Being depressed or anxious can often limit our abilities to accept compliments, encouragement, or affirmation from others. Sure, everyone likes a pat on the back sometimes but we don’t want to feel too good — we’re depressed! And we like it. So here are two ways in which you can keep yourself truly miserable when someone affirms you and your talents:
1. Be Desperate for Affirmation From Others
Make a T-shirt with a target on the back and write “Pat Here” in the bullseye. You should alter your posture to feature the target any time you do something really awesome. For example, if you wrote a stellar poem, give it to your first affirmer and while they read it, face your back towards them, slowly arching it and peering over your shoulder. Lock eyes with them with the intensity of a thousand stallions but make the face of a puppy begging for table scraps.
If you want to go above and beyond, put an arrow on the front of the shirt pointing to your face and underneath write “Compliment Here.” And while you’re at it, orchestrate a parade with yourself as the finale in the golden chair like Santa Claus.
Now here’s how this tactic makes you miserable: when you are constantly and desperately expecting affirmation from others, no compliment nor encouragement will ever be enough. You will always be wanting more, desperate for another hit of encouragement, like a crazed crack-addict. And because no affirmation will be enough, at some point, you will conclude that you suck at life, quit whatever it is you were doing, return to your comfortable hole, and thus become miserable.
Plus, by doing this, you will actually suffocate your own enjoyment of your accomplishments. Bonus!
2. Completely Ignore Affirmation From Others
Another approach to staying miserable despite the threat of encouragement is to do your very best to ignore whatever positive affirmations are chucked your way. One way to do this is to close your eyes, put your hands over your ears, and sing a boisterous rendition of Creep by Radiohead. Putting this into practice will surely do the trick and, as a bonus, it will transform a positive interaction into painfully awkward contact with another human. The person who dared to encourage you will likely exit promptly and will be gone by the time you open your eyes on your resolving note. This will allow you to further isolate yourself from community and keep doors shut that would otherwise be beneficial to your confidence and self-esteem.
Certainly this plan will bring misery as you remain loyal to the demeaning voices in your head above anyone else’s claims of your value. No matter what good things your loved ones say about you, just keep echoing the words of Radiohead: “I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo.” Because you have successfully shut out the positive voices in your life, you will conclude that no one likes you nor thinks you’re good at anything. Even though your conclusion is likely not true, you can convince yourself that it is because you only listen to yourself anyway, right? And that’s how you become miserable; ignore external affirmation and embrace internal deprecation!
These are two surefire strategies to ensure you remain miserable. You can do them both or just focus on one or the other but I recommend you do at least one of these if you want to successfully maintain your depression and anxiety. Certainly, don’t seek the balance between caring too much and too little about how others react to your accomplishments. Caring too much is the key to obsession and caring too little allows you to continue hiding with your beloved depression. It would be awful if you actually accepted encouragement from others as a simple means of love, appreciation, and motivation, nothing more and nothing less. You would probably be a lot less miserable.
PS. In the slim chance you didn’t catch it, that’s a lot of sarcasm. Don’t do those things. Do the opposite. You don’t have to be miserable anymore. A good strategy is to accept the compliment by simply saying “Thanks”. It is a gift of love, appreciation, and motivation.
Have thoughts? Tweet me @DaddingDepressd or comment below!