I have talked a lot about choice in this series. I think it is an important part of self-development. Choice is something that we forget about when we are stuck in a depressive rut.
I like to think of it like this.
We make choices everyday based on different internal and external factors. We tend to be more lenient or forgiving when those choices involve other people. However, the choices are more rigid when the choices are about your depression or anxiety. I personally experience this phenomenon on a daily basis and see it every day with my clients.
Recently, there has been an increase in the study of the negativity bias, which seems to be innate in all humans. It’s where the cliché, “you are your own worst critic,” comes from. Overtime, we have evolved to give more weight to our flaws or shortcomings than our successes. Basically, we are hard wired to self-criticize. However, this evolutionary trait has a little wiggle room.
I know this may sound radical, but you can choose to listen to the voice in your head. You can choose to listen when it tells you it is not a big deal when you make a 75 on a test or miss a deadline at work. In times of stress and self-doubt, it is difficult to break the cycle given to you by evolution. It can be done. When you start to feel like you are giving into the self-criticism pattern, just remember that it does not matter what you were born into. It matters what you chose to do with the life you have been given. Sometimes, that means cutting yourself some slack.
There is always a choice to make. Free will is one of the greatest things about humanity, but it is up to you to make the choice that is going to be beneficial to your mental health. It is also important to remember that sometimes you may try and fail, and that is okay. Get back up and continue to exercise your free will. Make the choices that are right for you. Don’t get held down by unwritten rules and unrealistic expectations for yourself. Be who you want to be and do it by making the choice to fight back against the natural negative bias that tries to propel you into the state of sad complacency.
If you would like help learning how to stand up and fight back against the self-sabotage of the negativity bias, please reach out to Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832-421-8714. We would love to help guide you along your journey, ups and downs included.