All of us have feelings, and, if we’re honest, most of us profess some kind of faith. Unfortunately, we also feel overwhelmed and lost in our “living by faith.”
Depression has become a real problem for most Americans. Chronic depression is defined as lasting for a longer duration (20 weeks to 2 years) while acute depression lasts for up to 2 weeks (DSM IV). At any given time nearly 7% of us suffer from one or the other.
Elizabeth Bernstein, columnist for the WSJ http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-you-need-negative-thoughts-1471881692 gives some sage advice for defining and dealing with negative feelings. She starts with labeling the feelings, to making a list of the positives and negative consequences of those feelings and then giving advice as to how to deal with them. But what do we do when we feel stuck; when we can’t identify a feeling that is “continually pulling us down?”
First, it is important to remember that we are never alone in our internalized grief, fear, anger – the source of our “feeling down.” We are not the first one to experience such feelings, and we won’t be the last. For those of us with “a living faith’’ we know this to be true. (Not related to religion)
Secondly, It is important not to get caught in the downward spiral of feeling alone. Defusing feelings by talking to a friend, and be careful to find someone who can be objective – who can listen and challenge with truthful insights. For nearly all of us, this can be someone who shares our “faith in life.”
This someone will be authentic, willing to speak the truth and ask tough questions. They will also have a good sense of integrity and not be “gossipy.” Nothing can ruin a friendship faster than a broken trust. Usually such a good friend will help us find the “answer and solution from within” which is always the best. Our own “soul-utions” (our truth) are nearly always related to our own distress.
Being responsible for all that we create means being responsible for all that we feel. This is the beginning of a “Living Faith.”