Have you ever wondered how to believe in yourself when it feels like everyone around you is against you? The core mantra here at Vibe Shifting is that “If you can dream it and believe it, you can always achieve it!”, and I believe that 100%. But how do you get that first part down? How do you find ways to start believing in yourself when you just… don’t?
I want to believe, but…
I got a message from someone on Twitter the other day who wanted to know how to maintain unshakeable belief in herself and her dreams. It was the one thing she felt would make everything else easier to deal with.
I think it’s a sentiment we all understand. We know how important it is to believe in ourselves, but what so often happens is that the voices of doubt – both inside and outside of us – take hold and undermine that belief. We put more stock in the negative than we do in the positive.Don't let the voices of #doubt cloud your belief in yourself and your dreams. Click To Tweet
We touched on the reasons for this briefly in my podcast about dealing with other people’s disapproval, and the quick version is that our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative stuff and to downplay the importance of positive stuff, because the negative stuff could be dangerous (the technical term for this is “negativity bias”).
What “they” tell you
The other confounding factor with the whole problem of negativity bias is that so many of us are also fighting a lifetime of programming that tells us that that our dreams are impossible. How many of the following phrases have you heard in your lifetime?
- “That’s impossible. It’ll never happen.”
- “Stop kidding yourself.”
- “Who do you think you are?!”
- “It’s a nice hobby, but no one ever makes any money at it.”
- “Stop being so selfish and just be grateful for what you have!”
All of these phrases, and the thousands more like them that we’ve been listening to all our lives have had the effect of programming our subconscious minds to STOP believing in our dreams and abilities. And all of this programming continues to sabotage our self-esteem into adulthood.
5 tips to help you believe in yourself
Learning to deprogram yourself and rebuild your self-confidence after a lifetime of listening to this kind of stuff is possible. But you’re going to have to change your automated thought habits and that does take dedication and resolve.
Here’s how you can get started:
Tip #1: Surround yourself with positive people.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to surround yourself with the kind of people who will support your dreams and goals. Find people who have their own dreams and who are working to build something better with their own lives, because their energy and attitudes will rub off on you. The corollary to this, of course, is that you also need to avoid all those negative people who seem to get off on shooting down other people’s dreams and ideas (we all know people like this), because their energy and attitudes will just bring you down.
Tip #2: Focus on your successes.
Make a list of every great thing you’ve accomplished in your life – everything you’ve done that you’ve ever been proud of, or excited about. If you can’t think of any, then ask one of your positive-people friends what they think some of your greatest accomplishments were, or ask them what they think your greatest strengths are. Write it all down and refer to this list often to focus your mind on the fact that you HAVE had wonderful success in the past – it will help to program your mind into believing that you can create more success in the future!
Tip #3: Look at failure as a friend.
Most people fear failure. But failure is not your enemy – it’s just part and parcel of your learning curve; it’s a necessary and completely inevitable part of building your dream. Start viewing success as a process… one in which there will be many failures, many rejections, and many “NO”s. But every time a door gets closed, learn to see it as a sign that there is obviously a better way or a better road to get you to where you want to go. A roadblock doesn’t mean the trip is over… it means you haul out your map and find a different route!Failure is not your enemy. It's just a part of the PROCESS that is #success! Click To Tweet
Tip #4: Flip your funks.
When you start doubting yourself and thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “What if it doesn’t work?” start floating through your mind, catch yourself and stop for a moment. These are automated thought habits kicking in, and this is a chance to start reprogramming yourself in a better way. If you start thinking that you can’t do something, then flip it around and say to yourself “I can’t do this yet, but I can totally learn how!” If you’re worried that something might not work out, then tell yourself “Well, if this doesn’t work out, then I’ll try again another way!” Don’t get stuck in your funks – flip them around into something positive!
Tip #5: Stretch your comfort zone.
Comfort zones are… well, comfortable, and trying to move yourself out of yours is scary. But getting yourself out of the “same-old, same-old” routine is the only way that you will ever be able to build your dreams. Remind yourself that even if you’re scared, at least you’re doing something. Thomas Jefferson once said that “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Start small… do one little thing that scares you (make one cold call or send an email to a potential resource or client, for instance) and edge yourself out of your comfort zone. If you can get yourself to do something scary, despite your heart palpitations, you’ll quickly learn that you can survive the fear, and that after it’s done, it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Keep pushing your comfort zone boundaries, just a little bit, on a consistent basis and you’ll start believing that you CAN accomplish what you set out to!Do the scary things; you'll quickly learn that it's never as bad as you think it will be. #success Click To Tweet
Where there’s a will
Learning how to believe in yourself is critical because if you don’t believe that something is possible, you will never commit yourself to making it happen. When you do believe it’s possible, then nothing is going to stop you. Every roadblock and every hiccup you encounter will only serve to steel your resolve and spur you on to greater heights of creativity and ingenuity. You will become the poster child for the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
So there you have it – five tips to help you learn how to believe in yourself:
- Surround yourself with positive people;
- Focus on your successes;
- Look at failure as a friend;
- Flip your funks; and
- Stretch your comfort zone.
When you find yourself mired in self-doubt and fear, give these tips a try! If you’ve got one that isn’t listed here, be sure to share it in the comments section below…
Photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo (modified by me)