Life can be strange. It ebbs and flows. Thoughts come and go. People come and go. Advice is given and taken back. The seasons change, and we just keep going through the solar system. Life continues on, and small worries, big worries, blue worries, red worries can cloud us. But alas, this is simply what it means to be human. Sadly, a large part of my own anxiety comes from lack of belief in myself and fear over what people think of me.
Especially here lately with social media and the 3 seconds we give something our attention. For me, I can’t even begin to imagine all the little squares I pass by everyday while scrolling through Instagram. Often times these little squares have pieces of advice. So right after you see the gorgeous woman with the perfect outfit, baby and husband, you get to be told how to live your life. It almost screams out, “You don’t have this life because you are doing it wrong!!!”. Anyone else feel this way or is it just me?
With or without the gram, you’ve probably heard the advice, “Just believe in yourself”… If you’ve been with my blog for awhile, I’m sure you have even seen this, written by yours truly! It wasn’t until recently that I could put actual action into this and ‘take’ the advice. So, hopefully this blog helps to break down, at least, what I mean when I say, “believe in yourself.” Because, once you can more steadily and consistently believe in yourself, the less you will look outside of yourself for validation.
Before we jump in, advice you can immediately take: get off the gram for a few days :). It will do a world of good for your mental health.
Hopes and Dreams
As you move through life, there will surely be time when it feels like you can reach out and touch your hopes and dreams. Cherish these moments. In fact, try and get yourself in a frame of mind where this is most often the case.
And, let’s be honest, there will be times that feel like you’ve fallen in a deep pit and those hopes and dreams are so far away and unachievable not even a miracle could come fix it. DO NOT DWELL in this pit. If you feel your mind going into this space without any circumstantial evidence it is true, quickly divert your attention to something completely different. If you have had a setback – large or small, learn from it, dust off and get back on track.
This could look different for everyone. Perhaps you didn’t get the seed money you were hoping for, adjust, and keep going. Or maybe you were rejected by the third person in a row… dust off, do some deep reflection on how you feel about yourself; get yourself in order and try again.
The truth is, if we really truly believe in ourselves, what we are selling, or what we are doing; it will come to pass. So instead of dwelling on what is happening externally, look inward and build up the belief in whatever it is you are trying to do.
Step 1: Being honest with where you are compared to where you want to be
I’ve learned the first step in believing in yourself is to be super realistic about where you currently are in life. And the distance between where you are and where you want to be. Having these two pieces of information will help put things in perspective. As well as allow you to start to see the path forward.
For example, if you’d like to become an expert in your field, but only have ten hours of experience with that chosen field; you know more time and energy needs to be placed on the topic. This could come with consistent studying, being apart of discussion groups on the topic and potentially going back to school for a more advanced degree.
Step 2: Taking action toward improving
This second step is potentially the hardest: it is taking the steps toward becoming better. This is where you start down the path previously identified. Keeping in mind, you may trip and fall along the way. You may get half way down the intended path and realize you no longer want whatever it is you’ve been working toward. Or, you may skip freely down said path, enjoyably and effortlessly. No matter how many bumps in the road, in order to start gaining belief in yourself or in what you are achieving, and that it ‘matters’; you must take these actions steps.
Step 3: Measurement of small and big progress
Being able to look back, even in the past 24 hours, or perhaps years and admit to yourself how far you’ve come is super important. On the flip side, being able to see where you haven’t improved, or made progress is equally important. It is the honestly and reality in this step which allows it to grow your belief. The more honest you are with yourself about your progress, good or bad, the more the outcome makes sense. And with honesty and sense, you can be empowered to make changes, or keep charging ahead.
Step 4: Internal feedback through practice
Once you’ve made enough progress toward a milestone, it is time to act as though you are presenting your finished product and practice ‘selling it’. I realize how odd this might indeed sound, but bare with me! Visualize in your mind presenting your work, maybe it is your thesis, or a new dance. Or maybe, it is a hairstyle you need to learn for beauty school. Perhaps, it is the puppy you’ve been training. You get the point – it doesn’t matter what ‘it’ is. So, visualize bringing your ‘it’ into the real world for others to observe, and see! For at least 30 seconds picture how it would go in your minds eye. When you are done come back to this post.
Did you do it? If yes, how did it feel?
Were you worried because it isn’t ready yet? Did you nervously laugh knowing your new puppy will probably pee on someone’s carpet?
Or, were you super confident? Maybe that new up-do you’ve been practicing is ready for a bride! Were you excited about the thought of someone purchasing your product? Knowing you can fully stand behind it?
This internal feedback while visualizing is AMAZING feedback. It easily and quickly done without risks. And it allows you to identify where your heart is, in terms of how you are feeling. It is a way to translate feeling into information; so you know which action to take next.
Step 5: Take action
They say there is no better way to feeling empowered or overcoming fears than taking action. And, that is just what I am suggesting in step 5. Once you’ve done your visualization feedback in step 4, it is time to use that and take action either way. Until you’ve grown your self-belief to the point where you’ve gone live, achieved your goals or put out into the world your creation, KEEP GOING. Scroll through these steps at each milestone until you are there.
What does this look like when applied?
Learn. Adjust. Move Forward.
When these steps are applied, there is no doubt you will be a) on a path and b) moving. Again, there is no guarantee of sunshine and lollipops every step of the way, but the movement forward will create learnings. Eventually, your belief in what you are working on, and in yourself will grow. Again, not through doing the same thing and hoping for different results, but through learning, adjusting and moving forward.
Questions to ask yourself
First and foremost, where are you currently with self-belief? Do you believe in what you are working on? Do you feel who you are is valuable. Is what you are working toward worth your time?
Secondly, is what you are doing today, honoring your future? Meaning, if you think of your hopes and dreams for even next month, or next year, or 10 years from now; is what you are doing today getting you closer or further away? If you aren’t yet actively working on what you want, ask yourself: “do I believe my hopes and dreams are valid?”. And, “Do I believe my hopes and dreams CAN actually happen?”.
Lastly, ask yourself, “Where have I given up too soon in the past?”. “Where did I invalidate my own worth and take a decrease in self-belief by slowing or stopping the pursuit of my dreams?” And to complete this section, “What and where should my time and attention be going to reinvigorate my journey?”
If this was thought-provoking or helpful, I’d love to hear about it in the comments down below! In the words of Wim Hof, “All the love, all the power”.