The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality – the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful, or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealousy, rage, disgust, greed, despair and grief…
Our access to the true self is possible only when we no longer have to be afraid of the intense emotional world of childhood. Once we have experienced and become familiar with this world, it is no longer strange and threatening. We no longer need to keep it hidden behind the prison walls of illusion. We know now who and what caused our pain, and it is exactly this knowledge that give us freedom at last from old pain.
Painful as it might be I do believe we reclaim our lives when we can finally acknowledge and own our true needs and reactions to pain and invalidation in the past. As adults we are no longer the helpless child, armed with knowledge and insight into our true selves we are in a strong position to find happiness and freedom from what hurts us. We can own the power to walk away, set boundaries and love ourselves through the pain.
2 thoughts on “On feelings, vitality, depression and the true self : Alice Miller”
Alice Miller was so insightful. I feel I learn so much from her anytime I read anything she has written.
She opened my eyes to so much. I thank a friend for introducing her to me back in 1993 when she was in therapy with an excellent therapist. I would like to keep sharing more here.
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