Dain Heer understands all to well what it means to have feelings of despair, to be without hope, to not want to go on. Fifteen years ago he had what looked like a perfect life – a good career, a lovely partner – but privately he felt miserable. “I decided that if I didn’t feel differently in six months I was going to kill myself,” Heer reveals. Luckily for Heer he met motivational author Gary Douglas who showed him that he had possibilities. “Giving someone the opportunity to see themselves as valuable and capable – that they have a gift to offer the world – is the most powerful thing you can do for another human being,” says Heer.
Heer now travels the world running workshops on how to transform feelings of worthlessness and despair and find meaning in life. He believes that despair often comes from unmet expectations of how things should be. “Most people grow up in a society based on judgement, with a very clear picture of what is right and wrong. This causes us to hold expectations and other points of view about how life, and we, should be. When those expectations aren’t met, we believe it is because we have failed.” Heer says it’s these feelings of failure that can eventually lead to despair. “Many people buy into the dream that if you work hard enough, you can own a home and have a secure, successful life. However this ideal leaves many people thinking that if they haven’t succeeded in this dream, or if they have achieved the dream and still feel adrift, then there’s something wrong with them.
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
“Some people can also find that they don’t fit into what society expects of them, they are the square pegs trying to fit unsuccessfully into the round holes”, says Heer. “Rather than acknowledging their own unique gifts, they see this difference as being wrong”. Heer encourages people to see the success in themselves by asking questions such as, “What if there is nothing wrong with me?” and “What if everything about me is right, how can I contribute to this world?” Heer says it’s important to recognise how we are different, and to see that this difference allows us to contribute something unique to the world. “We need to realise that we are not wrong and bad if we don’t fit into the box that everyone else did,” says Heer.
Heer also recommends that when dealing with feelings of despair that you look at the source of any judgemental ideas. “So many of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs come from an outside source”, says Heer. He has found that many people who have feelings of despair have a family member or friend or someone in authority who is judgemental and then they take this judgement on board as true. “Your point of view creates your reality, not the other way,” says Heer. Once we have a certain idea about ourselves, whether it’s good or bad, we then continually look for examples to validate this view rather than question if it’s true, or if there is a way to change this view. For example, if a teacher said to you as a child that you can’t do maths, it’s common to spend the rest of your life believing you are bad at maths and creating examples validating this belief, such as not bothering to study for a math test because you know you are going to fail.
ASK THE QUESTION
People who are dealing with feelings of despair can feel like there’s no options or possibility for a better a life. Heer says its important to know that there are resources available. It’s important to ask for help, whether it’s from a friend or someone professional. It’s important to never give up, to know that there is help to change the way you feel, that you don’t have to live with these feelings. Heer says it can also help to surround yourself with contented people. “When you surround yourself with unhappy people, it’s easy to get caught up in that reality.”
As well as asking for help, Heer says other powerful questions to ask are “What other questions can I ask to create the life I want to create? How can it get any better than this? What else is possible? When you start making your life about the questions rather than the answers it opens to the door to possibility”.
If someone in your life is dealing with feeling of despair Heer recommends that the most important thing we can do for those living in despair is to believe in them – to see greatness and possibility in them – when they may not be able to see it themselves.