One thing is certain: all people need to believe in themselves. When you believe in yourself, you feel complete, powerful, and you know that by your own strength you can give meaning to your life - the one you choose to give.
When you believe in yourself, you feel sufficiently capable of taking full responsibility for your life - you become an assumed person. If you choose to build a family, you will do that not to fill in some inner voids, to gain some certainty and give meaning to your life, but because you simply want it although you don’t need it and because your life is enriched in this way even if its meaning doesn’t depend on it.
If you choose to dedicate yourself to your career, you do it out of passion and true desire, not to run away from your fears and emotional wounds, because dedication in a certain field shouldn’t be an escape or an excuse for not assuming other aspects of yourself. Career as well as relationships come to complete our happiness, not to define who we are as human beings.
When we don’t trust ourselves, we’ll tend to direct and invest our energy in external factors as if we cling to something or someone else to help us feel strong and capable again.
Many people feel helpless and stuck in their own life and say that if they were more confident they would make the changes they’ve wanted for so long. Instead of acting and breaking this vicious circle somewhere or at least making some changes at a mental and attitudinal level, they continue to repeat to themselves why they can’t do those things, confirming their lack of confidence and strengthening their helplessness. Day after day they say they aren’t capable, worthy, that everything is too hard or impossible, that they don’t have the necessary resources, and this way they only repress their wishes and dreams, they break their wings before even starting to fly, as they long for so much every day.
Self-confidence is gained by acting. When you do something and you succeed, your confidence increases because you have shown to yourself that you can do that. The more things you do and have more success, the more confident you feel.
Just as your actions strengthen your trust, so you need to trust yourself to act. If you feel stuck in a contemplation stage, if you are afraid to act because you don’t think you can do it, you can start the change at a mental level, because our obstacles are also at a mental level.
For acting and succeeding you need to believe you can, but for this you need to rewrite your limiting beliefs, the way you relate to yourself and the obstacles in your life.
There is no magical recipe to gain self-confidence because this thing doesn’t necessarily depend on certain "recipes" but on awareness, it doesn’t depend on external factors but rather when you are in contact with these factors you become aware of your inner strength and you begin to believe in yourself.
Trusting yourself it means believing that you can cope with life’s challenges, believing that you have the skills and abilities to cope with a changing world, believing you can overcome the difficult situations you face, taking responsibility.
People who don’t trust themselves feel somehow weak, fearful and they imagine that if they were to acquire this essential quality, their life would transform miraculously. They imagine themselves doing the things they want most, but they are afraid to do them, and sometimes they turn the visualization into daydreaming, forgetting a key factor: action.
Visualization is a very good way of boosting self-confidence as long as it doesn’t remain only at this stage. For example, athletes are often advised to view themselves winning the competitions they participate in, that is, to program their mind for success, and so they no longer focus on their fears and what might go wrong, but on succeeding and winning, which already makes them feel better and more confident. But in between visualization and success, they do something - they act.
Another important factor from which mental change can begin is your inner dialogue. When you repeat to yourself "I can’t do that", "I'm not good, smart, nice, capable enough,...", "I will not be able to do it," you basically set your mind for failure. Your mind will obey you and it will do its best to fulfill your prophecies and you will fail.
Notice what you are telling to yourself, how you speak, what words you use, how often you argue with yourself, blame, judge and condemn yourself. Notice what you're focusing on - are you focusing on what you are doing wrong, your flaws, weaknesses or mistakes, or on your achievements, qualities, deeds you’re proud of? Move your attention from what you think isn’t ok with you on things you are proud of, and if your weaknesses bother you so much, seek to work on them or to overcome them. Also, for every negative thought you have about yourself, find four other positive things about yourself.
Do you think you lack confidence because… “that’s just the way you feel” or because you have a certain opinion about yourself and you keep repeating those things?
Perhaps you have come to believe that you are in a certain way because that is what others have told you over the years.
Think about all the negative things you tell to yourself, about all the labels and limitations you impose on yourself. You may think that you are not good, tall, beautiful, creative enough, you may think you are weak, undetermined, incapable and so on. And now identify who instilled in you these ideas, who told you that you are like that? When you repeat all of these, whose voice do you actually hear? Perhaps since childhood your parents, teachers, or those close to you have repeatedly told you that you were in one way or another and you have come to believe them and in the meantime you have forgotten that this voice that brings you down doesn’t belong to you.
So you still see yourself as lacking confidence or weak when what you have to do to change these perceptions is to change the way you think about yourself.
Give yourself positive feedback, be proud of your accomplishments however small may seem, encourage and treat yourself as if you were your best friend. I assume that if a friend of yours had a success you would congratulate them instead of reproaching why didn’t they do more or better or even ignore that achievement, and if they had a failure you would encourage them instead of saying that they are weak, incapable or worthless.
Also, everytime you overcome an obstacle, you have a success, an achievement, write a letter to describe how you felt, what you thought, describe the process which made that success possible, what difficulties have you encountered, how did you overcome them, what abilities, skills, talents you used, what attitude you had etc. Read that letter every time you feel weak, worthless or when you are afraid to do something, to become aware of your inner strength and your qualities.
Following this idea, at the end of each day, write down what you did good on that day and the things you're proud of. Whether it's about the fact that you have reacted differently than you are used to react in a stressful situation, whether you have succeeded to manage your emotions better, or that you finally did something you always wanted.
People who don’t trust themselves tend to minimize the positive and focus on the negative. If they have a success they underestimate their contribution and say that "anyone could do it" or "I was just lucky" or "it was just a happening." They also tend to look and focus on those situations or events that confirm their lack of value. If they did five good things and one wrong thing, they would focus only on that one bad thing. Even when receiving positive feedback from others, most of the time they overlook it or they think they are insincere.
If you have a negative opinion about yourself, you will interpret the situations you are going through according to that opinion. If you feel insecure or worthless, you’ll take personally what others say or do. For example, if your boss gives you some suggestions on how to improve your work, you will take it personally, you will feel guilty and embarrassed, maybe you will start to say things like, "Of course I can’t do anything right "," I'm worthless "," I'm sure they think poorly of me" and so on, instead of detaching yourself and taking that feedback as it is - a simple feedback, a way to become more aware of the issues you can improve.
If you trust yourself, very few things will be able to unsettle you or make you doubt yourself.
Finally, I'd like to tell you something. Every day I meet people who have faced so many hardships during their life, who have overcome all the suffering and found the strength to move forward. They don’t even realize how wonderful they are, how beautiful they are in spite of all the hardships they’ve been through, and how much strength there is behind their low self-esteem.
But I see and I wonder how they can’t even notice that they have succeeded by themselves to move forward into this life, which is often like a jungle, that they have found solutions to all the problems and that they have all the necessary resources to deal with any life’s challenges.
The pressure they have faced made them true diamonds that reflect their light, but they don’t see themselves that way.
Maybe you're the same - you say you don’t trust yourself, but you've already gone through so many challenges and you've overcome them. Just notice how far you’ve gone so far and rely on your inner strength, on the wisdom that you have acquired, and move forward with determination !
You are here today, and that means you are a winner!
Trust yourself because you have everything you need to succeed!
Dr. Ursula Sandner