Sometimes we forget who we really are — and all that we are capable of making happen. Or we begin to let all our mistakes or failures become who we think we really are. But of all the assets we bring to our lives — at work and beyond — the ability to believe in yourself is probably the most important.
Of course there are times when things in your life go wrong. Sometimes one after another until it seems like a failure pile-up. And some people start to blame themselves for what’s been happening — losing sight of past successes or personal talents.
You may even start thinking you deserve to be treated badly — after all, you didn’t live up to what was expected by yourself or others. But no matter how often you don’t meet expectations, you don’t deserve to be abused by anyone — including yourself!
Why you need to believe in yourself
It’s easy enough to say the words “I DO believe in myself” but that doesn’t mean deep down you actually do. Or at least you may have some serious doubts based on things you’ve been told or your own harsh judgments. Whether right on the surface or lurking deeper inside, there’s a good chance self-doubts are there — ready to grow bigger when things go wrong.
Even if you don’t believe it at first, after a while it starts to seep in. And you begin to accept what others are saying — even if it’s only one or two negative nellies. Or your own uninspiring accomplishments have made you less than sure of what you have to offer. And that can lead to a vicious cycle of creating even more bad feelings about who you are and what you’re capable of accomplishing in general.
The thing is … none of that is real. Who you are in a given job under certain circumstances is not all you are or what you are capable of. You need to remind yourself of good things you’ve made happen in the past. And people who do believe in you. And even times when you did believe in yourself.
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So what if you screwed up!
That doesn’t change who you are. Or what you have to offer in the future. But it may change how you feel about yourself. And that in turn can change how you act and think going forward. And even how you perform your job. (That vicious cycle thing.)
Everyone makes mistakes. In fact some of the most successful people (like Albert Einstein and Bill Gates) screwed up more than once. But those “failures” have one thing in common that helps them pick themselves up and get on with life: a belief that they can make good things happen for themselves and others. And being able to let go of what didn’t work (hopefully learn from it) and find things they care about to pursue.
Often when things keep going wrong for us, it’s an important clue that we may need to rethink things … and maybe aim our lives in a different direction. Or get ourselves some new skills we actually enjoy — and then go after what might truly make us happy. Even if it takes time.
It’s a strong belief in yourself that can get you over the hurdles and moving in a direction that can allow you to succeed. Even if you screw up again and again on that new path, at the very least you’re going after something you care about. And on the way there, you never know what other interesting opportunity might show up. Very little shows up when you’re stuck in a rut blaming yourself — or blaming your “bad luck”.
How younger years affect self belief
It can start really young. When we’re kids it’s so easy to feel like everything that goes wrong around us is our fault. Family problems. Parents fighting. Not getting top grades in school. And it’s also easy to store that inside as we build our sense of who we are as people.
As the years go on, if we already have a niggling sense that maybe we aren’t good enough, each failure or even simple mistakes get added to the “I’m not good enough” bank account. And all too often other people are happy to let us carry the blame if we don’t realize we can and should stand up for ourselves — at the very least standing up for ourselves inside of us if for some reason standing up otherwise could be harmful.
We also often forget to congratulate ourselves for the good things we do … and for our positive qualities. Even “small” things that make us who we really are can be big when you consider the whole person they create. Like being kind to others or taking care of someone who’s sick — or making a sad person smile. That should all go into the “I AM good enough” account.
It helps to remind yourself that you can choose which things in your life to give the most weight to without letting what others think guide you. And you can choose not to let judgmental idiots bring you down to their level. Best of all … you can also choose to move forward from this moment on to embrace and nurture things you truly care about — with YOU being one of those “things” — no matter how long it takes.
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