I want you to be honest with yourself for a moment, and think about how you normally answer someone when they ask you to describe how you are feeling. Do you say things, like, “pretty good,” “not bad,” “not so bad,” okay,”? Now, really think about this for moment… Do you notice how vague these phrases actually are? What does “pretty good” really mean? Are you feeling “pretty good” because you’re excited, entertained, enthusiastic, accomplished, relaxed?
You see, we all feel a wide range of emotions every day that cannot be summed up merely by saying we are either happy or sad. In fact, we experience such a vast array of complex emotions that we do not even have enough words in our language to describe them all. No more matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can always take a quick second to observe your emotional state. The more you do this, the more you will recognize how rarely you are simply just happy or sad, calm or angry, etc…
We all have certain needs and wants. When we fulfill these needs, we feel emotions that can be called positive — we want to encourage these emotions because we find them to be pleasant. When we do not fulfill our needs, we feel emotions that can be called negative — we do not find these feelings pleasant, and we want to discourage them. In order to begin understanding and describing your feelings, you need to both simplify and expand the way you look at them.
You simplify them by placing them in either one of two categories: positive — you wish to pursue those feelings, or negative — you wish to discourage those feelings. However, do not describe your feelings as just positive or negative; you simply categorize them as positive or negative. You describe your feelings as what they actually are called.
It is important that you understand this, and that you can categorize your feelings in this way so that when you describe how you are feeling, you can recognize which feelings are promoting your depression, and which feelings are discouraging it.
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