Exploring what it means to believe in yourself
When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother. Each morning she would stand by the window with her cup of coffee and a slice of buttered toast, gazing outside. She was looking at the birds and she often encouraged me to do the same. She would tell me, what I now know to be a common turn of phrase. ‘‘A bird in a tree does not fear the branch breaking, because the bird’s trust is not in the branch, but in its own wings’’. The point is this: we must always endeavor to believe in ourselves and in our own capacity to overcome any obstacle.
Self-belief, comes and goes. I return to this topic often, as for many of us, we wrestle with our self-belief throughout our lives. The reasons why we doubt ourselves and massively underestimate our true potential varies. The experience of trauma or of grief, a lack of positive influencers in our upbringing or our adulthood, troubles with addictions, stress, depression or anxiety are all likely triggers.
We so easily think about the ways in which we have failed. But just how often do we stop, take a breath and silently ask ourselves ‘‘what am I capable of?’’. How is it not something that we consider each and every day?
The key rules to harness our inner self-belief: –
- Do not place your value in anybody else’s hands: By this I mean that we must be mindful of the limits that people can put upon you. Even our loved ones! We have all been told at one stage or another that we can’t do something or that we shouldn’t do something. Perhaps you have been told recently or in the past that you are ‘‘not good enough’’, ‘‘too old’’, that it’s ‘‘too late’’ or that ‘‘it would never work’’. It is essential, moving forwards that you do not allow others to dictate what you can and cannot do.
- Take steps to conquer your negative thoughts: Maintaining positive, reassuring and healthy thoughts may prove challenging at times, but it is something that each of us should aim to achieve. When we think good thoughts, we drastically propel our motivation, our ambition and yes, our self-belief. Any past or current negative views from others, or indeed views that you hold about yourself play a massive role in how you approach your day to day life, ultimately stopping you from taking positive action.
- Take action: Consider, how can you make changes in your life, in order to live more positively? Can you improve your diet? Can you progress with a new exercise routine or try new hobbies that allow you to feel healthier and more fulfilled? Next consider, what is stopping you from making these changes, right now?
- Learn from your failures: It is okay to fail! The moment we understand this, life becomes far easier. We must fail in order to learn and in order to grow as individuals. Embrace the lows for what they can teach you and do not give up. Always be mindful that it is never too late to try again.
Make a point of being better
An easy task to confront your negative thoughts is to note down all the ways that you can think of to describe yourself. The good and the bad, whatever springs to mind. Write it down, without a filter. When we take the time to self-reflect in this way, we often see how easy it is to think of the negative things, before even beginning to reflect on any of the good! Whilst this task may prove difficult, it is incredibly insightful. I guarantee that for the people who write a lot of negative comments about themselves, a majority of the comments will be things that you have heard when you were a child or at other times from your past.
These ingrained beliefs have no power over you now and they do not serve you. Let them go. Highlight the good points that you have written about yourself and say them out loud. Force yourself if necessary, to write down at least five good things! This is essential because you are absolutely worthy of praise! Afterall, how can you boost your self-belief and confidence if you are unable to personally recognise your own strengths?
So frequently, our lack of self-belief can be underpinned by deep feelings of shame. When we feel a deep sense of inner shame, we can often feel anxious, depressed or even suicidal over time. If you find that you are struggling with your self-belief in a way that is impacting your daily life, I strongly encourage you to seek support. Do not hesitate to reach out for help. Speaking to a doctor, a psychologist or a licensed counsellor can make all the difference in restoring your inner confidence and renewing your thirst for life. Even confiding in a close friend or family member can help you to not feel alone.
Wishing that you no longer underestimate what you are capable of and that when you see a bird in its tree, you are reminded of just how special you are.