But only if you let it.
I would spiral down in thoughts of despair regularly at the height of my depression. Thoughts like, “It’s no use, it’ll be like this forever, nothing will ever change, I’ve got nothing to look forward to, no one cares, it’s all too difficult, what’s the point of being here, it’s too painful to feel…” would repeat through my mind and escalate until I was a complete mess and could barely function.
When I saw my counselor for the first time, she gave me about 20 or so truth coaches to say aloud to myself at least once a day. A truth coach is basically a new thought that you repeat over and over to yourself until you believe it. It trains your mind to get into a “new groove”. Once your thoughts change, then your beliefs change, and finally your actions will start to come out of those new beliefs.
At first I noticed no difference, despite being faithful to saying them/pondering them, and I was on the verge of giving up when suddenly, one day, at the beginning of one of my fits of despair I caught myself. “Hang on a minute, I know something different about this now. What was it again? Oh, that’s right, I’m NOT doomed to more of the same.” And the downward spiral stopped there. I was still upset, but I had gained some perspective.
This was my first experience of the truth setting me free and from that moment I never looked back. More and more truths began to sink in and I would be able to recall them when I needed them. I felt my mind quite physically “clicking” into a different track instead of taking the same old path. And I had been almost ready to give up!
Knowing It and Feeling It
I must note here that this first lie to fall was probably my most “shallow” one. I had not been in the habit of falling into despair my whole life so this mental groove was not all that deep. The earlier a belief is formed, the stronger it is. The really deeply buried ones, the ones that started when you were 2 or 3 years old, they will take a LOT longer to dislodge.
The mind must be utterly convinced that something is the truth before it will change, and even then it takes at least 30 days for it to feel “normal”. A common example is when you move to a country that drives on the opposite side of the road. Your mind is convinced that it is “the right thing to do” to stay safe and avoid an accident but it still feels wrong for about a month, and then it starts to feel normal and natural.
Now that is for something straightforward with no room for doubt. Both our conscious and subconscious mind absolutely recognize that the new belief is superior. If our mind has any doubt whatsoever about something our spirit is asking it to believe, the time for it to feel normal is extended. Expect this. I must warn you from the outset that your mind and soul will want to fight tooth and nail against the truth because it is frightening. It will feel wrong. It will feel unsafe.
We formed these beliefs for a reason – to protect ourselves. They were a kind of security guard at first. But somewhere along the line they turned into a prison guard, and now they keep us locked into beliefs and behaviours that are no longer protecting us, but endangering us, and often those we love too. But they feel normal. For a long-term prison inmate, the prison feels normal and safe, and the world outside seems dangerous. The truth is the key to our freedom, but we are tempted to get back inside the prison where it feels comfortable!
Betraying the Betrayer
I did not seek counseling to get rid of my perfectionism – I wanted to cure my depression. At first I didn’t want to ‘betray’ my perfectionism – it had been a friend that had brought many good things into my life. It just didn’t seem fair to think of it as a dangerous enemy. My turning point came when I realized I could view it as bidding a fond farewell to a beloved nanny who I didn’t need anymore because I was all grown up now. That insight enabled me to accept the needed truth.
Some truth coaches will feel so wrong that you are barely able to say them. I had one that made my stomach churn and my jaw lock every time I came to it – “Kick back, relax, let go, and accept good enough as good enough.” My mind raised many objections, “Is this REALLY the truth? What if everyone just ‘kicked back’? What kind of world would that be?” etc etc. It turns out, the more repulsed you feel by a truth coach, the more you probably need it!
A Living Wisdom counselor will be able to help you find truth coaches that are specifically tailored to you, but I will continue to offer some that helped me. Truth coaches really do work, but you need to put in the time and effort, and persevere!
More Helpful Truth Coaches
Perfectionism used to be my friend but I don’t need it anymore. Time to say goodbye.
Letting go is safe now. Nothing dreadful is going to happen.
Avoiding failure is not the way to stay safe now.
Anything less than perfect is not dangerous, it’s actually normal.
Increased confusion often comes as we are coming into a new truth. It will pass.