“Once you told yourself a story enough times, it was so easy to keep on believing it.”Scott Westerfeld
At a low point in my early 20s, one of my closest friends told me, “you might not be able to see it now, but please trust that everything will be alright in the end.” I didn’t believe her, but her words provided some comfort. I took what she said with me and repeated it back to myself every time I felt pain and struggle. I eventually learned that everything would be ok in the end because our emotions are temporary unless we choose to hold on to them. Unfavorable circumstances can be transient if we take thoughtful actions to change them. On the contrary, if we practice something negative in repetition, such as limiting beliefs and bad habits, then those things become our reality and impact how we proceed with life.
Many people hope to gain more confidence to better navigate careers and life and find happiness. But we need to realize that confidence can’t happen if we repeat the same negative inner narratives over and over again. When we become a prisoner of negative thoughts, we are confined by the false tale in our heads. That’s when we get stuck. The fact is, we have a choice with what we tell ourselves and what to believe in.
If you are reading this blog, chances are you are looking to gain information on the topic of confidence. Applaud yourself for taking this step. Next, become curious about your self-limiting views and have the courage to confront them. Stop the excuses that getting rid of the old script you know so well is impossible, and be accountable for unlearning thoughts and patterns that don’t serve you. Establish new habits and beliefs that build confidence and liberate you from the invisible shackle that’s been holding you back. Have faith in yourself and advocate for yourself as you would for people you care deeply about. The following are three actionable steps to help you do just that!
#1 Challenge and combat your self-doubt.
You weren’t born with the belief system you have right now. You learned it as a child from the adults around you, as well as through social conditioning. You adapted many great values from this learning process as well as beliefs that are debatable, such as failure is bad, self-sacrifice is revered, being liked is how you get acceptance, and work is your identity and measures your worth. If you trust everything that is passed down to you, that will shape your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions. Anytime you risk that belief system, your inner critic will get loud through self-doubt and urge you not to deviate. Inner criticism and self-doubts could serve as a reminder to stay humble and kind and be aware of risks, but leaning into them completely could take a toll on your self-worth and mental health. You don’t have to be an enemy to them, but understand where they come from and challenge the ones that withhold you from living your life fully. Read this blog for tips on how to challenge and combat your self-doubt.
“When self-doubt creeps in, don’t ignore it – address it. Respond to harsh self-criticism with something more compassionate. Talk to yourself like a trusted friend and refuse to believe your unrealistic, negative inner monologue.”Amy Morin
#2 Create and champion new beliefs.
You want beliefs that foster personal growth and motivate you to be the person you want to be. Become aware of unhelpful narratives and patterns, and ask yourself, how do I replace these old stories? Remember, the ones you have right now were passed down from someone else. You can modify and create your own.
Here are examples of how you reframe and create new beliefs:
Old belief – “Failure is bad.”
New belief – “Failure is a part of life, and I promise myself to always fail forward* to get closer to my success.”
Old belief – “Self-sacrifice is revered.”
New belief – “I can be a considerate and kind person without self-sacrificing and breaching my boundaries.”
Old belief – “Being liked is how I get acceptance.”
New belief – “Being liked is nice, but I want to feel I belong without people-pleasing.”
Old belief – “Work is my identity and measures my worth.”
New belief – “My identity and worth come from my decision as to who I want to be and how I feel about myself.”
Champion your new beliefs instead of carrying someone else’s because you feel that’s expected of you. Give yourself permission to choose what serves you best. The pen is in your hand, and the blank page is in front of you. Write a great story for yourself and turn it into your reality. If you have a hard time with this one, talk to those you trust but are unbiased about your circumstances. Coaching is a great place for this type of support.
*“Failing forward” is a term coined by John C Maxwell that encourages you to value every failure for the lessons learned and then apply those experiences in future efforts.
“You were born free like water. But then you were directed into a canal (belief system). At some point of life, you must break away from the canal and find your own banks, your own truths.”Shunya
#3 Cultivate self-trust.
Focus on how far you’ve come and practice trusting yourself. Make a list of things you are proud of about yourself and the qualities you appreciate about yourself. You are unique and talented, and no one else in this world shares the same set of skills, experience, outlook, and values as you. Thinking about what you want to do with your gift and how you want to leverage your strength to create a life you love is a much more useful way to spend your time. Let go of past beliefs, habits, and routines that undermine your self-trust and put less weight on what others think of you. Truth be told, others don’t think about you as much as you do. When you are 80 years old, you are more inclined to care about how you’ve lived your life rather than if so and so liked you.
If you enjoy positive affirmations, here are a few just for you. What you say to yourself matters. If you can’t think of something nice to say, then use these affirmations. You can also make your own statements with which you believe and resonate. Remember, once you tell yourself something enough times, it becomes your truth.
- I release self-doubt and the desire to be perfect.
- I choose to trust myself and show up authentically.
- I appreciate my strengths.
- I have what it takes to be the best version of myself.
- I’m worthy, and I’m enough.
What is one thing you can start doing today to help you build self-trust and boost your confidence? Share that with me, and I’d love to learn from you. Book a consultation with our life coaches and learn how we can support you in letting go of self-doubt and increasing your confidence one step at a time.