Listening to others gives them a gift.

We can give people the gift of their dignity. We can help others just by the way we listen to them and speak with them. We can show them by our own trust that what they have to say is important and good.  Community is caring for people, but of course as soon as we start caring for people, we know that there are some  people who will just drive us up a wall. Some we will really like, because they think like us. Then we risk falling into a world of mutual flattery. We are all so much in need of affection that when somebody gives it to us we want to hold onto it. Then we say to the other  person, “You’re wonderful! Keep at it! Keep flattering me! You know, it’s nice.”   We’re like little cats who need to be caressed. We then begin to purr.”

But flattery doesn’t help anyone grow. It doesn’t bring freedom but rather closes people up in themselves,. We are attracted to certain people, and others put us off. We don’t get on well with them. They trigger off our anguish. Perhaps they remind us of our fathers and mothers who were to authoritarian or possessive.  Some people threaten us, others flatter us.  Some meetings are joyful, and others are painful.  When we talk about caring for people, then we  begin to see how difficult it can be. In community we are called to care for each member of the community. We can choose our friends but we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us whether in family or in community.”

-Jean Vanier : (Copyright) FROM BROKENNES TO COMMUNITY. (1992) Published by  Paulist Press. Page 38.

Comment

One of the great situations that arise in a Depressed Anonymous meeting is how we find ourselves reacting to fellow members in the fellowship. Vanier is right when he tells us that  sometimes certain people remind us of  people in our lives, past and present who irritate us no end  and make us want to scream. But there are those in the group that are attractive to us for reasons of being like us.   They are kind and loving like ourselves (we say to ourselves,  regardless if true or not).

The group process is one of discovering more about ourselves than learning about the others in the fellowship. If there is someone in the group that especially irritates could it be that they have struck a nerve in your own character and personality. Usually this is the case. Is it that we are looking in a mirror?

Well, you get the drift.  Read our Depressed Anonymous book and there you will find various avenues which can and will lead you to your best self. You will soon realize that somehow, you and I have been the cause of our depression. Now wait! Don’t get all shook up about what I just told you. We are not blaming myself or yourself for being depressed. But by living certain  ways, thinking certain ways, and  by unconsciously acting certain ways thought out our lives that we have set ourselves up for what we are feeling today. Life situations come along and gradually life’s  losses push us over the precipice, spiraling us down and into an abyss such that we have never suffered before. None of us chose to be depressed. All I could do to release me from the grip of sadness was to begin to find out how I got where I did and then how to get out of where I am now. I began to have a life makeover.  I began to take  responsibility in the way I made choices. No more was I the blamer, the complainer, the victim of circumstances. And  now that I am in a fellowship, and people listen to me and believe in me I am free. I have been given tools to use to unlock my prison of isolation  and negativity and slowly find a purpose and meaning for my daily life. You can find out how to do it( makeover) for yourself. Read  on!

Hugh

Read (c)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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