Self Knowledge, Self Worth and Depression 

by Dr Helen Ford

The ideal way to gather knowledge of your own true nature is to observe the actions which come directly from the core of your own being. Those actions which arise from a deep inner knowing of rightness and then flow upwards into your heart, expanding it with feelings of pure love, are the actions which arise directly from your own soul. These actions will bring you happiness.

If you want to find out who you really are, you need to gather as many memories as you can of times when you acted in this way and observe the way you were at these times and the qualities of being you were radiating into life. Go as deep as you can into the source of these actions. This source is your own truth.

You will feel love for this truth. We naturally feel love for all truth. The wide opening of the heart and natural outpouring of pure love is a sure indication of the clear presence of truth in whatever it is that stimulates our hearts to open in this complete and absolute way. We are innately structured to respond to truth with love and to untruth by a closing of the heart. These are valuable responses. They encourage us to allow truth to flow freely through us and help us to discern untruth in both ourselves and others and to adjust our behaviour accordingly.

It follows that it is entirely right (and proper!) to feel this pure love towards yourself whenever you express your inner truth, no matter what your childhood training told you about the supposed evils of self love!

The more love you feel for yourself, the stronger your feelings of self-worth will become. Since you can only feel really deep love for yourself when you are fully expressing your own truth, your sense of self worth is directly dependent on the degree to which you allow your own truth to flow clearly and openly into expression. Every moment of direct expression of innermost truth will enhance your feelings of self worth.

By contrast, every time you allow yourself to act in any other way, you will not accrue any self worth. You may accrue other rewards, such as the love and approval of others, but that love will never be as complete and as pure as it is when it is given to you in response to the clear open flow of your own truth. Quite often you gain nothing. If you are simply running some learned behaviour pattern, one that has perhaps been unthinkingly handed down from one generation to another, your only (somewhat dubious!) gain is that of fitting in with your ancestral inheritance.

Any minor gain you achieve by allowing a learned behaviour pattern to replace the clear flow of your own truth will be strongly counter-balanced by your own inner sadness. Every time you express something other than your own truth, you will feel an inner sadness due to your innate awareness of the loss of what might have been. Each small expression of non-truth generates its own quantum of sadness and as these accumulate into an inner mass, the pain of them can become unbearable.

When people become depressed it is because they have accumulated huge amounts of this sadness as a consequence of having expressed too little of their own truth. Instead they have allowed themselves to respond too much and too frequently to the pressures of their environment. Depressed individuals inevitably have very little self worth because they have not expressed enough of their own truth to acquire it.

It is not a long step from feeling worthless and sad to concluding that life is pointless and painful and the logical extension of this will be the desire to escape from it through death.

If something or someone threatens your survival in any way, your natural instinctive response is to defend yourself. If you believe that something is about to destroy you, it is normal and healthy to react with an attempt to destroy it first. This is the basic principle which drives our immune responses to infectious illnesses. We allow many bacteria and other organisms to live in and on the surface of our bodies. Some of them even help us. The moment one type of organism begins to cause our physical bodies serious harm, however, we defend them by generating a fierce and fundamentally destructive immune response.

The integrity of our sense of self is protected in the same way by the ‘immune system’ of the feelings. The main instrument of emotional self-defence is anger. If a particular threat is severe, the anger may arise in its most intense form as destructive hatred.
When someone is brought to the point of so much internal pain that death comes to seem preferable to continuing, they will naturally experience anger/destructive hatred towards what they perceive as the cause of their suffering.

Emotional self-defence can become far more complicated than simply defending yourself against physical infection. This is because the original threat is likely to have arisen from someone you also love, such as a parent. Your parents, by their own beliefs and attitudes, may have inadvertently taught you to suppress your own truth, to listen to others for direction or to put aside what feels right to you when there seems to be the slightest risk of causing pain to others. The result can be such a degree of lack of expression of your own truth that you currently feel worthless and sad enough to desire to die. Then it will be your parents that you hate. Technically, it is not your parents that you hate but the negative patterns they are carrying and using. It takes a while, however, to learn how to see other peoples’ truths and untruths separately, so when we don’t like someone’s behaviour we often interpret this as not liking them.

When your accumulated pain and sadness brings you to this point of hatred, when you feel yourself filled with destructive anger against whatever seems to be responsible for the suppression of your truth and when that responsibility appears to land on a parent, a partner or even your own child, then you may find yourself afraid of your own feelings. You may be so afraid of the destructive power of your anger that you suppress it completely. You may end up discharging some of it and then feeling shame or guilt. As you are not radiating your truth, you cannot love yourself.

If you are consciously aware of your hatred, you may hate or be ashamed of yourself for having it. If you are not consciously aware of it you are likely to feel anxiety. Either way, you are definitely not radiating your truth, as the only reason hatred happens is that truth has been deeply suppressed. So whether or not you express the anger, you are not going to be accumulating self-love. Thus once this cycle has begun, it is liable to self-aggravate.

Suicide can come to look like the only way out. By this I don’t just mean the immediate bringing about of death, I also mean the development of fatal illnesses or engaging in fatal accidents that bring you to death before your time. What the suicidal individual often fails to realise is that death is not a solution. When someone dies surrounded by a cloud of their own depression, anger and despair, their soul is likely to remain earthbound, wrapped about in that cloud, enduring the same pain endlessly until they allow themselves to let their angels help them to look for a solution. It would have been better for them to look for a solution while they were alive.

The solution to any feeling of depression, whether long or short term, is to start acting directly from your own inner being, listening carefully for the deep inner knowing of rightness and allowing that to flow upwards through your heart into open expression. Then (and perhaps most importantly) to allow yourself to feel love for yourself, for doing this, and to know that what you are now choosing to do is good, right and of value to the world – and also that the continuation of this choice has the power not only to bring you all that you desire but also to neutralise any harm you may have done to yourself or others by not being your true self.
You don’t have to be able to access your inner rightness perfectly all at once. As a friend once told me, she just started with ‘the nearest true desire’. Once you have given yourself permission to listen to your own feelings, the more deeply suppressed aspects of your truth will be able to rise gradually to the surface. Meanwhile, rather than berating yourself for past mistakes, just learn from them and allow yourself to rise renewed like a phoenix out of its ashes.
Everything heals and self repairs. You have only to look at trees gradually spreading out new bark to cover an area of damage. If you have damaged your body by consistently using it to express untruth, it will recover rapidly the moment you choose to use it to express your own soul. The body simply responds to the blueprint you give it. If you allow it to be flooded with hopelessness, pointlessness and despair then it will oblige you by allowing you to die.

If there is another flu epidemic, the deaths will be of those who are ready to die either because it is genuinely close to their natural time or because they cannot see how good their own lives could be. It is interesting that the last serious flu pandemic began amongst the wounded soldiers. It is not hard to imagine why they let their lungs be invaded by the virus. Lungs are the part of us that reflect joy in being and delight in life. What joy is there in killing your fellow human beings and destroying the beauty they have created? If there is to be another epidemic you can protect yourself by concentrating on knowing and loving your own truth and feeling your own pleasure in the opportunity you currently have to give expression to this particular aspect of love in the material world. You will only die if you want to die.

You will not want to die before your own right time as long as you hold fast to the certainty that you always have access to an inner knowing of what is truly right for you. This knowing lights the path out of any situation of conflict, depression or despair into the world of joy and delight in life which is creation’s true reality –a reality that is always there, awaiting your choice to be part of it.