Several years ago I found myself in depression. I felt anxious and overwhelmed most of the time and walked around in a cloud of doubt and indecision. There was no glint of happiness or joy in my life.
As Henry Nouwen writes:
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep on choosing joy everyday.”
We are responsible for our mindset and the fear of failure sucked the joy right out of me. I allowed my mistakes to define who I was and they kept me trapped in a dark place. I was stuck in a very unhealthy mindset of ‘not being good enough.’
I want to share some advice that has helped me stay out of depression and move forward in my life emotionally, physically and spiritually.
- Being afraid to make a mistake means you will stay stuck in confusion and doubt. Mistakes are part of life and they can become our greatest teachers. Learn from your mistakes and move on. “I know I made a mistake but I am not a mistake.”
- Watch your self-talk such as “I am so stupid” and “Why did I do that?”. Making harsh, judgemental statements about yourself cements you into mistake mode. There is no way of escaping our fear of failure if we continue to talk to ourselves in a negative way. Change your language. I purposefully say, “I love myself anyway” and by doing this I am simply looking at myself the way God looks at me. He loves us despite our mistakes (2 Timothy 2:13). When we beat ourselves up we are disagreeing with God’s word.
- Break the mindset and lie of ‘not being enough.’ This will bring the turnaround you need to move into a happier life. Feeling good about yourself changes your relationships and perception of life. ‘I am enough, I am good enough’ is the affirmation that broke me out of my mistake mindset. It breaks the fear of failure that keeps trying to sneak back into our lives.
We need to forgive and treat ourselves with kindness and patience, like we do when we overlook the faults of a good friend. We must learn to love ourselves as we love our neighbor.
Feeling good about ourselves brings stability and clarity to everything we encounter in our lives. We are cemented into the truth of who we really are and not moved by the difficulties that we face.
Life wasn’t always easy for the Apostle Paul, but he believed that God was always with him and this needs to be our mindset:
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NASV)