Living according to your true self means seeing yourself for who you really are based on your sincere striving to embody the values and achieve the goals you truly believe in.

It includes approaching yourself, your true emotions and needs, from a loving, caring, nurturing perspective that is consistent with how your loving inner guide (Wise Advocate) sees you.

Sarah’s deceptive brain messages became so overwhelming at times that she would stay in bed and try to shut out the world. She developed physical symptoms, including headaches, body pains, and a complete lack of motivation. It was as if a blanket of sleepiness had descended upon her and coated her entire being. As the depression progressed, Sarah stopped interacting with her family and friends, lost interest in her normal activities, and stopped exercising.

The more her brain churned out these negative messages, the more Sarah believed, as she says, that she was “a loser.” Unable to resist those false thoughts or believe in herself, she fell deeper and deeper into despair until she was convinced that she was utterly worthless and that life was hopeless. Her depression came to inaccurately and inappropriately define her. “This is me,” she thought, “a depressed, negative person who is not worthy of anything.”

Similar to Sarah, Abby also struggled with a tendency to overanalyze. Rather than questioning her self-worth, Abby’s deceptive brain messages caused her to constantly worry about the safety of her friends and family—and then repeatedly doubt whether she should say or do anything. Although she was fully capable of stating her views with clarity and conviction at work, Abby couldn’t ever quite tell the important people in her life what she really thought or how she felt. “I just never know if I am doing the right thing,” Abby said when she was in the thick of her symptoms. “How can I ensure the best for my family without making them feel like I am being overprotective or smothering them? What if someone gets hurt or makes a mistake and I knew it was a bad idea? How could I live with that, knowing that I could have done something to prevent that outcome?” Abby’s “guilt machine” often kicked into high gear when she did state her concerns, views, and opinions. For instance, if she put her foot down and forbade her children to do something, she would
feel that she was disappointing them or depriving them in some way. As she explained, “I don’t like conflict, but I don’t like the results of staying quiet or being passive either.” It was a veritable catch- 22: She could not live with the guilt, yet she felt anxious and scared when she did state her views and beliefs.

At some level, Abby knew she was living an incomplete life by neglecting her true self, yet she saw no way out. Beholden to her deceptive brain messages and paralyzed by indecision, she often felt guilty and anxious. No matter how she tried, she could not pull herself out of her excessive thoughts, alter her assumption that she had to protect everyone, or use her Wise Advocate to help her see the bigger picture.

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