Spring should be a time of joy, when there is new growth everywhere, green shoots appear and the sun gains in strength, day by day. But if you feel sad inside this can seem like a mockery. Be gentle with yourself because things can get better.
Look at the benefits of:
• Having faith
• Getting out mindfully
• Self love
• Seeking help
You may have lost a great deal in life that made it worth living. Possibly you are bereaved, or have lost your home or job, or all of these things. Or you may just be depressed and hopeless. Whatever is wrong, it may seem never ending, and seeing the first joyful signs of Spring just make it worse. In your heart everything is darkness.
If that’s how you feel, it’s understandable. However, are you missing the point? The snowdrops and daffodils, hyacinths and narcissi have an important message for you. They aren’t saying ‘Look, you should be happy. Cheer up!’ What they are conveying is the fact that you can cheer up!
Just as the tender shoots break through the bare earth, seemingly coming from nowhere, so you also can find contentment from who-knows-where. Okay, so you haven’t found it yet. With you it may be still winter and inside you it may seem barren – just like the winter earth.
But just like the winter earth you will one day blossom again. Maybe it isn’t happening now. But it will.
‘You should get out more’ is a cliché, but it’s true! You don’t have to party, follow new hobbies or get involved with new groups. Nature can be a great solace and the sunshine will have a helpful effect on you, even if it seems to highlight your emptiness.
Simply walk for twenty minutes a day and be mindful. Keep bringing your thoughts back to the sensation of your feet in contact with the ground, the scent of the air, the sound of the breeze and the sight of the green shoots and flowers. Make this into a walking meditation, continually bringing yourself back to the ‘now’. Of course this won’t make all the pain disappear, but it will do your body and brain a great deal of good and gradually you will benefit.
So many of the sorrows you feel arise wholly or in part because you feel bad about yourself. If someone dies you always think you could have done more, regret the decisions you’ve made or feel guilty because you’re angry. Or, if you’ve lost your home or your job, or just feel really, really down you may blame yourself.
Think how you would act if you were your own best friend. What would you say? What attitude would you take? Wouldn’t you, lovingly and supportively, point out to yourself how good you’ve been, all you’ve done right, how hard you’ve tried? Wouldn’t you suggest little treats like a massage, an entertaining film or just an early night?
Be your own best friend. Understand yourself, forgive yourself and be positive and encouraging towards yourself. This won’t make everything okay, but it’s a step on the way.
Sometimes it’s good to be alone, and possibly you don’t want to be with anyone. But why is this? Is it because you believe no-one can understand you? Do you want to avoid getting anyone else down? Maybe you feel angry with the rest of the world for not having your troubles. Or maybe you just don’t know how to put what you feel into words. How can anyone else understand those depths?
It may also be the case that you believe everyone has abandoned you. If so, try to ‘unpack’ this assumption. Could there be other reasons why you have no-one to talk to? Have you given out ‘keep away’ messages? Have you ignored, or not noticed offers of help?
When any of us is going through a negative phase it’s easy to believe no-one cares. You may have subconsciously pushed people away. However, we all need the simple consolation of human company. Try very hard to push yourself into facing sympathetic souls. For instance, if you’re bereaved there will be local groups of people who’ve had similar losses. There are countless support groups for anyone who has lost their job, or who is depressed. Check out the resources at your local church, surgery, job centre or similar, or look on their websites. If you have the details to hand you will be able to seize the moment if you feel able to make contact.
We’ve looked at the benefits of having faith, getting out ‘mindfully’, loving yourself and looking for help. A trouble shared is a trouble halved is an old but helpful motto. Freud’s description of counselling as ‘the Talking Cure’ is also important.
So start sharing your troubles and taking the Talking Cure by getting in touch with one of our helpful, compassionate Readers. With their comfort, soon the Spring flowers will dance in the sun for you, too. Make that call today and feel better.