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Believe in yourself, and you can achieve anything! The sky is the limit! I’m sure you’ve heard these platitudes often in your life. You’ve probably been told, as I have, that if you just believe, you can do anything. The message is prevalent in pop culture, in school, and in our homes. But what does it mean? And why is believing in yourself so important?
Why is it Important to Believe in Yourself?
“So that’s it then – no weapons, no friends, no hope, take that away, and what’s left?”
– Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy was an icon for self-empowerment. She believed in herself even when she had nothing, and that self-confidence always helped her win the day.
Believing in yourself is important because it can give you the motivation to keep trying even in the face of adversity. It can give you a confidence boost when the going seems tough, and encourage you to keep going. Self-belief is fundamental to a happy, successful life.
How Can I Always Believe in Myself?
Sometimes it can be hard to believe in yourself. Bad things happen and maybe we feel like we don’t deserve to feel good about ourselves. Or We’re scared of what will happen if we try and fail. There are many reasons why we might not have the confidence to believe in ourselves or our capabilities. Fortunately, there ways to shift our mindsets and help us feel better about who we are. Here are some things you can do to develop confidence.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
In the world of Insta-perfection and online highlight reels, it’s incredibly easy to scroll through the perfect photos that everyone else is taking of their lives’ greatest moments and wonder what we’re doing wrong with our own.
The truth is – we’re not doing anything wrong. All you are seeing online is a brief snapshot of what they want you to see. It’s perfectly curated to make you think that you aren’t good enough, when in fact, their real-life is probably just as dull and grinding as yours is. The fact that they have a decent camera and an eye for aesthetics doesn’t mean they are better than you in any way.
Comparing yourself to others in real life can be problematic as well. Maybe you have a friend or family member who seems blessed. They have the dream life – a perfect partner, perfect job, perfect family, etc. But there are a lot of things you don’t see. How perfect is it really? Do you know the ins and outs of everything, or does it just seem perfect from the outside? And even if it is perfect, how much hard work did it take for them to get there? People rarely succeed from luck alone, but we don’t pay attention to all the failures and setbacks they faced along the way. We only look at where they are now.
The final thing to consider is that everyone has to do things at their own pace. Wherever you are in life is fine. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time or choosing a non-traditional path. All that matters is that you are exactly where you need to be at this moment.
Fake it ‘Til You Make it
Sometimes faking it helps. Pretending you know what you’re doing often makes you realize that you really do know what you are doing. And even if it doesn’t, fake confidence sometimes breeds real confidence.
If you don’t have any belief in yourself – fake it! Pretend that you do. Act like you do. Changing your mindset to believe in yourself might involve tricking yourself, and that’s fine! Whatever works, right?
Be Purposeful with Body Language
Stop slouching. Sit up straight. Roll your shoulders back. Open your body up and own the space that you are in.
It may seem silly – but being intentional about the way you take up space can do wonders for your self-esteem. Pay attention to how you present yourself. Are you always trying to be small? Take up as little space as possible? Stop! Imagine you have the confidence of a man on a subway and give yourself permission to exist in the space that you need. Acknowledging that you have the right to just be will help you believe in yourself in general.
Give Yourself a Boost
Do you have a favorite shirt that you think looks great on you? Do you love the way you feel when you style your hair a certain way, or do your make-up in a certain way? Then do those things!
Sometimes a wardrobe change or a new hairstyle can help you build confidence. Take advantage of that. Own your personal style. Wear the things you love, and feel great in them. Feeling great about how you look can boost your confidence, even if just for a little while.
Maintain a Positive Mindset
Positive thinking helps. I know it sounds new-agey, but it’s been around for a long time. It’s also been shown by medicine to work.
Sometimes it can be hard to only think positive thoughts. I’ve found that journaling helps with this. I use my journal to write out positive affirmations, daily goals, and to express gratitude. Writing these positive thoughts down helps me remember them throughout the day.
I also set daily intentions and goals to be more positive. Having a reaffirming intention that I can fall back to when things seem negative helps way more than I ever realized it could.
Let’s be real. Sometimes your self-esteem issues are really bad, and no amount of positive thinking, journaling, or faking it is going to make it better. You may be struggling with depression or anxiety, which might be limiting your ability to believe in yourself.
There’s a stigma against therapy and it needs to go away. Whether your lack of confidence is related to mental illness or not, seeking therapy can help you if you can’t help yourself. I’ve seen a therapist for a multitude of issues ranging from codependency to imposter syndrome, to just needing someone to be in my corner. There’s no shame in getting the help that you need. Trust me, it will make your life so much better.
What are the Limitations of Self-Belief?
Obviously, it’s great to believe in yourself and your abilities, but like anything, there are caveats and limitations.
First, don’t get cocky. There’s a line between confidence and arrogance. Believing in yourself has nothing to do with putting others down or acting like you are better than everyone else. Make sure that your ego doesn’t cause you to act inappropriately.
Second, be realistic. No amount of believing in yourself will give you the ability to fly. It’s fine to set lofty goals, but be sure to consider your skills and abilities first. You don’t want your goals to be so lofty that they are impossible to obtain.
Believe in Yourself Quotes
To give you some extra motivation to believe in yourself starting today, here’s a small compilation of my favorite quotes related to believing in yourself. These quotes come from athletes, artists, leaders, and even fictional characters. But many of them have helped me get through rough times and throw off self-doubt, so I hope they help you as well.
Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.
Venus Williams is one of the greatest athletes of our generation. Unfortunately, she met a lot of resistance for being so great in a sport dominated by white men. Her and her sister faced adversity in their rise to fame, but they never let it get to them. They believed in themselves, even when some people called that “attitude”.
This quote speaks to me, as a woman who has been called “bossy” while male counterparts were called “being leaders”.
Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it.
Diane Sawyer paved the way for women in broadcasting. At a time when no other women were taken seriously as news anchors, she believed in herself. She broke the glass ceiling in news and became the first woman to host the prestigious 60 minutes.
Sawyer realized that she had an equal right to a career in broadcasting, and she set her mind to accomplish it.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
-Vincent Van Gogh
I love this quote because it’s about Van Gogh subverting his own expectations and going against the nit-picky voice in his head that tells him “no”. We all have it. That tiny voice in the back of our minds, echoing our biggest critics, that tells us we can’t, we’re failures, we’re no good. Sometimes the best way to shut that voice up is to prove it wrong. Do the thing that the voice is saying you can’t do. Prove it wrong.
Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?
-Jon Bon Jovi
If you don’t believe in yourself and your own dreams, who will? That is the absolute truth. You are the owner of your own life. You know what you are capable of. So why not believe in yourself and go after it? No one else will do it for you.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote by Emerson is less about believing in yourself, and more about just being yourself. I think they are very closely related though. You need to have the confidence that you are good enough in order to be who you want to be.
It’s true that the world is designed to pigeonhole us into certain roles and responsibilities. We have a life script that we’re supposed to follow, and society gets upset with us if we stray from it. True happiness and true self actualization come from throwing that all off and being yourself, even when the world tries to hold you back. Believe in yourself enough to do it.
It’s no good being too easily swayed by people’s opinions. You have to believe in yourself.
Everyone has an opinion. If you told your idea to ten different people, you’d have ten different ways you can fail. Naysayers run rampant.
I would have never started Partners in Fire or started pursuing financial independence if I had listened to everyone who told me both things were silly and unachievable. My brother told me just last month that relying on online income would be a stupid idea (like relying on the generosity of an employer is any better!).
You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
I love this quote because so many of us are wrapped up in what others think. The thing is, they usually aren’t thinking of us at all. We think they are, because our world revolves around ourselves, but really, their world doesn’t revolve around us.
Life is so much more fulfilling when we realize that no one actually really cares. We can do what we want and stop worrying about the opinions of others. This freedom gives us the opportunity to believe in our own hopes and dreams, and to achieve them.
If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything
-Marty McFly, Back to the Future
My first experience with learning to believe in yourself is from the 1980s hit Back to the Future. Marty told his father, George, he could accomplish anything if he just believed (while stuck in the past and trying to get his parents together), and later, in the future, George told Marty the same thing (where did the phrase come from if Marty told his dad in the past, who then told him in the future?).
Time travel physics aside, believing in yourself will help you achieve your goals. So it’s time to get put aside that self-doubt and start working towards everything that you want.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.