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As a believer in Christ, I wholeheartedly believe that that my faith in God’s word has been the biggest proponent for my recovery from depression and healing from my grief. (I don’t believe grief ever goes away entirely, but we are capable of growing through it.) His promise to his children is firm, and unwavering, but how effective is his word if we do not understand it, nor know how to apply it to our daily lives.
I’m not proclaiming to be “holier than thou” or perfect in Christ, because there is no such thing. I struggle in my relationship with Jesus in many ways. I cuss, way more than anyone should. It’s a terrible habit. I overindulge and I hyperfocus on things that take my focus off of God.
One of the biggest obstacles holding me back from recovery from my depression and grief after the birth of my youngest son, was being unable to manage my negative feelings which inevitably led to me projecting them onto others without even knowing it.
I’ve always tried to be nonjudgmental about other people and their life choices. I’ve always claimed “As long as you aren’t hurting me or the ones I love, you can live anyway you’d like. That is between you and Your God.”
But the truth is, just because I didn’t point my finger and call someone out, didn’t mean I didn’t form my own judgments about them.
While deep in my depression and grief, this mentality kept the pain on the surface because I was constantly finding faults with everyone, even strangers due to my personal issues. Confused? Let me try and explain.
About that mom and dad with the large family:
Why do they get 4 healthy kids? All I asked for was two. I bet they have help.
About that young mom with 2 kids both under two:
They probably don’t even have the same dad. Does she know how lucky she is to have two healthy children? I saw her partying on Facebook her entire pregnancy. That blanket looks filthy.
About that new mom dad worried about their baby with a snotty nose:
Why so worried for a snotty nose? Poor people think they have problems.
These are just a few of the ugly, negative thoughts I had when suffering so deeply. Can you see how my own pain and grief are projected onto others? These weren’t bad people and I had no way of knowing their stories. But I had no problems making my issues, their issues.
You see, these thoughts really had nothing to with them at all, and everything to do me and how I was feeling.
So, can you recognize any of these traits? If you struggle with these feelings and emotions, holding on to your pain may be hindering you from healing and moving forward in your grief.
Are you so wrapped up in your own pain that you are the one projecting it onto others?
- Kicking others when any sign of weakness shows; Unable to be supportive
- Constantly standing in judgment of others actions and decisions
- Always placing blame and unable to take credit for your happiness or lack thereof
- Always have a victim mentality and having a pity party for one
- Negative nancy; Nothing you ever do is good enough
- Have trouble seeing the good in anything; Someone always have it easier or better than you
Are you so focused on what is going wrong in your life that you are unable to pray for others who are hurting?
I often felt like I didn’t want to go into the world because everywhere I would look, I was reminded of my pain. I was reminded of how things were supposed to be in my life.
Wouldn’t it make sense that if we are constantly projecting our hurt and negative feelings onto others that we would constantly be reminded of our own pain?
But let me ask this question: Who is reminding me of my pain? Is it the unknowing, happy, healthy family of five, just here to purchase supper? Or is it the devil stirring the pot of grief within me because he knows, that as long as I am focused on my pain, I’m not focusing on God’s love? Ever wonder how the devil schemes to work against our favor? HERE is a great tool to give you a better idea.
During my recovery, I came to a place where I realized that hiding behind my claim to be a nonjudgmental person, but still having plenty of judgments about others, wasn’t good enough. And it wasn’t helping me recover or be a better person. I knew that someday I wanted to help others, but I had to be able to approach everyone from a place of genuine acceptance and love.
To love them unconditionally like God loves me, I had to heal my own wounds. I had to be in a place where I could take responsibility for my own feelings and not cast them on other people. My issues weren’t their issues.
I set my focus on 2 things:
- Healing my wounds
- For me, this meant coming to accept that this was what God had intended for me all along. This life; with a son that I would spend the rest of my life caring for (and hopefully his life).
- Forgiving myself, for everything I held myself responsible.
- Learning how to love others by learning more about how God loves me.
Step one will be a little different for everyone because everyone’s pain starts differently, however reading more of God’s word really allowed me to do both step 1 and 2.
Understanding more about his purpose for my life and learning more about the mercy and blessings he had already shown me, allowed me to let go of so many of the things I was holding on to that was hurting me.
This series is one of my favorites and helped me the most in the beginning of my journey.
You can find the printable download of this quote over at The Well
I’m still learning and growing, but I am now able to set aside my own feelings and show mercy and grace to those suffering or in need and it be from a place of genuine love and concern. Which is another important factor to include. I really want my desire to help others to be sincere and not have to do with benefitting myself. Yes, it’s nice to know we help others and it makes us feel good, but I want that to be a side effect and not the premise.
Getting past this hurdle wasn’t the end of my grief, but it has helped me evolve and grow. The memories and reality still hurt, yes, but I’m better equipped at how to handle the pain now.
I’m not here to stomp the bible in your face or tell you that if you read his word, that all your troubles will be solved and questions answered, but if you’re struggling to find some perspective on your grief, I encourage you to start with God’s word. I understand that not everyone is ready at the same moment to reach out for help, but when you are ready and feel like you need to move past the stage you are in, then this is the place to start. He will be waiting on you.
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I’d love for more mothers to know they aren’t alone in their grief and that it’s ok to feel however they are feeling. There is hope out there and there is more joy left to be had and YOU can find it.
- Have you struggled with grief?
- What was the biggest hurdle that kept you from healing? I’ll post mine in the comments!