Please go check out one of these and begin practicing. You'll gain confidence in your ability to work with your mind in this way. Practice will help you get better--but perfection isn't achievable. We'll use this practice of mindfulness throughout the following chapters. In the next chapter, we'll talk about the Commitment stage. It's one of the chief issues in your work with perfectly hidden depression, and we'll discuss the potential pros and cons of going forward with the risk. Commitment involves a promise or an agreement between you and someone or something else--commitment to marriage, commitment to a job or a cause, commitment to your kids. It's something that's important to you. It matters enough that you feel an extra responsibility or push to engage fully, to feel deeply connected, to be willing to give the time and effort it takes to honor that commitment. Your work on perfectly hidden depression is a commitment to yourself. This is the conversation that you have with yourself about everything that's going on in your life. You have just read a sentence from this book; what you are thinking about it is your internal dialogue. Humans have a need to "organize" everything, including one another, into groups, subgroups, classes, teams, functions, and the like. We tend to categorize ourselves and others under certain headings or labels. I repeat: We attach labels, not just to other people, but to ourselves. Whether these labels are wrong or right, fair or unfair, they have a powerful influence on the perception of self. As you will see, you live to the labels that you apply to yourself. These are things that you have come to believe at such a deeply ingrained, overlearned level that they become automatic. Tapes are values, beliefs, and expectancies that constantly "play" in your head and program you to behave in a certain fashion. They often influence your behavior without your awareness because they can be so overlearned that they occur at lightning speed.

As contrasted with a label ("I'm a loser"), a tape has a context: As you go into a job interview, you say to yourself, I never get the good job. When you're trying to get the cute girl or guy to go out with you, you're saying to yourself, I never win, because I'm never interesting. It should be clear, then, that the particular danger--and promise--of a tape is that it has the power to set you up for a specific outcome. Often that outcome can be defined by the beliefs, thoughts, and mental rules that bind you to these labels. I call these fixed beliefs/limiting beliefs. In certain esoteric schools, the control of language and emotions (they are closely linked) was cited as a method of advancing the mind and conscious behaviour. They knew then what you need to remember more often. Choice is freedom. A suicidal person is robbed of choices. They cannot see any other option. Devoid of choices other than the final one, as far as they perceive. To let go of life. The methods used by the esoteric schools were harsher than my proposal. Those schools were looking to remove words as common as the',and', or I', as examples. <a href=''>My</a> proposal will relate to the realm of negative thoughts. <a href=''>Not</a> to oppose them and banish them, as many self-development models recommend, but to become aware of them and encourage an alternative using the age-old tool of pain. <a href=''>Pain</a> is our greatest teacher. <a href=''>When</a> you can recognise that, you will advance a great deal in your path to enlightenment. <a href=''>If</a> you failed to omit the prescribed ordinary/common (not negative) words in the esoteric schools, you would take a knife and cut your arm. <a href=''>It</a> gave a visual display of your success or failure. <br /><br /><a href=''>In</a> my view, this is totally unnecessary. <a href=''>It</a> is encouraging to know that it is our human nature to be drawn to the light. <a href=''>As</a> Arthur Eddington wrote in his book The Nature of the Physical World,Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead, and the purpose surging in our nature responds.' Indeed, when we heed the calls of our inner sparkle, we are ushered into the light. When we bravely take steps ahead, we begin. We needn't see the whole staircase and know exactly how we'll climb it - we just need to take the first step! At all times, we should honour ourselves as co-creators of our own deeply rewarding and soulful journeys. When we have a big dream that emanates from our spirit, we do ourselves a great service to fully explore all possibilities and not be discouraged by others' aspersions or disapproval. Indeed, in the words of Albert Einstein, `Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds'! Most of us are busy with the demands of our daily lives and forget to stop, take a break, and look at the larger picture: What are my values? Does the way I spend my time reflect what's most important to me? What do I hope to accomplish in my life? Unfortunately, sometimes it takes an extraordinary event, such as a life-threatening illness or the loss of a loved one, to focus our attention on the meaning of life. I urge you not to wait for these types of moments to set meaningful goals for yourself, but to make this a normal part of your everyday life. And more important, I encourage you to try to enjoy the day-to-day process of reaching them. What qualifies as a meaningful goal? It depends on the individual, but, in general the goal must be important to you, engage your strengths and talents, and contribute to a higher purpose. Setting a goal that may be important to someone else--say your spouse or a friend--but holds little value to you won't help. Internally motivated and directed goals allow you to focus your time and energy productively. For example, you may decide to go back to college to get your teaching degree during midlife. You're not making this decision because your spouse is embarrassed by your lack of a college degree; rather, you've always wanted to be a teacher, your children are all grown up, and you now have the time and money to go back to school.

You will probably be a great student, working hard and persevering through the tough classes, because getting your degree and becoming a teacher is important to you. The same guidelines that work for setting a weight loss or exercise goal also apply to setting life goals. That is, your goals should be practical and attainable. And they should fit your talents. Otherwise your chances of success are limited. For example, setting a goal to open your own restaurant when you don't have money or practical skills isn't feasible: it'll likely lead to more frustration than satisfaction. On the other hand, working hard to achieve something that plays to your strengths and is important to you--something that reflects your true self and the source of your true passions--leads to personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. In order to heal, your behaviors need to change. But if commitment to change becomes another thing to do perfectly, you're much more likely to quit the whole process if you make a mistake or run into difficulty. To help with this, let's redefine "commitment" as "intention." Commitment involves a pledge or promise and a sense of duty. It can easily grow into a rigid measure of success or failure, as with the thought, I've made this commitment and I'm sticking to it. Intention is an aim or a purpose but is innately more flexible. Intention brings with it a sense of soft focus. It's a choice to commit--but with a little wiggle room. You can absorb fresh information along the way and determine if your intention needs to change. Fixed beliefs are beliefs you have about yourself, other people, and the circumstances in your life that have been repeated so long that they have become entrenched; they are highly resistant to change. Limiting beliefs are beliefs that you have specifically about yourself that cause you to limit what you reach for, and therefore, what you achieve. The problem with such beliefs is that they cause us to close the data window. For example, having grown up in a hostile, abusive home, you might conclude, "I'm trash." Result? Slam!

goes the data window to any conflicting information. The mechanism through which you receive new data goes into "confirm mode": with that radar we talked about earlier picking up a very small sample, a select few bits of information, namely, only things that confirm what you already believe--"I'm trash." You don't listen to contrary, positive information, because it is simply impossible for you to believe. Such is the power of the fictional self. Life can be cruel and confusing, causing even the most balanced, focused, and well-intended person to lose his or her way. You may have at one time lived with passion and excitement, clearly recognizing your strengths, gifts, values, and other unique characteristics--only to have your experiences in life blur your vision. Any number of things may have affected your perception of self. It wasn't necessarily the death of a loved one. Maybe your hope, optimism, and innocence died as a result of tragic and painful experiences in your childhood. Perhaps it happened later in life, when someone you loved and sought companionship from rejected you. Perhaps it occurred even later, when despite your hard work, a business or marriage failed. You may even have felt separated from God when tragedy inexplicably filled your life. Pain is the best teacher. I like to think of pain as the Mother of Change. Pain is a good thing. It is the feedback we need to stop doing what we are and do something different. We each possess a perfect system that tells us we should change what we are doing/thinking/feeling. Think of it like a radar system. I am not just talking about pain in the sense of physical. The pain of depression, anxiety and all emotions we term as negative. The system is informing you that you are off track.