Practical Spirituality - Ending Depression Through Nurturing Self-esteem

John Gilmore

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One of the root causes, according to many Psychologists and Dr. Kendall Ronin in his Book, On Being Love’s Warrior, is lack of self esteem. Many doctors have said this. Many religious professionals and educators have also said this, and have worked for decades trying to develop plans and techniques to help children develop self esteem. There hope is that the children can then participate the educational system without difficulty. The ultimate hope is that they can participate in our hierarchical system, and have a fair chance to prosper. The problem, however, is not a lack of self-esteem, it is an overabundance of wrong self-esteem.

The system creates conditions, repeatedly, where we must compete against each other in order to be recognized as good, better, and best. For every winner in the system, for every one percent of the winners, there are ninety nine percent of people who are losers. They, of course are not losers compared to those who are lower on the scale than they. Esteem is given for being better than the person on the lower rung, and this esteem is somehow replaces or overrules our own self-esteem.

Somehow we accept the definitions of those outside of us, instead of the deeper knowledge of the self that is gained through mystical and spiritual experience. These experiences, not religion, per se, but true connection with the divine, remind us of who we really are. They lift our self esteem by showing us the artificiality of a world where we gain esteem through performance only, instead of the content of our character. By content of our character I mean, by what we really are in our hearts. From this sense of being we often perform better, but not for the system. We don’t do the tasks outlined to for us that are used to gain esteem from others, we perform tasks meaningful for us. This performing, thought it may seem selfish, is actually liberating and empowering for us and for the rest of the community because it comes from a place of love.

It is liberating and empowering for us because we are allowed to use our creative power to open ourselves up like a flower. We are allowing ourselves to reflect the presence of the Divine in everything that we do. Instead of working to keep a hierarchical machine like system in place, we are working to heal our friends, family members and community from feelings of separation that come from this machine like system.

Through our actions we are spreading light and hope to those who are living in the shadow of those who have claimed that they are just better. It is time to let them go. To cut the strings of the balloons that we are supposed to worship so they can just float away in their own greatness, and so we can live meaningful lives, partaking of the true riches of love, self fulfillment, and community. We can do this by modeling our lives and our behavior after those who love, until we ourselves become loving caring individuals who can spread our caring attitudes and behaviors throughout the community.

If you have ever been down or depressed for some reason and you don’t know why, it is important to explore your idea of self-esteem. Take a few moments to consider whether you are lacking self-esteem, or feeling esteemed by others. The two may seem very similar, but are completely different. If you are experiencing the self-esteem that comes from being esteemed by others, you may have just discovered why you are depressed, or are always fighting against depression. If your self-esteem really comes from being esteemed by others it will be fruitless. Every day you will be provided with images of great people in positions that you can never attain. As we know, another definition for depression is learned helplessness. The very nature of our system teaches us helplessness. If this is the case in your life, it is time for you to take all of the energy that you have been using outside of yourself to be esteemed, and use it as the Shaolin suggest; use that energy on the inside of yourself to find out what you really want, and to prepare yourself to be able to get whatever that is, starting wherever you are.

When you have learned to do this, to place value on the quality of your acquisition (what you would like to do) instead of the quantity of your acquisition (how many people praise you for doing it), you will carve your little niche and live out your dreams, opening up like a beautiful flower reflecting the essence of the Divine and the Beauty of life. Doing what you would like, if it is healthy and life producing, and continuing to do so aside from receiving success or failure, is one of the best cures for depression that has ever been known. In the power of the spiritual warrior, you can do it. You can do it.

Dr. John Gilmore is a writer. Dr. Gilmore has a D. Integrating Work and Spirituality. Dr. Gilmore is a Martial Arts instructor, a certified Reiki Master Teacher, Reflexologist and Massage therapist. His degrees are in Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality. For more articles like these or information about some of Dr. Gilmore’s books or Cyber Circle visit

Journal on Practical Spirituality, Life, Work and Spiritualty, by J. W. Gilmore at


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