15th May 2016
By Dawn Walton
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Have you ever worked with someone who is good at their job but can never seem to see it? Has anyone ever paid you a compliment that you’ve dismissed because you didn’t believe them, or twisted to take it as an insult?
We all interact with the world on the basis of the reality in our heads. We each have a different version of reality that we live in. (Take the tale of the two dogs and a mirror, for instance.) This is the reason that you can’t be talked out of feeling depressed. You only hear and see things that match the reality in your head.
As a cognitive hypnotherapist, when a client sits in front of me for their first session they often say things like “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have a good life, a good job and people who care about me. I should be happy.”
Should. It’s an interesting word isn’t it? It’s the biggest clue about what is going on…
The thing that leads most people to feeling depressed is not about reality. It’s about expectations versus reality. It’s about the word “Should”. It’s not the reality that is causing the problem, it’s the expectation.
Expectation that they should be somewhere in life and that doesn’t measure up against where they are;
Expectation that they should be able to cope with life better than they feel they are coping (often the case with post-natal depression);
Expectation that they should be a better person that they think they are.
Where do those expectations come from? Expectations come from growing up. They come from rules learnt by the subconscious as you grow up, that are followed to keep you safe once you are an adult. They come from our upbringing, and not necessarily a negative one; I have as many clients that want to make a much-loved parent proud, just as I have clients who have been abused into believing they are never good enough. And either way, it’s the word “should” that causes the problem. It stops you seeing what is around you. It stops you living in the moment.
So next time you hear yourself thinking that you “should” feel or act differently, ask yourself “whose voice is this, that says I should?”
- If it is someone else’s voice, imagine time travelling back to when you first heard them say it. Then change their voice to something ridiculous, like Donald Duck, or a helium balloon voice, or even Barry White (or Barry White on a helium balloon!)
- If it’s yours, ask “what age am I when I am saying that?” and time travel back to the you at that age. Ask them why they believe that to be true. Ask them who says? And then follow the step above.
It’s not your fault you are depressed. It’s a symptom of a warped reality. But there is a reason and because of that, it’s possible to change.
Further reading from Dawn Walton:
- You’re Not a Mind Reader – Stop Worrying What Other People Think of You
- Sleep Problems Come From the Day Not the Night
- Addiction is Not Necessarily an Addiction for Life
- Fight, Flight… or Fun? Turning Anxiety into Anticipation
- Even Positive People Have Negative Thoughts
- Understanding and Overcoming Food Addiction
About the author:
Dawn Walton is the author of The Caveman Rules of Survival, and a practicing cognitive hypnotherapist. She runs sessions in person out of offices in Dundee and Aberdeen in the UK, and internationally via Skype and Facetime; most clients only need two or three sessions to rewrite the rules in their rule book.
You can connect with Dawn via:
- Therapy site: www.thinkitchangeit.com
- Author site: www.thecavemanrulesofsurvival.com
- Facebook: Facebook.com/DawnatThinkitChangeit
- Twitter: @ThinkitChangeit
- Skype: @Thinkitchangeit
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amazon UK : The Caveman Rules of Survival
- Amazon US : The Caveman Rules of Survival