Feel Happier Personal Growth By Mary Jaksch By Eduard Ezeanu How do you actually come to believe in yourself? And how does this work exactly to help you get what you want? These are the questions that I’d like to answer, drawing from my experience as a confidence coach. I want to help you move from wanting to believe in yourself to genuinely believing in yourself and leveraging the amazing power of self-belief. Let’s start by taking a look at the mechanisms of self-belief. How Self-Belief Works Self-belief has a very interesting way of functioning. There are several positive things that it does, which in turn facilitate getting the results you want. 1. Self-belief helps you see opportunities. It is said that having clear goals helps you to notice those elements around you that can assist you in reaching them. Because the clarity of your goals gives meaning to those elements. And then if you make use of those elements, you will reach your goals. That is true, but clear goals by themselves are often not enough to help you spot opportunities. Many times if you have a clear goal but you don’t actually believe that you can achieve it, your mind will still fail to identify the opportunities around you. Lack of belief blinds you. Conversely, if you have clear goals and you believe you can reach them, then your mind has the highest possible amount of receptivity to elements that can help you reach your goals. Thus you’ll detect them quickly, even the subtle ones, and you’ll be able to employ them. 2. Self-belief facilitates finding creative solutions. When you approach a goal from with disbelief, you feel anxiety and your thinking gets clogged by it, which makes finding good solutions to reach that goal less probable. On the other hand, self-belief makes you relax and think clearly. It stimulates reasoning, memory and, above all, creativity. This makes it more likely that you’ll find good solutions to reach your goals. In particular, you’ll be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions that work really well. 3. Self-belief stimulates action and persistence. It’s hard to take action towards a goal if deep down you don’t truly believe you can achieve it. And it’s even harder to put in the consistent work that you need to put in, in order to reach any worthwhile goal. And when you fail to accomplish your goals, this way unfortunately confirm your lack of belief. However, if you believe in yourself, you’ll feel motivated to take action, you’ll stay motivated over long periods of time, and you won’t be discouraged by mistakes or setbacks. You’ll be inclined to simply see them as a part of the process, and you’ll keep going despite them, until you get what you want. This, of course, will reinforce your self-belief. 4. Self-belief makes others more responsive. Other people frequently play an important role in achieving your goals. In fact, many of your goals may refer to other people. And in general, others tend to react to you the way you believe they will. If you ask a person for something and you believe they’ll give it to you, they will sense the conviction in your voice and they’ll be more inclined to respond your request. Conversely, if you lack belief, your request will be hesitant, which will make it more likely to become rejected. If you talk to someone and you believe they will like you as you are, you’ll have a positive vibe, which will likely make them like you. But if you lack belief, you’ll act shy or you’ll try too hard to impress them, which will make them not like you. So that’s how self-belief works. In my view, it’s not sufficient by itself in order to get what you want. You still need to take action, persevere, and learn from your mistakes. Nevertheless, it opens up a wide path towards getting what you want. This leads me to my next point. Developing Self-Belief There are four ways to develop self-belief that work especially well. 1. Set bold but realistic goals. Sometimes when we set unrealistically high goals and we try to achieve them, we fail and our self-belief plummets. We demand too much, too fast, and it backfires. So from very high goals, we end up at having no goals whatsoever because we’ve lost faith in ourselves. The key for building self-belief is to set bold but realistic goals, and seek to achieve them. You will succeed in achieving most of these goals, which will build your self-belief. When you reach a goal, it’s okay to set an even higher one and push yourself even more. But the whole process is incremental. You gradually aim higher, and with each step forward you build self-belief. 2. Learn to see your accomplishments. In my experience most people who lack self-belief have a strong inclination to filter out the positive aspects about themselves. What about you? Do you see or acknowledge your achievements, or do you obsess about all your failures? If you do that, then when you look at yourself, all you see is failure, which means that you don’t believe in yourself. You need to reverse this process. Consciously work on identifying and acknowledging your results and strengths. Spend some time each day thinking about them, even if you’re not used to it and it feels unfamiliar. This will help incorporate your strengths and successes in your self-image and thus you’ll gradually begin to believe in yourself more and more. 3. Cut down on comparing yourself. Comparing yourself to others is like losing a battle. Because no matter how good you are at something, in this vast world, you will always find somebody who is better than you. Thus a lot of comparing yourself to others will make you feel as if you’re not really good at anything, which will sabotage your self-belief. That’s why it’s best to reduce comparing yourself. You will never eliminate it completely since it’s part of human nature, and you don’t need to either, but you can reduce it significantly. And you do so by giving your mind better things to do than to contrast you with others. Keep it busy with meaningful tasks and challenges, and it won’t have time for making futile comparisons. 4. Develop yourself. Last but not least, be a life-long learner and continually aim to better yourself. After all, self-belief is a reflection of how good you are at handling the various aspects of life. And the more you grow as a person, the more of a reason you have to believe in yourself. A word of caution, though… Developing yourself will not necessarily make you believe in yourself more. Because, as I said previously, your mind can filter out your achievements. So you have to combine developing yourself with consciously recognizing the ways you grow as a person. It is this combination of developing yourself, challenging yourself and deliberately thinking about yourself in more constructive ways that represents the ideal recipe for building self-belief. Put into practice these ideas and you’ll see your belief in yourself steadily improve. With more self-belief, you’ll be more confident and more motivated to go for what you want, and you’ll make better use of the resources existing all around you the get what you want in life. The world is your oyster and self-belief is the key that opens it. What is your experience of self- belief? Please share your thoughts and feelings in the comments. About the Author Eduard Ezeanu coaches people who see themselves as socially awkward and helps build social intelligence, become more social and improve their self-image. We also posts regularly on People Skills Decoded, his blog dedicated to the topic of social success.