An Important Reminder About Your Skills



Depression has a funny way of giving you constant reminders about your inadequacies. It whispers these lies in your ear, waiting for its moment to strike. The worst part of it is that you believe them. You believe that you are inferior to others, that you are misunderstood, that nothing good will ever happen in your life.

People are unique. Everyone has a toolkit of skills and talents that they can use any way they choose. No one’s toolkit is empty. There is always something there.

Sometimes we forget about the things that we are good at. Sometimes we ignore them because they don’t conform to the expectations of ourselves or others. Often, we downplay them so much that we forget that they are even there.

Common phrases to watch out for:

“So-and-so is better than me at painting. I can never paint like them.”

“This person is a better writer than me. I am just a hack.”

“This other person always comes up with the best ideas. It’s hard for me to find solutions.”

“So-and-so is more successful than I am. My ideas and thoughts could never be as valuable as him/her.”

And it goes on and on. We can easily sniff out the assets that others possess and yet fail to extend that same generosity to ourselves.


A Brief Story

A friend named John (name changed for privacy reasons) had been feeling off for the past couple weeks. He was exhausted and unmotivated, exhibiting the classic depression-symptoms.

I’ll keep things brief and dwindle this down to his current problem: his job. John was caught in the middle of two managers, feuding over how the company had to be run (the company in question is fairly small, relying on a few projects to keep going). John had been asked to oversee the day-to-day operations of a major project.

He felt lost in the middle of the constant child-like bickering, as if he was being overlooked. His efforts were never appreciated, and he would often receive a lot of criticism should something go wrong. All of this stress was building up. It got to the point where he began to give up.

Now, John felt like a failure. It was understandable where this came from because he was focusing on pleasing both managers and striving to keep the project afloat.

But, that wasn’t his job.

John couldn’t see that he was naturally charismatic. People flocked to him constantly! He had dismissed this as just another insignificant trait that would only be useful for making new friends.

John was also very smart. He held all of this information and bits of trivia in his brain that it would amaze anyone who witnessed it. Again, this was dismissed as nothing more than “useless information”.

Since some of his skills were not being utilized, it just meant that he was not doing that which would make him happy. Being yelled at by two bosses is never a fun environment, but it provided the perfect excuse to re-evaluate himself and figure out who he wanted to be and the types of things that would re-energize him.


What This Means for You

I like to say that a person who is depressed is just a person who has been forced to live a life of repression. It’s no one’s fault. It happened. Now, we need to learn to give ourselves permission to do what we want to do.

So today, I want you to think about the things that you are good at.

No, you can’t say “I’m not good at anything”. Push past that instinct and really try.

I’ll give you the opportunity to cheat a little because I understand how difficult this really can be. Take a quick MBTI test. There’s a good free one here:

I’m sure we all know about the Meyers-Briggs personality test. Just try to see if anything resonates with you. If there are things you disagree with, that’s fine. It isn’t 100% accurate.


If you feel like trying out a paid strengths test, you can go to:

This gives you a breakdown of your top 5 skills and tries to analyze how you think and what success means to you.


If you have another website or another way to try to discover your strengths, please feel free to use that. They give you a chance to take a glimpse into your skills toolkit.


Why This Matters

It is important to focus on the things that you are good at. It is important to nurture your skills. It takes time to develop and cultivate them into something that you can use, so don’t get frustrated.

Depression will tell you that you have nothing to offer. Sometimes, we need a reminder that we are all capable individuals, just stuck in a temporary bind. The key word is “temporary”. The little depression monster will disappear. You will feel better about who and what you are.

Utilize your strengths and turn it into something spectacular. I believe that you can do it. I know that it is there within all of us. We, as depression conquerors, have an edge over everyone else. We have the opportunity to explore who we are and make daring changes to better ourselves.

Closing Remarks:

Never apologize for the things that bring you happiness.

Never undermine the things that you are good at. It makes you who you are.

Always be open to new ideas and experiences. If you make mistakes, so be it. That’s how we learn.




Understanding the Endless Cycle

Many liken depression to a disease or an illness. The only difference is that unlike a medical disease, the “cure” for depression is subjective. It requires constant work. As I have stated before, the only way to “beat” depression is to change the way you think. With a little bit of effort, this should be somewhat achievable.

Have you ever had a day that started out so well, only to have it fall apart within the following few hours? You were feeling okay; great even. Then, something suddenly happens. You hear a passing comment that reminds you of all that is wrong or see something that sends your mood tumbling down again. It happens so easily. So quickly.


This is where you must step in to break the pattern.


Understand the Emotion

The first thing that you must do is to recognize what you are feeling in that moment. Is it loneliness? Anger? Guilt? Fear? Whatever it is, make a note of it. Describe it. Add as many details as you can.


By unleashing the emotion out on paper (or on your phone or computer), you make it tangible. It’s no longer something lurking in the back of your mind. You can see it there in black and white. It has now become easier to deal with.


Stopping the Downward Spiral

There are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from sinking. Here are some of the tried and tested methods that have worked for me in the past.

  1. Talk to Yourself – this gets as easier with practice. Just have a simple discussion of why you feel this way. Try to see if there is something that you can say to make yourself feel better. If it helps, imagine that you are talking to a friend instead. What would you say to them if they were in your position? After all, it is generally easier to give advice to someone else.
  2. Create some Affirmations – This is just a fancy way of saying “be your own cheerleader”. Repeat things that you need to hear. It will seem silly at first but stick with it. It can be something simple like, “I am strong”, “I am loved”, “I am better than this”, “Everything is fine”. Repeat them. Say them in front of a mirror if you can.
  3. Take a Step Back – We normally get so caught up with the future, wondering why we don’t have a million dollars or a fancy house or a better life (this is just an exaggeration). Look back. What have you overcome? What steps are you taking now? Are you doing anything to help yourself? If yes, then now is the time to appreciate that effort. Reward yourself. You are not the same person that you were a year ago.
  4. Talk to Someone – because after all, we all need to vent every now and then.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positivity – okay, that was cringe-worthy. I agree with you. Basically, try to see if you can plant these little reminders around your everyday life. Get a poster with a motivating quote, set your desktop background to something that makes you feel inspired. The possibilities are endless. When you feel down, use it as a mood boost.

For instance, here are two things that I own with


I have a daily planner with this right on the front. It’s a basic quote, but sometimes it can be a helpful reminder. I happened to find this at Hallmark while searching for a birthday card.



It reads “A certain darkness is needed to see the brightest stars”. Yes, it may be a bit of a cliche, but the galaxy background in the back with this quote seems to work! For all of you Canadians out there, I got it from Chapters.

Over time, it will be easier to prevent yourself from entering another depressive cycle. These are little things are doing something even greater – training your mind.


Going Forward 

Take a look at the list of emotions/situations that are causing you to slip further down. Is there something that you can do today to ease their power? Make a plan for yourself. Tackle it by slowly chipping away at the feeling.

What the hell are you talking about?

The goal is to give your positivity some fuel. If you are working on tackling the problem areas, you are able to appease the little voice in your head that is telling you that everything is wrong. You now have proof of your achievements.

For instance, if the emotion is loneliness, think about what you can do to add social activities to your calendar. Take a class, start a hobby, see if there are events in your area. Just try to put yourself out there. When that nagging feeling returns, you can tell yourself that you have made strides to have a richer social life. You may not be where you want, but you are getting there.


We are taking this one baby step at a time. There is no need to rush into anything.


Redefining Belief and Reigniting Hope

Belief is a powerful tool. It has the ability to shape your actions, mold your words, and reshape your life. It allows you to breathe when you need it most.

Before we continue, I just want to make it clear that I am not referring to religious belief. 

Even if you are a religious person, please consider the alternative view that I am presenting.

So what are you talking about?

I am referring to belief in yourself. Just hear me out because believing that you will change, that things will get better and that you will be stronger is more important than any other advice that I (or anyone else) can give you. After all, only you can make change happen.

You may be at a point in your life where you believe that this is an impossibility. There has been a string of poor decisions, insecurity, and doubt. This is the past you. The actions that have been taken cannot be undone. It is in the past, where it belongs. We are now looking onward.

We are constantly evolving by nature. We are required to adapt, to change, to grow. I want you to ignore all that you may have said or done because that person is no longer you. What you experience today may not endure into the future.

In the words of Ms. Lauryn Hill from the song, “Everything is Everything”:

“What is meant to be will be.
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually”

I apologize for quoting a song, but it’s Lauryn Hill.


How do you instill belief in yourself?

One thing that works is having a conversation with yourself. It doesn’t have to be in public. Just tell yourself that where you are today is not where you want to be in the future. Talk through your goals (if you don’t have any, try to come up with a few). Imagine a happier life.

Every now and then, talk to yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself that you are going to be strong today. Nothing is going to bring you down today. Today, you feel great. Tell yourself anything that you need to hear.

Think of it this way, if your child is in pain, what would you say to them to make them feel better (no, it doesn’t have to be your child, it could be your friend, a close loved one, etc.). You wouldn’t let them suffer.

A funny thing will happen. You will begin to believe your words. It doesn’t happen right away and you will still have bad days, but, you will see just a bit more positivity shining down on you. And isn’t that worth the effort?

I dare you: Go to the bathroom. Right now. Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself that you feel great and that you are strong. Add in any bit of encouragement that you need. You aren’t fat. You aren’t stupid. You aren’t too thin. You are beautiful.

Did you do it? If so, good job!



Taking Charge

You must learn to take responsibility for your part in whatever happened in your past. This is a vital step. Whatever happened in your past, whatever caused you to be where you are, there are actions that you have taken to aid your current predicament.

Wait. How does this help me? This is just making me feel worse! 

By taking responsibility for your part in whatever happened in the past, allows you to gain control. You are back in the driver’s seat. What could you do differently now? What did you learn? Are there things that you are doing now that you can change?

Don’t use this to assign more guilt to yourself. Analyze the actions as if they were done by another person. Always remember to be kind to yourself while you do this.

This is a situation that many of us may find ourselves in. My parents had a vested interest in the career path that I should take. I felt compelled to listen to them and alter my plans to make them happy. This went on for a long time – sacrificing my happiness for their expectations of me. 
I blamed them for putting me in that position. I blamed them for my failures because after all, it wasn’t what wanted to do. It fostered a feeling of resentment. 
Looking back, I realize that I never truly had a long, open, discussion of what I wanted to do. I just went with their plans because it was what I thought was expected of me. I could have changed that. 
That action was taken because I was naïve. I didn’t think that I had the power to change the situation. Now, I do. I can speak to anyone who has expectations of me so that I don’t fall victim to their plans. 

In a similar manner, you are in charge of you. Try to retake control.


The Function of Hope

Hope allows us to carry on. It paints dreams of the future. Endless ideas of what can be. What is possible to be.

Once you have instilled some semblance of belief in yourself, hope will naturally enter your life. Hope is a by-product. You will be able to shift your mind ever so slightly so that you can welcome positivity. You may even be able to look at life with new eyes. See the beauty before you.

I apologize again. I realize that I am getting carried away. But I have faith that you too can experience the joy that this brings. Even if it is momentary.