We must begin to understand that seeing someone as confident does not negate a struggle with mental health.

Does it feel to anyone else as if 2022 has seen a rise in depression related deaths?

Many which have come as an absolute shock to the public. 

Take DJ Twitch for example.  The public grew to love him as a happiness creator. His dance videos and energy on The Ellen Show stage brought people to their feet and elicited cheer.  We saw him smile as he danced and shared his family on social media….but behind the veil of confidence was a deep struggle with mental health. 

 

Confidence and happiness are two separate emotions that are easily  mistaken for one another. 

 

We must begin to understand that seeing someone as confident does not negate a struggle with mental health. 

Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance and belief in one’s abilities, while happiness is a feeling of contentment and joy. 

People often confuse the two because both emotions can be expressed in similar ways, such as through a smile…We need to stop and look at what is happening in the world around us to learn that someone’s truth can be hidden behind their contrived smiles.

 

We, as a society, are confusing confidence for happiness to the detriment of those whom we look up to most.
Confidence and depression can co-exist and they often do because of the massive pressure society
places on confident individuals to exist as perfectly as possible.

 

Confidence is mistaken for happiness because it can lead to success in various areas of life…extrinsic feelings of accomplishments can feel powerful in the moment, but as soon as the moment ends we find ourselves seeking for the next “hit”. 

Success for someone like me is like a drug.  You can never have enough.  You are always looking for the next mountain to climb, battle to win, or award to take home. The moments of accomplishment are like a hit of a drug but as soon as that hit leaves the system we are searching for the next accomplishment to fill the void.

Confidence and depression can co-exist and they often do because of the massive pressure society places on confident individuals to exist as perfectly as possible.  As a confident individual you are looked to for inspiration and guidance which can lead to hiding our own internal battles to keep the public version of ourselves afloat. 

I struggle with depression.  I am a suicide attempt survivor. I am confident in my abilities, proud of myself, motivated and smiling but am often deeply sad from dealing with childhood trauma. 

These two emotions can exist simultaneously. They are not the same. 

It is important to remember that confidence derived from success –  and happiness are not the same thing and that one can exist without the other.

This is a lesson I am working on every day myself.  

A client I had the opportunity to work with as a performance coach for their TEDx talk via Conquer the Red Dot, Caterina Kostoula, taught me to ask myself an amazing question when it comes to making decisions for myself professionally through the lens of mental health:

“Is this an ego-driven goal or is this a joy driven goal?” – Caterina Kostoula

I highly recommend watching the entire talk Here

Learning to ask yourself tough questions…further learning to ask the people you care about hard questions can be the difference between life and death.  

Asking someone if they are happy is too broad of a question, but asking your friend if the goal they are seeking brings them joy or if it is just another box to check off that won’t serve their sense of purpose, is another thing entirely.

I am blessed to have a friend and neighbor who asks me this type of question every time I tell them of a new opportunity.  

I get excited and giddy at the prospect of success, having opportunities makes me feel confident in my abilities which gives me an ego boost…but is that “success” real if it only checks off boxes on my bucket list and does not add to my sense of fulfillment and purpose?

When we learn to assess what our ego wants vs what our heart wants, that is when we find the ability to tap into happiness…or rather, assessing what makes us unhappy. 

Success Does NOT Equal Happiness. 

Many people who achieve great success in their careers or personal lives may still struggle with feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, because success does not automatically bring about all the things that can contribute to happiness, such as:

  • Healthy relationships
  • A sense of fulfillment
  • A strong sense of purpose. 

 

Success and confidence are often temporary and fleeting feelings which can often be found found through validation from others, while happiness is an enduring emotion

Happiness is intrinsic. 

Happiness is an internalized emotion only truly witnessed by ourselves.

Happiness and confidence are two different psychological states and to be aware of the vast diversity of mental health issues is to learn to tell the difference between the two.

 

Here are some ways in which happiness and confidence differ from each other:

  • Happiness is a feeling of emotional well-being and contentment, while confidence is a belief in one’s abilities and self-worth.
  • Happiness is often associated with feelings of joy, satisfaction, and pleasure, while confidence is often associated with feelings of self-assurance, competence, and determination
  • Happiness is typically considered to be a personal experience, while confidence can affect how others perceive and interact with you.

Both of these psychological states are imperative for a fully expelled human experience. 

Confidence can lead to opportunities for happiness through connection and purpose driven work. Confidence can be derived from external sources, such as success or validation from others, while happiness is an internal, enduring emotion that is rooted in a sense of fulfillment and purpose. By learning to differentiate between these two emotions and understanding their impact on our well-being, we can work towards eliminating the factors in our lives that makes us unhappy. 

Check in your strong and confident friends and ask yourself the same questions that call ego vs joy into question. 

It is crucial to have open and honest discussions about mental health and to support those who may be struggling, as this can be the difference between life and death for some individuals.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling to find your way out of the dark, please consider calling 9-8-8 as a lifeline.  

 

People who have been in darkness while spreading light publicly understand that what we project on the outside does not always reflect what we feel on the inside. 

Find and surround yourself with people who support your growth in living a purpose filled life and not just a financially filled life. 

If you find yourself or someone you know having suicidal ideations or joking about ending their life, take it seriously and seek professional help.

You are never alone, even if it feels like total darkness – there is always someone who escaped the feeling of existing in a darkness so dark it feels like vantablack who wants to help you find your way too. 

 

Access a free copy for yourself or to share with a friend of our 365 Days of Affirmations and Food for Your Thoughts. Sometimes when our own thoughts fail us, the kind words of someone else can be the life rope we need. HERE