Letting Go with Guy Finley

Letting Go with Guy Finley

Why it Feels “Good” to Give in to Depression

posted by Guy Finley

Question: Why does it feel so good to give in to depression? And why is it so hard to see the truth that wallowing in sadness in fact does us no good?

Answer: We value negative states because of the strong sense of self we get from them. This may be very difficult for us to see, but the light of Truth will show us the freeing facts. No one wants to believe that he or she values things like self-pity, anger, and depression. We would insist we don’t, and as evidence we point to the fact that we fight against them, but the struggle gives us a false sense of life and importance. It focuses attention on us and makes us feel like the center of a great deal of activity. The more we struggle, the more valuable these states become, because the more interesting and exciting they make us feel. We never feel ourselves so strongly as when we are furious, or hurt, or depressed. Of course, this self is a created self, a false self. But it feels real, and that’s why we cling to it. The power in the state is that by giving it our life, it feeds back to us a false sense of life and power. And as a result, we miss out on the Real Life we could experience if we were not filling ourselves with the false. 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment holly manning

    I agree with guy. Last night i found myself in this state of mind, Its an attention grabber to others around you, only wanting attention, even if its negative attention.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Worriesome Heart

    I am feeling really down today. I am trying to fight it… but I am so afraid I am being a fool and that my life is still a big fat lie. Perhaps I am down,because I am watching a movie, “In the Company of Men” and reflecting about how callous some people can be. How do some people “not feel” anything when spewing bold face lies for no reason other than that they can? I need to snap out of it… but am finding it difficult today.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kate


    My name is Kate and I’m the moderator for Guy Finley’s blog here on Beliefnet. I just saw your post come across and wanted to encourage you to persist with your efforts to watch as these dark states try to take you over. I was just thinking that what you mention about that movie is a direct parallel to what these “dark inner voices” tell us — they spin lies that we believe, and then our mood follows their negative, downward spiral. But you can “snap out of it” just like you say, by coming back into your body, into the present moment and simply remember that you have the right to choose what you give your attention to. You can “walk away” from dark thoughts anytime you wish. In a talk Guy gave once he gave the exercise to say to yourself “I’m not where I want to be” anytime you found yourself wandering into depression or anxiety, etc. And regarding the callous acts of others, you may find some helpful commentary in this Q&A on Injustice that was recently posted on Guy’s public website:


    I hope this helps!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Worry Not

    Reach out to those that can and want to help. Roller coaster emotions will tear you up inside. Spend time reading Guy or Eckhart to understand the why’s as to anxious thought and how to be free of them.. or at least take the pain out of them and see those moments for what they are.. an unconscious self.. asleep to all the beauty life has to offer.. People care… I do.. Peace…. :)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Worriesome Heart

    Thank you Kate, and “Worry Not”. Reading the articles and commentary does seem to give me a bit of inner strength. It just seems so difficult somedays.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lessermystery

    I’m not a person who’s prone to depression, but it has arisen within the last 5 or so days. I do not have to suffer from it for long before I start contemplating suicide. I have no idea how people who suffer from chronic depression cope, I know that I could not.

    Anyhoo, I’d do just about anything to get out of depression, so these last 5 or so days I’ve been fighting it tooth and nail, but the more I fought it, the worse it got.

    Then I thought, “Why not just give in? Why fight it?”

    So I stopped fighting it. And now it’s gone, just like that.

    I did have to go through a bit of a self talk. I had to put the latest comeuppance into perspective. So the self talk, along with just letting myself experience the pain worked itself out rather quickly after that. Within minutes.

    If only it could be that easy for chronic sufferers, but for occasional sufferers, becomming aware of what’s depressing you, letting yourself feel the pain rather than fighting it, and gaining a little perspective seems pretty beneficial.

    Anxiety and phobias have been more a problem for me than depression has been, so I know that chronic sufferers have a complicated road to navigate.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lessermystery

    Forget what I said about the depression being gone. When I decided not to fight it, and when I reviewed the reasons for it, I got some temporary respite.

    Today it’s back, but I’m not fighting it. I realize it’s going to take more than five minutes to integrate the changes that have triggered this depression.

    Obviously I don’t like these changes and right now they block my view of the future.

    I’m pretty sure though, since i’ve decided to integrate these changes, that I will recover from this depression in a timely fashion.

    Also, since I’m not fighting it, and since I know the cause, I doubt I will suffer as much.

  • http://www.guyfinley.org Guy Finley

    Hi lessermystery — Kate with Guy’s Life of Learning Foundation here. You may find these additional Q&A’s on our main website helpful:


    Persist with your wish to be an observer of your negative states (rather than a slave to them) and you will slowly find they no longer have the same hold over you they once did!

    Best wishes,

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lessermystery

    Hi Kate, I wasn’t notified of your response, so I’m a bit late. Thanks for your recommendations, I will check them out. I was right, I did get through my depression in a pretty timely fashion.

    All the Best,

  • Ficus

    Every person with depression is not some teenager hoping to get attention. Depression makes no one feel exciting or interesting. It is the very opposite. For many with depression, the last thing they want is “a great deal of activity” and attention focused on them.

  • guyfinley

    Hi Ficus,

    Kate from Life of Learning here, I work closely with Guy and help to manage his blog here on Beliefnet.

    The type of attention Guy is referring to is one’s own (unconscious) attention on oneself. If a person will do some honest self-examination when they’re immersed in depression, they’ll see that they can’t stop thinking about it… how bad they feel, how much they don’t like what they’re feeling, what’s to blame for it, etc. The more they think about it, the more they stay absorbed in it. They are the center of their own attention. As counterintuitive as it may seem, there is a part of them that is feeding on the depression as it keeps them engaged in thinking about it. That nature is definitely interested in keeping the depression alive and activated for its own stimulation.

    The more clearly we start to see these parts of us that don’t act in our true best interests, the more determined we become to stop feeding them, by consciously withdrawing our attention from what’s hurtful and bringing it back to the present moment, where no harm is being done.

    I hope this helps clarify these ideas a bit more.

    Warm regards,


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