your best to do it anyway. Any kind of movement will do – dance, yoga, walking. All movement is expression.
When we repress emotions, over a long period of time, we become depressed. In order to heal from depression, it is usually necessary to express your emotions. Often, beneath depression is repressed anger that needs to rise and clear. You don’t need to be afraid of anger, as it is a step up from despair. There are no good or bad emotions. They are all beautiful gifts of expression.
You cannot be depressed and ‘awake’ at the same time, no matter how much you know about being awake. You can only wake up by getting plugged into the source of who you really are – and fully expressing that source.
When you make a commitment to being your Real Self, you access the power to naturally transmute depression through the power of self-expression.
At first, you may not be able to discern between the Real You and the false you, but this is only because you have grown accustomed to acting in ways that perpetuate the false you. Being the Real You requires a daily analysis of what supports and empowers you and what doesn’t. It’s like using an internal navigational device to set, and re-set, your course over and over again – until you finally know your destination in life. As the Real You naturally surfaces over time, your path will become clear and your choices will seamlessly align with who you really are.
Stepping into your Power
I will be honest with you, there is a mountain ahead, and you must climb that mountain to escape the valley of depression. It will take concentrated effort and energy that you probably don’t have right now, but if you decide to step into your power as the creator of your life, you will begin to access unlimited energy that will take you anywhere you want to go. From the high peak on the mountain, life takes on an effortless flow that brings joy, peace and fulfillment in every moment.
If I could speak to my past “depressed self,” I would tell her, “There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and you must do whatever it takes to get there. Listen to your heart, discover who you really are, and find the courage to truly express your Real Self.”
You are meant to be happy and you are meant to create a brilliant and extraordinary life, and no matter how it might seem, you can get there from here.
Feature image © Isabel Castano
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are important differences between psychological depression and clinical depression that is a result of imbalanced brain chemistry. The medical consensus is that clinical depression often requires different forms of treatment. The article doesn’t go into these discernments and is the opinion of the author. We would suggest that the advice is suitable for psychological depression only and that anyone suffering from any kind of depression also seek out medical advice.