DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 years ago
I’d love for you to have an open mind and a willingness to look at depression and anxiety from a different perspective – one where they are not to be avoided but instead welcomed as valuable feedback response states in your life.
Pairs of Opposites
With every emotionally charged perception that you have, your mind births a pair of opposites.
Suppose you perceive someone or something you are drawn to, infatuated with, or seek. You will simultaneously, but probably unconsciously, be withdrawn from, resent or avoid someone or something perceived to be its opposite. An in each case, you will also experience a simultaneous fear of LOSING the former and fear of GAINING the latter.
- Infatuation with a potential partner that you immediately fear losing;
- Excitement over a new client and the resulting fear of losing that additional new revenue;
- Infatuating with or admiring a new house that's on the market and being scared that someone else will buy it before you do.
The opposite also applies if you perceive someone or something that you are repelled from or wish to avoid. You will simultaneously, but probably unconsciously, be attracted to, or drawn to, or wish to seek someone or something perceived to be the opposite. You are likely to experience a simultaneous fear of GAINING the former and fear of LOSING the latter:
- A challenging client that you fear may present you with more drawbacks than gains;
- A difficult work task that you perceive might result in challenges you don't want;
- Feeling under pressure to move to another city where you perceive the new location might not provide the quality of life that you would love to have.
The fear of loss of that which you seek, and the fear of the gain of that which you try to avoid, are the two primary biological DISTRESSES that you respond to in the amygdala of your brain.
In other words:
- Anything you infatuate with or want to seek, you will fear the loss of.
- Anything you resent or want to avoid, you will fear the gain of.
What you desire to seek, is assumed to have more advantages than disadvantages and can be a relative FANTASY.
What you desire to avoid, is assumed to have more disadvantages than advantages and can be a relative NIGHTMARE.
These show up in your body’s physiology as a gut impulse toward and a gut instinct away:
- You have a gut impulse towards things.
- You have a gut instinct away from things.
So, the fear of loss of that which you seek and the fear of gain of that which you try to avoid are spontaneously emerging with every contrasted perception.
Now how does that relate to depression?
Depression is a COMPARISON of your current reality to a fantasy that you're seeking or even in some cases addicted to, that you fear the loss of.
Depression is also a COMPENSATION for that unrealistic expectation. It is designed to help you break your unrealistic expectation or fantasy.
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The ABCDEFGHI's of Negativity
Every time you have an unrealistic expectation, or fantasy, you are likely to experience the ABCDEFGHI's of negativity:
- Anger and Aggression;
- Blame and Betrayal;
- Criticism and Challenge;
- Despair and Depression;
- Desire to Exit and Escape;
- Futility and Frustration;
- Grouchiness and Grief;
- Hatred and Hurt: and, in a sense,
- Insanity and Irritability.
These ABCDEFGHI's of negativity are feedback responses to let you know that you're pursuing something unrealistic - an impulse towards that which you seek that you fear the loss of; and the gain of that which you're avoiding.
In other words, they can result in your frustration and your mind/body's response that is often referred to as "depression".
As such, I'm not going to call depression an ILLNESS but instead a BIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO AN UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION that's stored in your subconscious mind and that you may not always be conscious of.
I have worked with many people diagnosed with what their psychiatrist has termed "clinical depression". In more cases than not, their psychiatrist has prescribed one or more psychiatric drugs.
Interestingly, over the past 48 years of dealing with people diagnosed with "clinical depression", I have found that there are FIFTEEN most common underlying unrealistic expectations or fantasies that those people were dealing with.
In other words, they had a fear of LOSS of those fantasies or the fear of GAIN of things they perceived would be nightmares.
Unrealistic Expectations or Fantasies
Here are a few of what I found to be the most common unrealistic expectations or fantasies:
The compensated opposite.
Anytime you expect another human being to be one-sided – in other words, you have a fantasy that people are always nice, never mean; positive, never negative; kind, never cruel; giving, never taking; generous, never stingy; cooperative, never competitive; peaceful, never wrathful – they are likely to let you down because a one-sided human being doesn't exist.
For example, I'm not a nice person, and I'm not a mean person. I'm a human being with a set of values that, if I perceive you SUPPORTING my values, I can be as nice as a pussycat. If I perceive you as CHALLENGING my values, I can be as mean as a tiger.
So, anytime you have an unrealistic expectation or a fantasy that you seek, you're most likely to experience the fear of its loss and respond accordingly.
Expecting another individual to live in your values instead of their own or having an unrealistic expectation for them to live outside their values.
Every decision a person makes is based on what they perceive will give them the greatest advantage over disadvantage to their set of values at any one moment in time.
Suppose you expect others to live in YOUR values and live outside of THEIR own values. In that case, you will most likely experience many of the ABCDEFGHI's of negativity and depression because you're unrealistically expecting them to live up to an improbable or impossible fantasy.
A combination of the two - an unrealistic expectation of them to be positive without any negatives and live in your values or outside their values.
This can often present in your saying something like, "You're supposed to read my mind and be who I expect you to be." This is very common in many relationships and tends to result in many angering and depressive states.
An unrealistic expectation of yourself to be one-sided.
You may relate to this one if you live inside the fantasy that you are supposed to be positive all the time, kind all the time, giving all the time, peaceful all the time, and cooperative all the time.
I am certain that expecting yourself to be a one-sided individual is not only an unrealistic expectation but potentially a fantasy or DELUSION.
Instead, it is wise to appreciate the reality that there are TWO sides to life. It is unrealistic and delusional to expect yourself always to be positive, kind, cooperative and peaceful.
You have an unrealistic expectation of yourself to live long-term outside of YOUR values and to live instead in somebody ELSE'S values.
I often see this in new relationships when you may be so infatuated with someone that you tend to inject their values into your own life and attempt to live within their values for fear of loss of their affection.
- If they love prioritizing their health and fitness, you may suddenly feel temporarily inspired to hit the gym each day.
- Suppose they love traveling and have a value on experiencing new cultures. In that case, you may suddenly wish to spend your free time and finances on seeing the world.
- If they feel inspired to raise funds for disadvantaged communities, you may try to live inside their values and do the same temporarily.
Give it a few weeks or months, and the majority of people are likely to experience feelings of, "Hey, I want my life back." Trying to live in other’s values is self-defeating and futile and ends up short-lived.
For this reason, I often ask people to look at what their life ALREADY demonstrates as being a priority.
Suppose you say that you would love to be financially independent, but your life actually demonstrates that you regularly prioritize immediate gratification and buy consumables that depreciate in value. In that case, it is highly unlikely that financial independence is truly one of your highest values.
So, anytime you expect yourself to live outside of your own true set of values, you will most likely have a fantasy that you're trying to live by that you're not going to live by. This may result in the ABCDEFGHI's of negativity towards yourself as feedback to let you know that you have unrealistic expectations.
Those responses are FEEDBACK to let you know that you have a completely unrealistic expectation or delusion about how you're expecting your life to be. Your actual long-term decisions are based upon your own true set of values.
An unrealistic expectation on the world/universe/god to be one-sided.
I sometimes see this present in people who expect god to protect them from crime, illness or pain. It can also be seen in people who perceive that the world should always be peaceful and never in conflict or war.
Again, anytime you expect people/the word/or some universal anthropomorphic deity to be one-sided, you are more likely to experience symptoms of "depression" – symptoms that are feedback to let you know that you have unrealistic expectations or fantasies.
Depression is not your enemy. Depression is feedback to let you know you have unrealistic expectations of life.
I have worked with many people diagnosed as being ‘clinically depressed’ and have found that every individual housed unrealistic expectations - though many if not most were oblivious to, or unconscious of them and often denied them initially.
Pharmaceutical companies may try to tell you that you have a biochemical imbalance, which may be true. Still, those imbalances may not be CAUSAL but instead the RESULT of imbalanced perceptions and only correlative.
I'm not here to tell you about, or promote the fantasy of a one-sided life. Instead, I am certain that there are TWO sides to life and TWO sides to every individual:
- You have EVERY trait inside of you – you are sometimes nice and sometimes mean; sometimes positive and sometimes negative; sometimes kind and sometimes cruel; sometimes giving and sometimes taking; sometimes generous and sometimes stingy; sometimes cooperative and sometimes competitive; sometimes peaceful and sometimes wrathful.
- As such, it is wise to avoid placing unrealistic expectations on yourself to be only one-sided.
- Nothing is lacking in you – you have every imaginable trait you see in others, including those you perceive to be positive or negative traits.
- You will, therefore, not get rid of traits you perceive to be negative – and would therefore be wise to love all of yourself instead of trying to get rid of half of yourself.
- Depression doesn't need to be your reality. You can change your life by changing your EXPECTATIONS, PERCEPTIONS and ATTITUDES.
Let's look at anxiety and how it may present differently from depression.
Anxiety is a compounded phobia.
Let's think of an example to demonstrate what this may look like in action.
Think of a child that witnesses his mother arguing with an aggressive man dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt. The child may be fearful when he hears the man’s raised voice and experience feelings of fight or flight as a result.
The following day, that child may head to the grocery store with his mother and see a man dressed in blue jeans with a white shirt.
He may begin acting out and cling to his mother, who may be surprised at why her son reacts for what she appears to be no apparent reason.
Later that day, he may see a man dressed in a white shirt but black pants and may have a medium reaction and seek reassurance from his mother.
In other words, the sight of anything vaguely relating to what the child perceived to be a fearful encounter may act as a trigger that results in an anxious response.
Anxiety can emerge from a previously perceived event considered painful and frightening that has later been compounded and diversified by similar associations of the original stimuli - creating an anxious phobic reaction stimulated by various associated stimuli.
So you may stack up a series of associations over time that become compounded.
As such, you would be wise to go back to the original event and neutralize it by finding the UPSIDES and how that event SERVED you.
I teach people exactly how to do this each week in the Breakthrough Experience. Should you attend, I’ll show you how to take whatever you thought was so terrible in your life and look for the other side to balance it.
As I often explain:
- There's never a challenge without an opportunity.
- There's never a crisis without a blessing.
- There's never a negative without a positive because there is no such thing as a one-sided event.
When you can finally face and embrace both sides, your perception of the event will no longer contain emotions of stress or anxiety. The secondary associations will also tend to calm down and dissolve.
Any imbalanced perceptions are stored in your subconscious mind and cause you to react 200 milliseconds before you can even think.
When you balance and neutralize those perceptions, you are more likely to act more objectively with THOUGHT and without an EMOTIONAL reaction.
That is where you have self-governance and where you run your life instead of having your life run you.
Anything that you haven't balanced and said "thank you" for is baggage; anything you have balanced and can say "thank you" for is fuel.
You have control of your perceptions, decisions, and actions. If you balance out your perception, anxiety disappears.
- Depression does not have to be perceived as your enemy. Depression can also be considered a feedback to let you know you have unrealistic expectations in life that you are comparing your current reality to.
- You can use this feedback to guide your life, balance out your perceptions, put realistic expectations in place, and know that no matter what happens in your life, it can be perceived as on the way, not in the way.
- Suppose you are uncertain as to where to start in bringing your emotions back into balance. In that case, you may want to think about discovering your highest values where you are most objective and less subjectively reactive - click here to access the FREE Demartini Value Determination Process on my website.
- When you set goals and have balanced objectives and realistic expectations, your physiology is most likely to rally.
- What's wise is being accountable to seeing both sides of your life and breakthrough the illusion of living in fantasies that life is supposed to be one-sided. Instead, you may want to consider facing and embracing the realities of both sides of life.
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