Having overcome depression once myself, I know that it’s possible and in fact, I can list so many different tools and tips for improving your health and happiness. But when you think about how to beat depression, there’s this one thing that simply comes first:
You need to truly believe that you deserve to get better. You need to really feel that how you’re feeling right now is not good enough for the rest of your life. It’s about this deep inner feeling that you deserve to be well and happy again. For your own sake.
Looking at your sense of self-esteem
For somebody who’s perhaps never struggled with depression or low self-esteem, it can be hard to understand why you wouldn’t wish yourself well.
Self-esteem is all about how you value and perceive yourself.
For example, do you believe that you are worthy of love and support from others? Do you show kindness towards yourself? Can you move on from past mistakes without harshly criticising yourself? Do you believe that you as a person matter? That you can do new things and overcome challenges? Are you able to share and stand by your own opinion about things that matter to you?
I think it’s fair to say that we all struggle with low self-esteem now and again. Perhaps particularly so in social situations or if you consider yourself to be an introvert. And sometimes being a bit more cautious can be a good thing of course.
But when you’re facing really low self-esteem and are really not feeling good about yourself, your days can be such a struggle to get through. You might end up withdrawing from life and avoiding all sorts of situations because of those beliefs that you hold about yourself.
How to beat depression - start by believing in your own worth
I’d argue that most people who have experienced depression themselves wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s a truly horrible experience.
If you are currently feeling really low yourself, then of course you want this to go away. It’s so hard to bear.
But in order to get better, you need to first and foremost start challenging that inner critic inside your head. The voice that tells you all these horrible things about yourself or your life.
You need to start truly believing that you are worthy of more. That you deserve to be happy and well. Not so that you’re a better person to be around with, or that you can serve others better. But because you yourself truly deserve it.
How to try and change those negative self beliefs
Obviously challenging what are for many of us long held beliefs can be difficult. It’s a gradual process that takes time.
The antidote to harsh self-criticism is self-compassion and I wrote about it once before here.
It’s important to let yourself have feelings, and to keep in mind that you’re a human being with strengths and weaknesses just like everybody else. Be kind to yourself. Start saying positive things to yourself and wish yourself well.
Try not to compare yourself and your life to others – it’s just not helpful and never grounded in reality anyway.
When difficult thoughts about yourself come up, see if you can challenge those. How much evidence is there to support this thought? And would you say those sorts of things to your friend?
Pay more attention to the good things about you, too. List all your achievements – big and small. Also list what you like about yourself and what you’re good at. Ask others what they like about you and next time you get a compliment, try to accept it rather than doubt it.
Surround yourself with people that make you feel good as best as you can. And talk to them about how you’re feeling if that feels right.
Set boundaries around how much you do for others, and practice to say no when an ask seems like too much.
Do something for yourself on a regular basis – taking care of yourself can really help to build up your self worth. But don’t try to be perfect – do something that you actually like doing.
Beating depression is no easy task. Learning how to address those limiting and negative self beliefs is crucial to begin with. Believing that you deserve to feel happy and well again will provide you with so much motivation and hope for your journey.
If you’d like to know more about my work and see whether I can help you overcome depression too, feel free to get in touch. Just send me a message and I’ll get back to you soon.
To finish off this post, here’s a short video about a great conversation around low self-esteem and what it feels like.