I am a big believer that people need reassurance. As I've thought a lot about depression over the last few years, I have come to believe that often depression stems from a lack of reassurance.
I had the opportunity last night to practice on my daughter. I planned to drop my two daughters off at gymnastics and then run some books back to the library. As I was saying goodbye, I noticed my youngest daughter was sincerely upset. She didn't want to stay at gymnastics, probably especially because I was leaving. I tried to reassure her that she would be all right. Her sister would be with her and I would be back before her class got out. But it wasn't enough. Knowing that my daughter's feelings and comfort are more important than a trip to the library, I asked her if she would like me to stay. She nodded. So I reassured her that it was all right. I was not leaving. I told her I would stay and sit and watch her in her class. I walked over to a table and got out a chair and plopped myself in it. "I'm staying right here," I said. Still a little hesitant, but convinced I was staying, she joined her class, waving to me through the window as she passed.
Today I had an experience where I was upset. I began crying, sinking into a pool of despair, a pool I've swam in before, remembering experiences in my past that were not pleasant, feeling caught up in times that were so lonely. After sobbing into my hands for a minute, I had an idea. "I'ts okay," I told myself. "You don't have to go back there. Ever. I'm sorry you had to go through that. We know now that's a pool we don't want to swim in. Everything is going to be okay. I'm not leaving."
Maybe it sounds crazy. If it makes you feel better, I don't actually say these things out loud. :)
Another thing I want to point out is that crying is okay. Sometimes, when I'm in that place of reassuring self talk, I say, "It's okay to cry. Cry as long as you need to. Let it all out. We'll move forward together when you're ready." It's been amazing to see how much better I am able to control my emotions when I give myself permission to indulge in them. Fascinating.
Reassuring self talk is great, but it is even better to be surrounded by people who love to give reassurance. People that will stay with you when things get tough. People that do not judge. People who care.
Galatians 6:2 says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
It's also important to remember that at times, we are the ones who need someone to bear our burdens with us.