DEJECTION

QUESTION:

I need help. My parents are getting along very well with the family who has hurt me. My parents may be right in their own way but I feel they don’t understand my emotions and value them.  I feel dejected so many times, so I cry and scream. This feeling of dejection is something that I have always been struggling with to some degree. Ways to deal with it would be of great help.

ANSWER:

Dejection comes because we are attached to our expectations. When they are not fulfilled ,we feel dejected or frustrated. These obstacles, which come in our life, are meant to make us strong. A person who has not faced obstacles in his life will not be strong. Just as if you don’t do any exercise, then your muscles won’t develop.

We become very much emotional and influenced by our circumstances and situations, and especially by our desires. If our desires are not fulfilled, such as having our parents act in a certain favorable way towards us, then we become stressed and unhappy and feel dejected. Our mind becomes agitated. The mind always goes from one extreme to another extreme. The mind likes what gives it pleasure and does not like what gives it pain. And that same thing which gives you pleasure, can also give you pain. Pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin. If we don’t understand this characteristic of the mind, then we fall prey to unhappiness, depression, dejection, and sadness. Because the sadness and dejection is just the quality of some feeling of the mind. It is not something which happens outside. You may think that the cause of your dejection has to do with the unsupportive manner in which your parents are acting towards you. But that is not accurate. Your feeling of dejection is something that happens within you only. Because the truth is that you can feel happy and full of joy in any circumstance. It is up to you how you choose to adjust your thinking about any given situation. So, the good news is that you have the ability to control whether you want to feel dejected or not. And if you can control your mind, then you have the ability to transcend it. But for that, you have to know your mind very well, so you can get some grip over it. The intelligent thing to do is to go beyond this duality. Krishna says that this state of sadness or depression is not meant that you forget it. He says that the state of depression should be the means itself to get your attention and to act as a stepping stone to go beyond it.

PRACTICAL EXERCISE

Krishna says that when we feel dejected, we should go to the root cause of that feeling and ask ourselves, “Why has this situation come to me? What is the ultimate cause behind it?” There are immediate causes and ultimate causes. Perhaps the immediate cause is more obvious and you can make the direct connection as to why your parents are acting unfavorably towards you. But, the ultimate cause can be quite different. Perhaps the ultimate cause is to teach you how to think positively and remain balanced, no matter the external circumstance? Krishna recommends to remain balanced in all situations. Here is one practical way:

1. Make a blank chart by copying the format of the chart in the example below, titled, “Thought Re-structuring Example.”  Fill in the chart you created. In the box titled, “Current Thought,” write down a sentence that describes your thought about what your parents are specifically saying or doing that is causing you to feel dejected. (For example, “My parents do not value my feelings.”)

2. In the “Current Feelings,” box, write down how it makes you feel. (For example, “angry, unimportant, and depressed.”).

3.  Fill in the box titled, “Current Behavior,” listing what behaviors you do because of your thoughts and feelings. (For example, “Cry and scream.”)

4. Now, think  about this same situation, assuming that you cannot get your parents to change at all. Knowing that the only way change can truly occur is if you change your thoughts and feelings, what would you say that your goal feeling would be?  In other words, how would you like to be feeling, if you could feel any positive feeling at all, about this same situation?  (For example, “Even though my parents are not valuing my feelings, my goal feelings would be to feel balanced, content, and happy anyway.”). Write your goal feelings in the box titled, “Goal Feelings.”

5. In order to reach your goal feelings, you will need to have a different thought to generate that feeling. What thought could you tell yourself about your parents behavior that could make you feel content and happy?  For example, you may know that your parents have their own mind and past experiences which are different from your mind and experiences. Therefore, they cannot think exactly like you just as you cannot think exactly like them. If you can understand and accept this, you will feel much better immediately.  (For example: “My parents do not value my feelings, because they have their own mind and experiences, just as I do. But I value my feelings. So I am going to acknowledge my feelings and manage them in healthy ways and not rely on my parents to change as a requirement for my happiness.”).  Write the new thought that you will need to have in order to generate your goal feelings in the box titled, “New Thought.”

6. What behavior do you think you would have if you believed this new thought, and felt the feelings of being balanced, content, and happy?  Write down the behavior in the box titled, “New Behavior.” (For example: Reading sastra, going for kirtan).

You can continue to use this thought re-structuring approach each time you are feeling dejected.

THOUGHT RE-STRUCTURING EXAMPLE

 

Current Thought Current Feelings Current Behavior
My parents do not value my feelings Angry, unimportant, dejected Cry and Scream

 

 

NEW Thought GOAL Feelings NEW Behavior
My parents do not value my feelings, because they have their own mind and experiences, just as I do. But I value my feelings. So I am going to acknowledge my feelings and manage them in healthy ways and not rely on my parents to change as a requirement for my happiness Balanced, content, happy Reading sastra,going for kirtan