By Martrie Bush
As we head into the holiday season there is one commonality for millions of women and men. This joyous time of year brings emotions of joy and love for millions. Yet for others this time of the year invokes feelings of stress, fatigue, and loneliness, which, if persists can lead to depression.
Once upon a time, I would have been one of those impacted by depression. Here is my discovery.
There are three words that have brought about distinct mind shifting paradigms in my life for combating depression, especially during the holiday. Internalizing an understanding of these words has allowed me to completely let go of what is defined by some as outward anger turned inward. These three mental paradigm shifts provided the freedom for me to grow in all areas of my life.
Perspective. In this Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Meghan Markle, Instagram, Facebook, Snap
Chat world of today, it is easy to be trapped into the cycle of constantly comparing ourselves to others. We end up using a filtered version of the lives of others as a measuring stick for our self worth.
As a Black female, it was hard to fully identify with any certain culture or nationality. Even with the beautiful hue of my skin tone, when I looked in a mirror it was complicated to determine what are African or European features. The history of the African Americans assuredly lends credence to both. My perspective was influenced by the following.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your INNER SELF, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
Woo!!! Mind flipped!
Those words of wisdom made me realize my beauty undoubtedly comes from the inside out. It’s the shine that comes from somewhere deep within and shoots like rainbow colored flames through my eyes.
This change of perspective gave me so much swagger. From that point on, my perfect weight is MY weight. My perfect skin tone is MY skin tone. My perfect hair color and texture is MY hair color and texture.
In looking at ourselves, what is seen on the outside is a true reflection of what lies inside of me! Because I was sad on the inside, what I saw in the mirror was a sad person looking back at me.
Focus. It is amazing how difficult it is to focus on oneself. It was much easier for me to have focused on my children, my ex, my family, my friends and my job, but not good for me. Putting everything BEFORE myself caused my mental and physical health to suffer (there goes that inside out thing again). I call this my Superman Syndrome. When Kal-EL (for us real nerds who know Superman’s real name) was focused on his life as Clark Kent, he had a career, was able to spend time with his family and actually went on a date with Lois Lane But his life as Superman was spent constantly focusing on the needs of others, always flying from one place or another putting out both real and virtual fires. His reward for this?? Going home alone to the Fortress of Solitude. Eek! Wrong focus!
I was guilty of the Super(wo)man Syndrome until one day a friend shared this quote: “An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”
Changing my perspective was not going to be enough for my cure. I was also going to have to put more focus on who I was at that time in my life and how I wanted to grow as a happy, healthy woman. In her book, Only Angels Can Wing It, author Liz Higgs advises us to ask/answer 5 questions before adding an activity to a “to do” list.
1. Will this activity matter one week from today? One Month? One year?
2. Is there someone who does this task better than I do, to whom I might delegate it?
3. Does it satisfy a heart need for me or someone I love very much?
4. What are the ramifications if I don’t do it?
5. What are the outcomes if I do?
Another mind somersault!
By utilizing those self-assessment questions, I was able to put aside time I thought I didn’t have to focus on my education, my health, my exercise. I went from a dependence on how YOU feel about me to an empowering how I feel about myself. Another step closer to my depression cure.
Love. Letting go of my old perspectives and old ways of focusing gave me freedom to openly and fully LOVE!! The ability to give my children, family and friends my BEST self is, for me, the ultimate expression of love. I loved them so much I wanted (and want) to give an active, vibrant, joyful, peaceful, laughter-filled, physically and mentally healthy happy person in me.
Below are my words of wisdom for love, written by Linda Creed and Michael Masser.
“…because the greatest love of all is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all inside of me. The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
The time is now – to let go of old perspectives, old focus, and old ways to accept, give, and show LOVE!! It is time to grasp on to new paradigms about what perspective, focus, and love means to you. Let these three words flow into and throughout your life as freely as you can. You deserve it.
Whether it happens either instantly or over time through a miraculous journey you can (just like me) find your way to a cure from depression.
Martrie Bush is a blogger, article writer and emerging author. Her first novel entitled, The Silence She Held, is due to be released late 2019. Her personal battle with depression and subsequent changes that allowed her to let go of it, is the basis of her desire to help others do the same. Contact her for public speaking engagements and article writing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Martrie’s blog and Instagram page Beautyful Dark Skinned Girl