Believing in your own abilities and being persistent are two characteristics that are important when it comes to managing life for virtually anyone, but they can prove to be especially influential for those of us with mental health concerns.
From my experiences with the ups and downs of bipolar type II disorder, I can say that it is disturbingly easy to completely lose self-confidence and drive for no apparent reason, even when the definitive symptoms of depression and hypomania are under successful treatment (knock on wood).
While this remaining instability certainly poses a challenge, it is not insurmountable.
This is the nature of my particular affliction; without warning I can change from having the confidence of a world-conqueror to the diffidence (I just learned that word at this moment) of an abused dog. Of course, the underlying issue is the disorder itself, but even with that realization and comprehension of the falsity that fuels the feeling, it can seem like a massive undertaking to “right the ship.”
I know that I have numerous skills and can accomplish many things, but I often feel an overwhelming sense of impending failure that can easily lead to the “why bother” attitude.
The rational belief in ability vs. an irrational lack of confidence scenario is representative of a cognitive dissonance, which is a concept that is extremely common in psychology. Basically, when one aspect of our cognition conflicts with another, turmoil can arise until something has to “give.” Too often, the direction of change is toward submission and retreat. This is where tenacity can become your best defense against the unfounded anticipation of failure. Granted, determination may not be in everyone’s nature, but it can certainly be a chosen addition to any personality. Perseverance is not complicated. In order to have resolve, you simply need to keep going.
Choosing to be tenacious in everything I do may prove to be the best decision I have ever made. Success is consistently achieved solely by continuing the charge forward, despite any amount of psychological adversity. The accomplishment is not validated by what is gained, but instead by the fact that I choose to continue working toward my goals.
The choice to be tenacious overrides any irrational feelings of incompetence, as they are no longer relevant in the evaluation of progress in my life. The only thing that matters now is “how do I move forward?”
Good vibes to you all,
Boxer photo available from Shutterstock.