Keep smiling. Being cheerful is a skill. This blog is in two sections because I want to express thoughts on depression before going to the antidote: cheerfulness.
Recognize, during your reflections, what your mood is. Also, think on whether you are more often sad or more often cheerful. More creative and talented people are coming forward with their diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The stigma is still prevalent, and I hear and see cries for help. If your mood is more often one of sadness and depression, then have the courage to go to the professionals who can get you past this. You do not have to go through this alone. Truly. Your thoughts, if they are painful and tormenting, can be supported. A professional has the knowledge and skill you need. Don’t deny yourself.
When I was very little, I was known as Miss Sunshine. I lit up the room. I knew that I was perceived as such and saw this as a done deal. When I was six, I was thrown into a new life that shocked me into a deep, long depression with symptoms of PTSD. I tell you this to encourage you to take control. Take charge of your thinking because this can be done! If I can do it, you can do it! For three years, from age six to nine, I reflected on my situation to realize the power of prayer and faith toward an increasing sense of trust. I shared this with no one. Until you have found someone whom you can trust with your most vulnerable feelings, by all means, keep them to yourself. But first, it is possible to increase your love of self so that your new feeling of cheerfulness can come from the inside—and this is the biggest secret that I can give you. As you know, you cannot give what you do not have. I’m referring to giving love. Giving love makes karma give a harvest of love back to you, one that you cannot imagine if you are in a state of depression today.
What I want to describe to you was the efforts I have done to get my cheerful self back. I prayed every night, felt the deep emotional pain as I was going to sleep, and was comforted by the moon. Yes, the moon. That was where I drew my comfort from—the last time I saw a full moon. At least the moon had not changed in this painful new world. Fast-forward: My cheerful self did not really come back until I was saved in the evangelical church at eleven years old.
Smiling is a simple practice that can pull you out of the vicious cycle of sadness. Practice this: Look in the mirror, smile at yourself, and say out loud, “Good morning, (insert your name)!” Now how did that feel? However this made you feel, you are allowed. Just be private about this. For me, this practice helped me ground myself in the knowledge of who I was. My sense of love returned. My sense of God (or whatever you call your Supreme Being) returned. I am. We can truly address ourselves as I am. All of us are allowed to address ourselves in this manner. God loves every single one of us. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always.” This means that we each have the ability to sense Jesus with us. Feel the spirit of Jesus. You are not alone. There is no need to feel lonely. Now does this not give rise to cheerfulness?
Next, foster and multiply these steps of thought over and over every day until this sense of togetherness, trust, and faith is second nature to you. You are in charge of the thoughts that you allow to be processed in your brain. These steps are ones that I focus on when my self-confidence is low.
When I started, I could not fathom any semblance of joy. Now the sense of joy and inner peace is so prevalent in my spirit that I want to teach them to you. These thoughts are so basic that for many people, this may be boring. But for anyone diagnosed with a brain chemical imbalance, what I have just described is not only basic but essential.
Relax. Learn how to follow yoga. Give your brain some oxygen. Discover your pace. Make the most of every single day. Throw out wrong thinking. The cheerfulness will come, over time. Be blessed. As Star Wars imparts, “Use the force, Luke.” Use the force. Feel the force. And by force, I mean God.
You can use your own feelings or your own version of a core belief. Being apathetic is not an option. Allowing passion to be part of your life brings the color back to the rainbow; otherwise, it is only black and white. Be good and gentle with yourself. Be patient for the cheerfulness to come. When opportunities present themselves, step out of your comfort zone and grab them. What once was scary will become familiar once you have done the work of mastering this new zone. Doing your homework helps.
We are not meant to be isolated as species. Observe and assess, and do not judge others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Actually, you are your own best advocate. Rely on yourself to strengthen your own self-confidence. When you have the key to manifesting this, you have prepared yourself to feel less self-conscious in social situations. Ergo, no more isolation.
Takeaway tip: Cheerfulness is a state of mind. You are the creator of your thoughts!
Next week will be on gratitude. Are you grateful?