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Becometh As a Child: Chapter 3 Clinical Insights: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?
by John Waterbury
Jan 03, 2011 | 3977 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When life doesn't go the way we want it to, we often respond with questions like, "Why me? Why now? Why do I have to go through this?" But if we had greater insight, we would probably be more likely to ask, "What am I supposed to learn from this? What am I being prepared for? How will the future be different as a result of what I'm experiencing right now?" And, "How will I be able to use this experience to make a positive difference in the world?"

Our lives are guided and coordinated in a manner that is sometimes difficult for us to comprehend. But, simply because we don't fully understand this process, it does not negate the fact that there really is purpose, reason, and wisdom in life. Depression also has a purpose.

Depression seems to be the result of a complex interaction between certain genetic tendencies or predispositions combined with the thinking patterns we develop as we define a variety of painful life events and poor life choices. However, things are not always the way that they appear. Life is miraculously filled with a wide variety of situations whose only purpose is to create our destiny. The thinking patterns or habits of explanation that we develop from dealing with these situations tend to help each of us develop a perception of helplessness or hopefulness, pessimism or optimism.

It's not simply a painful sequence of events that causes depression; rather, it's our perception of those events. Perception determines the ease or difficulty with which we make life-management decisions. Perception creates our reality.

While life generally inflicts similar levels of pain and problems on just about everyone, optimists tend to see these obstacles as stepping stones that strengthen them and enable them to rise to a higher level of progression. The pain is still there, but optimists view it as something that can be managed. Pessimists tend to see the obstacles as stumbling blocks, which invariably lead to depression, anxiety, and frustration.

As a result, pessimists become controlled by the stumbling blocks. They tend to get depressed more easily, stay depressed longer, and relapse more easily after treatment. If something as simple as optimism can make you happier and healthier, make the choice to have it!

Look for the positive. Expect to find it. Learn from it. Manage it. Because when all is said and done, depression is never wasted. The optimist recognizes that things will get better. The hardships and challenges in life will not last forever but are a necessary part of the growth process. Optimists understand the principles identified below:

• Pain is the motivator, not the problem. You're going to experience pain as you go through life. Some people will get more of it than others, but everyone will get their share. That's important to understand because pain causes change and change causes growth. There's no other way.

• You have a purpose, and there is a plan. Believe it or not, there are some things in this life that only you can do. You have a purpose. There is a plan for your being. It just takes a while to figure out what it is.

• Problems are the answers to prayers. As you meet the various challenges in life, you will discover the special characteristics with which you have been endowed.

• When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. No matter what happens to you, you will never be completely alone. A number of people will be brought into your life to help you manage your life and find your way home.

• Lessons will continue. Your life will be full of lessons, and the Lord's plan permits you to learn at your own speed. If you're not ready to understand the lesson, it'll be repeated until you are.

• Nothing is wasted. No matter what happens, and no matter how big a mistake you make, learn from it, put it behind you, and move on. Most of the greatest learning comes from our mistakes. Remember, failing is not failure!

• Develop an attitude of gratitude. Since your attitude will determine your happiness, look for the beauty in life and expect only the best. More often than not, you'll find it.

• Never accept mediocrity. You can't afford not to try your best.

• You are not your symptoms. Symptoms are simple, misunderstood messages that are trying to tell us something. Once you understand the messages, the symptoms will become manageable.

• Finally, and most importantly, never give in or give up, never, never! There are many solutions to every problem in life. One of them will work!

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