One of the most difficult parts about dealing with depression and anxiety is that the outward symptoms are only a small manifestation of what is really happening in our minds. One of the most destructive symptoms of depression and anxiety is a view of ourselves that leaves us feeling inadequate, worthless, and useless. Happiness not only seems out of reach, but even if it were in reach we don’t truly feel that we deserve it so we will sacrifice our happiness at the altar of public opinion. This is incredibly difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t or doesn’t experience this because it seems so counter intuitive to tell ourselves that we aren’t even worthy of attempting to measure up. Let me tell you something though: your happiness is worth it. Regardless of what you have been told, what you have learned, or what you feel, I can promise you that you are worth far more than simply trying to manage expectations. You are worth seeking happiness. So surround yourself with people that want to build you up, seek joy that goes beyond momentary happiness, and know that you are worth far more than what your mind might be telling you.
A few months ago I had a friend make a comment to me that has shaped how I have dealt with others ever since. He said “let your friends be your friends.” I think I stewed on this far more than he ever imagined because it hit so close to home. I feel that too many of us allow thoughts about ourselves to ruminate in our own minds without ever seeking the advice and opinions of those closest to us. This requires a bit of understanding here, however. New technology has shifted our mindset as we view our relationships. The term friends has unfortunately come to mean something closer to the idea of an acquaintance. The closer we approach the facebook idea of friendship the looser that acquaintanceship becomes.
Friendship is a mutual arrangement in which each party in invested in the other party’s life for the benefit of both. Friendship is not present in which one person is made happy in the relationship either at the detriment to the other party or with no care for the other party. Define your friends from your acquaintances and act. To make this simple…you friends care about you! They want you to be healthy and happy. They want you to achieve and pursue your goals. Allow your friends to be your friends. Let them into your lives and your thoughts. At your lowest allow them to build you up in the same way that you seek to build them up. You are not alone, you do not have to be isolated. The things we tell ourselves about ourselves will almost always be the harshest, most stringent, and often unmerited criticisms that can be leveled. You are more than these thoughts. Your happiness is worth it. Let your friends be your friends.