QUESTION: I am at a complete loss. It’s not the next level - it’s the same sad, lonely place I’ve inhabited since I was young. I feel no hope and I’m barely working or interacting with others. I don’t feel much like doing anything but crying. I tried to go to bed listening to hypnosis for "negative thinking" last night. I fell asleep during it then woke up today and cried. In your last post, you said that we hate ourselves. It hit me deep somewhere. I was doing everything I could to change and that comment confirmed that I haven’t made any progress. Where do I go from this bottom?

ANSWER: I am sorry that you are feeling such deep pain. As you said correctly, this pain has been with you for a long time. The good news, and there is always good news, is that the only place from such depth is up. That is not a give in, we have to put the hard work in, but if we can tolerate these brutal depths, then great heights are possible.

This is not something we can do alone. We all need help to move through these places that shackle our hearts shut. You need help, reach out. I beg and beseech you to reach out and not withdraw. You need to work with someone ASAP. A therapist or a real hypnotherapist, not some recording. The pain that you are feeling is the dam finally bursting. Hallefuckinglujah. Let it out, scream, and cry it out. That dam has to break in order for you to live. But no one is an island unto themselves, we all need help. Again, please reach out.

The point that I can not impress upon you enough is the amount of self-hate we ALL have. This is not something that belongs to you solely or the damage you have had to endure. We live in a culture where we are told, consciously and unconsciously, all day long that we are not good enough as we are. We are not skinny enough, fit enough, happy enough, popular enough, smell good enough; our teeth are not white enough. And those are just the voices the advertisers (whom hire some of the sharpest minds) shove down our throats. They play on all of our childhood issues. There IS a deep part of us that hates ourselves regardless of how wide a smile we plant on our face.

We spend every second of our waking state running away from ourselves: that is not an act of self-love. The depth of self-hate is a topic that has come up with many foreign teachers that I have sat with: their utter bewilderment at our collective self-hatred. But since we are steeped in it, we are blind to it. We can nod our head at the concept, but the brutality of it is too heinous to fully feel into until we are ready to do so.

Here are two questions for all of us to consider: do we just float along on the surface thinking we can will ourselves out of the underlying pain or do we allow ourselves to be dragged down to the bottom - finally sorting our shit out once and for all? Consciousness at this juncture will not allow us to cop out. We are ALL being forced to look at ourselves. We can do this with our own volition, or get dragged down brutally. There is no more room to act as if we are managing our lives swimmingly while we are drowning.

No one gets a free ride. We have to work our way back into consciousness. It’s like coming off of a long drug binge, getting sober is no picnic. We have all been hiding for so long that we are not even aware of how deeply we are divorced from who we are. We wear so many layers of masks, that we have no idea what and who lives under them all. The deep darkness is an invitation to stay and really finally be here: it is not a bouncer kicking us out. We stubbornly deny the one witness that can love us the way we need to be loved: our own self. Here is your invitation, how will you respond?