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I don't really like to admit it, but I do struggle with self-esteem and self-confidence. While I still exude a certain amount of confidence, I often can't help but think that I would have a better quality of life- both personally and professionally – if I could believe in myself more.
In this post, I will address the importance of believing in yourself, and give steps to help you increase your self-confidence.
Why Is It Important to Believe in Yourself?
When you lack self-confidence, you doubt that you're capable of getting what you want out of life. This doubt leads to negative self-beliefs and thoughts like worry, fear, and other insecurities.
Eventually, you'll act in self-sabotaging ways that confirm these beliefs. It can result in keeping you from achieving your goals, living the life you want, and being happy.
It's important to understand that true self-belief comes from the combination of self-confidence and high self-esteem. Although the two are related, they're not the same. You can be confident, but still have low self-esteem.
For example, you may be confident in your ability to sing. You demonstrate this confidence by singing in front of others. They applaud, reassuring you of your ability to perform well. But you may still not feel good about yourself.
Self-confidence is knowing you have the ability to accomplish what you set out to achieve. It's trusting your own decisions and judgments, and believing your skills and abilities are capable of bringing about certain actions.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself on the inside. It's whether you have self-worth and feel you are good enough. Self-esteem is about loving yourself.
When you have self-worth, you don't need external things to believe in yourself. If you didn't sing your best, or no one applauded, you would still feel good about yourself. Having a high self-esteem doesn't mean that you won't feel negative emotions, but it means you know a setback or disappointment is not a reflection of your self-worth.
When you believe in yourself, you don't treat a hurdle like a wall that's stopping you. It's not an indicator of your ability to achieve. You know you can jump over or go around it to get to the other side.
Professional Benefits of Self-Belief
When you believe in yourself, co-workers, supervisors, and clients will have confidence in your skills and ability to do what you say you can do. You'll communicate better and be more persuasive.
A confident person presents themselves as someone with leadership skills, represents the company better, and takes risks. This increases your chances of being given new projects and receiving promotions and raises.
Forbes discusses how being confident benefits both the company and the employee.
9 Steps to Believing in Yourself
Step 1. Reflect on Your Current Level of Self-Belief
If you never get to the root of why you don't believe in yourself, any strategies to increase your confidence will be temporary. As soon as the root causes resurface, you'll fall back into old patterns.
Ask yourself these questions:
If you lean towards a no to any of these questions, you can put together a plan to do the things that will help you eliminate these barriers to self-belief.
Step 2. Positive Self-Talk
You talked yourself into believing negatively about yourself. You can talk yourself out of it.
You may have received messages, directly or indirectly, from others that have led to your self-doubt. But once you internalize these thoughts, they become your own. You begin to tell yourself these hurtful things, too. Start consciously telling yourself positive things.
Step 3. Embrace Your Self Worth
Embracing your self-worth is moving positive self-talk to action. It's treating yourself in a way congruent to the self-talk.
Treat and talk to yourself as kindly as you do someone that you love dearly and would never hurt. Self-talk is wonderful, but you probably don't literally go around telling the people you most love, “You're worthy. You're valuable.”
You do say it in other ways and show it in how you treat them and make them feel. Give yourself that same compassion, acceptance, and love on a consistent basis.
Step 4. Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Strengths
Make a list of your skills, talents, strengths, and positive qualities. Ask those closest to you if you need help coming up with your list. You'll start to see what you do differently and better than others.
This will lead you to your strengths. Strengths include your mindset. Your strength may be perseverance or resilience, being a natural leader, or being a great listener. A family member or friend may also call this your personality trait.
You may find that your skills, talents, or strengths need some development to accomplish your goals. This is an empowering discovery.
People become great at things by making efforts to build their skills and talents so they become strengths, or to enhance their strengths even further.
As you consistently work on these, you'll feel empowered as you become better at something you're already good at.
Step 5. Identify and Celebrate Past Achievements
Think of times you've been proud of yourself in the past. What was it you did or accomplished?
It could be a project or a situation you handled well at work. Maybe it was earning a good grade or graduating from school.
Thinking of these positive moments puts you in a positive mindset. It's similar to a self-fulfilled prophecy. If you remember negative things from your past, dwell on them and think they will reoccur; your brain will actualize these negative thoughts and predictions.
On the other hand, the brain will take the positive self-thoughts and beliefs that come from positive memories, and actualize those in your present and future. So, remember how you positively accomplished something in your past, and feel that you can do it again now. Your brain will believe you and make it happen.
The Business Journals talks about this amazing brain concept.
Step 6. Body Language
Your posture sends messages to others and to you that you're confident. The mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. Exhibiting more confident body language will translate into more inner confidence, and, eventually, vice versa. It's kind of like tricking yourself.
Here are some examples of confident body language:
Step 7. Visualize
Identifying past achievements and visualizing are somewhat related. When you visualize something repeatedly, the mind is more likely to make it happen.
This is, again, like a self-fulfilled prophecy. Before you do anything, you usually think about it first. Even when we're operating on auto-pilot, our actions are the results of unconscious thoughts.
Before you have a meal, you think about eating and what you'll eat. Even if you didn't eat what you wanted, you still ate something. The thought preceded the action.
Let's fit this into a more structured routine.
Set aside a daily routine where you do nothing but see these things in your mind over and over again.
Step 8. Reframe Your Perspective
Sometimes, in spite of positive self-talk, we still entertain negative beliefs. You may be telling yourself, “I'm a good person who deserves the best.” But you may still believe you can only get so far in life.
Or, you may have something happen to you that reinforces the opposite of your positive self-talk. This is why believing in yourself requires you to reframe your perspective.
When you have a setback, think of it as an opportunity. You can learn something from it. Or, maybe you can make the set back an opportunity. A failed relationship can be a chance to reconnect with yourself and determine what you want out of life. This can lead you to choose a partner who positively and progressively fits in with that.
Things will not always go our way in life. The difference between the person who keeps going and the person who gives up is the ability to turn a negative situation into something positive, or to reframe how we think about it.
Doing this can put us in the right mind set to see a failure as a reason to keep going, instead of a reason to give-up.
Step 9. Take Control
You can do this with meditation, affirmations, and by doing what you say you'll do.
It might sound easier said than done. When we've tried to do things in the past and not succeeded, we can begin to feel like trying again is futile.
While this is definitely understandable, remaining in this state of helplessness will make this belief a self-fulfilled prophecy. Try these tips to boost your confidence:
Set Small Goals
Make realistically attainable goals. When you've accomplished a goal, you'll believe in yourself more and feel empowered to set and achieve more goals.
A small goal may be to prepare dinner, go grocery shopping, or make an important call.
You're in complete control of your mind and body. Decide to put yourself in a state of self-love, peace, and happiness.
Affirmations are the first step to physically manifesting your thoughts. Writing them down is part of that manifestation. It helps bring them into reality. So, don't just read affirmations from a list online, write them down and modify them to inspire you to create your own.
Final Thoughts on Believing in Yourself
When you believe in yourself, or know you can accomplish something… you start to not only think, but behave in such a way that makes it a reality. You can utilize tools such as affirmations, mediation – even prayer and yoga to calm the senses and regroup with your inner self, urging her to push forward.
Now that you have the steps to believe in yourself, you can start living the life you want today. Practice visualization techniques, using these vision quotes to get you inspired!