I have always believed depression to be a powerful experience that can transform us into a more empathic human being, a more humble leader, and a patient listener. The scale of the depression that we experience may range from occasional bouts of sadness, fear, hopelessness to a more severe long term experience of some deep sorrow or prolonged anxiety. Sometimes the long term hopelessness, anxiety and sorrow may need clinical intervention through therapy.
In my work as a leadership facilitator and as a coach I have seen that almost all people are inflicted by sadness and fear as they are by joy. One of my observations has been that people in general do not want to accept their sadness or fears as much as they are open about sharing their joy, of course it may vary upon personality of people. Most often Sadness and fear are labelled as a negative emotions, whereas Joy is labelled as positive. This labelling forces us to get away from sadness and focus only on joy, it is like I want only light and no shadow. But one cannot exist without the other. Accepting my hopelessness and sadness allows me to express it and heal myself, but if I shun it and do not allow its full acceptance or expression, then I create a space of corrosion in my mind and body. Whenever I am not aligned to how I feel a little part of me corrodes. To be in full acceptance of sorrow is a difficult preposition, as every morning we are expected to rise and shine and project happier parts of ourselves to be accepted by others. However if this pushing away of self emotions continues, we fall into unaware depression and we don’t know what has hit us. To become awareness of triggers of sorrow holds several gifts for us.
In this article I am sharing three gifts that depression brings. They are not always in order but just for ease of understanding I am giving a certain order to them.
One Gift that Depression brings is alignment and awareness of our Needs and Values, What are we needing that we do not have in our life and how can I make that available to myself. What Values of mine are not in alignment? How can I relook at them and create my spaces with conscious choice?
The second gift is the gift of ‘Self love’. How can I love my own company? Who am I? What energises me? What are the ways in which I like to express myself? How much do I love myself? Can I live without external validation? If so, then do I need self validation and how do I get that? What are the gifts in me that I want to share with the world or not? How does the universe, the trinity reside in me? How am I my own creator, destroyer and sustainer?
The last gift of depression is the ability to expand. You are in process of physical and mental expansion, your body and mind feels like its going to burst, but all it is breaking is your comfort zone, your old beliefs, your ideas of self and world, your identity of who you believe you are. It is time of destruction that is causing you all the pain, the Shiva in you is dancing the dance of destruction, a Tandav happening inside of you. Remember when all this is happening the seed of your new reality is ready to sprout, in your destruction you are entering your new consciousness, new understanding of “Self” and through “Self” your understanding of world has expanded.
To allow the destruction and mourning of that death to happen and to be open to observe and accept it creates humility and an urge to learn more and grow more. It energises the younger student and child parts of us, that are so keen, detached and observant. These parts are bereft of conditioning and judgement that ties us down and becomes an interference in our learning and growth.