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Giving Up: Have You Given Up on Yourself?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
August 17, 2009

Have you tried everything you know to do and you still feel miserable? Don't give up - discover the cause and how to heal misery and depression.

giving up"I feel like giving up," Emma told me in our first phone session. "I've worked and worked on myself and I'm still miserable. I've had years of therapy and I still feel unbearably depressed. Nothing is working."

"It sounds to me like you are abandoning yourself."

"What do you mean? I take good care of myself. I eat well, exercise daily, work hard and take care of finances - in fact I'm doing really well financially - and I pamper myself. I get massages, get my nails done, and buy beautiful clothes. I have a nice house, a caring husband, and two wonderful children. I DO take care of myself, which is why I feel like giving up. I don't get why you are telling me that I'm abandoning myself."

"What are you feeling right now?"

"Miserable and angry at you for not understanding."

"Are you willing to take responsibility for being the cause of your anger and misery?"

"What do you mean?"

"Are you willing to know that you are the cause of your misery and anger and to learn what you are doing to cause it?"

"Okay, but I don't know what to do."

"Emma, do you have any kind of spiritual connection?"

"No, I don't believe in God."

"I'd like you to imagine your own higher self - an older, wiser version of you. Are you willing to do that?"


"Right now, just take a deep breath and imagine that you are sitting with a very unhappy child. Focus in your heart and imagine that your older, wiser self is with you. Ask her to bring compassion into your heart for your unhappy inner child. Find a place in you that really wants to learn about what you are thinking and doing that is causing your inner child to be so unhappy. Now ask your inner child out loud, 'What am I thinking or doing that is causing you to be so unhappy?'"

Emma did this.

"Now allow your feeling self, which is your inner child, to answer you. Move into your unhappiness and allow that part of you to speak."

Emma's child: "You don't even know I exist. You never pay any attention to me. You never listen to me. You judge me all the time. You are constantly telling me I'm not doing things right and that I'm not good enough."

Emma was stunned. "Wow! That's right! I am always judging myself. Is this what is causing my misery?"

"Yes, it's part of it. Not only are you judging yourself, but then you ignore how you feel when you judge yourself. Then you project out on to others the fact that you are judging yourself and not listening to or understanding yourself. You got angry at me for not understanding you, which is a projection of you not understanding you. These are all ways you are abandoning yourself, which is what is causing your unhappiness. Now, ask your Guidance - your older wiser self - what you need to do so that your inner child starts to feel loved by you."

Emma asks. "She says that I need to stop judging myself."

"Emma, I suggest that you start to notice your judgments without judging yourself for judging yourself. You cannot stop something that you are not aware of doing. So just start to notice."

Emma did start to notice, which enabled her to gradually become less judgmental of herself. As Emma learned and practiced the Inner Bonding process, she stopped abandoning herself and learned to treat herself with love.

"You know what?" she said to me in a phone session. "I feel joy for the first time in my life!"

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.

Photo by Ivan Karasev


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