I recently went for a bike ride with my Brother and Nephew. It was a gorgeous sunny day, wind in my hair and, of course, the rolling Norfolk hills..! Whilst cycling the country roads, my Nephew said something; he said “Grit is really slippery!” Now this, or potentially the Aspall cider, got me thinking. Yes, he meant on a physical level, describing the roads, but I have taken it and started to think about the concept of Grit as a trait and how it will serve me well in my venture to self-esteem.
Grit is the perseverance of effort and passion, particularly in regards to a long term project or goal. This concept is covered in Angela Duckworth’s book ‘Grit’. I’ve not read it all as yet, but what I have so far is fantastic – please give me your opinion if you have read it. I’ve watched many of Angela’s talks online and Grit is overcoming obstacles that are in your way on your path to success. Whilst Angela speaks of Grit mainly in terms of parenting, educating, athletics, and its necessity for business people etc. I thought it’s undoubtedly something that can be applied to mental health as well.
In 2012, I had a brain haemorrhage right in the middle of working on my degree, whilst I was working full time and not long after the sudden loss of my eldest brother. I got through it, I didn’t give up on my degree (I got a 2:1 which I am inexplicably proud of); and I didn’t give up on work, despite the difficulties I faced in the aftermath of my haemorrhage. I know I have Grit. I have resilience. And in spite of my febrezing, I am going to overcome the latest obstacles; I am going to use Grit to get through this sabotaging self-esteem problem.
Grit can be slippery. It can be seemingly impossible to pick yourself up time and time again. When it gets hard, or you get hurt, it’s so easy to just quit. Quitting is the lazy route. It’s the fixed mindset route. With my self-esteem, it’s my natural instinct to fly, not fight. I’ve wanted to quit a lot of things on numerous occasions. I’ve wanted to quit being in my own head. It’s tiring battling yourself, or, having read The Chimp Paradox (highly recommend you do too), my Chimp lovingly called Nerissa. Nerissa is a dick. She has no self-esteem, she’s angry, untrusting, has high expectations and incredibly impulsive with no self-control. It is learning to control Nerissa, and thereby overcome my lack of self-esteem and the problems that it creates, is where I will need to be at my Grittiest.
Some days I feel okay. I won’t have felt low about myself in some way and I’ll think I won’t have to do anything. Grit and looking after my mental health is 24/7. It needs to be proactive, not reactive. I need to put in the work and the hours even when I can’t be bothered or I happen to be okay that day. Grit is stamina. Life isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon and I cannot tell you how excited I am to run this marathon. I cannot wait for the emotional freedom it will provide. I know it’s not going to be easy, even with the help of my new counsellor. That’s why I need Grit in abundance.
So Grit may very well be really slippery, but even if I slip and fall, I shall be getting back up again.