A little while ago I was talking to someone who said that one of their friends had suffered from depression in the past and, along with this, another one of their friends had recently revealed that they were not in a good way. I don’t think it came as a surprise for them to hear about what their first friend had been through, but that wasn’t the case when it came to their other friend.
The reason for this is that this friend had a good job and they appeared to have it all together. Hearing this came as a big shock to them, and perhaps they wondered how this person was able to cover up how they felt for so long.
I wasn’t surprised by what I had heard, and there were a number of reasons for this. Over the years, I have written a lot about how the image that someone presents to the world doesn’t always match up with what is going on within them and how shallow relationships can be.
Two people can then spend time together and they can know very little about each other. That’s not to say they won’t know what they have been doing, for instance; what it means is that they won’t really open about how they have been feeling or what is bothering them
Each person will be playing a role and this will stop them from being able to be themselves. Creating the right impression ends up being more important than anything else, thereby stopping them from being able to truly connect to each other.
I know exactly what this is like as I had the need to look strong all the time and to hide how I felt. This meant that it seemed as though nothing fazed me, yet this was nothing more than an illusion.
What felt safe was hiding how I felt; if I didn’t do this, I believed that I would be rejected, abandoned and/or harmed. This went back to what had happened to me when I was growing up.
A New Perspective
I was carrying a lot of shame, and hiding my emotions was a way for me to try to stop people from realising how flawed I was. I believed that if my mask dropped, so to speak, I would end up being exposed and the people in my life would end up walking away.
Part of me wasn’t willing to go along with this and I knew that there was a way for me to change my life. I read numerous books and worked with different healers and therapists, which allowed me to see that there was nothing for me to be ashamed off.
During this time, the relationship I had with my own emotions gradually changed and I no longer wanted to play a role. What I also thought about is that there was no reason for me to feel ashamed of the mental and emotional issues that I had.
The positive feedback that I received from therapists and healers played a part in this, as did what I read in books. I went from believing that my inner experience was something to be ashamed off, to seeing as just part of the human experience.
If I had always felt this way, I would have been able to do something about how I felt years before. The beliefs I had about what I was going through were what had held me back, not what I was actually going through.
The beliefs I had were the result of my upbringing and the experiences I had had throughout my life. If I had a physical problem, I’m sure I would have let someone know about it more or less straight away and got the right help.
A New Outlook
When someone realises that there is nothing for them to be ashamed of if they have mental and emotional problems, they won’t need to suffer in silence. This will allow them to look for the assistance that they need.
If another person makes out there is something wrong with them, it can show that they don’t feel comfortable with their own emotions. The way that they talk to themselves is then being directed outwards.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.