The most amazing experience of my life was when I gave birth to my son, at home, in 45 minutes, with no pain relief. The single biggest factor that enabled me to do that was my total unshakeable faith in my ability to do it. It is so often true that if you have faith in yourself, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve – and that includes lifting yourself out of depression, changing your life to bring it more into line with your values, or whatever other challenge you might be facing right now.
But how do you build that self-belief? There probably isn’t one single solution that works for everyone in every situation, but the following strategies should give you some starting points:
Recognise that you are stronger than you know
Have you faced a challenge like this before? Did you survive it? Did you come out of it stronger? Remember that successfully navigating the obstacles that life puts in our path is the only way we grow and develop as human beings. Maybe you’ve never battled depression before, but if you’ve experienced another debilitating negative emotion – grief perhaps, or shame, or embarrassment – remind yourself that you’ve struggled before, you got through it, you learned from it, and you are a better person for having had the experience. This challenge that you are navigating now will be the same. You will come out the other side a better and stronger person.
Reflect on your best qualities
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When we are feeling low or confronting a challenge that feels like one step too far, it’s very easy to focus on our weaknesses – on all the reasons why we can’t do it or we don’t deserve it. But, our lives are built on our strengths, not our weaknesses. Think about what you are good at. If you are struggling with depression, that might be hard, so think about what other people think you’re good at – ask them if you can’t think of anything. Then see how those qualities could help you deal with this challenge. You might need to think creatively, but have faith that your talents are just what you need to solve this problem, if you just approach it the right way.
Be your own best friend
If you haven’t experienced anything similar to your current challenge yourself, do you know someone who has? What did you do to help? Can you imagine how you would respond if it was your best friend who was going through this? If you know how you would help someone else, then you can apply those exact same strategies to yourself. Don’t let your depression trick you into thinking you don’t deserve your help – you do.
Learn from others’ experiences
Seek out the stories of others who have faced similar challenges. These could be friends or colleagues who you can have a conversation with, or they might be bloggers or celebrities whose stories you can read online. Understand how they overcame their problems, and then reflect on how you are just as capable, just as resilient, just as deserving as they are. If they did it, so can you. All you need is the will to succeed, and you have that in abundance.
Knowledge is power
You’re bound to feel more confident in your abilities if you know exactly what you are facing. So, read everything you can find on the topic. Take every opportunity to learn about it. Take time to understand the causes, the options, the consequences. Remember, you’re already an expert on you. When you become an expert on your problem as well, you have a very powerful combination.
I hope the above ideas will empower you to take charge of whatever challenge your life is throwing up right now. Know that you are more than capable of surmounting it. Know that you have or can obtain all of the skills and resources you need to succeed. Know that you are just as deserving as all those who have succeeded before you. Know that the answers are already within you, just waiting for you to acknowledge them. When you truly know all of these things, success is almost inevitable.