Why Do We Believe In Ourselves?

4 steps to building self-confidence.


Believing in ourselves means we have confidence in our ability to accomplish something. However, many of us tend to think critically about ourselves and even doubt our own capabilities. These negative viewpoints stem from core beliefs that shape how we see ourselves and perceive situations. Core beliefs are formed throughout our childhood and are often difficult to change because they have been with us for a long time. Core beliefs are also tough to modify because they are often self-perpetuating. Negative core beliefs are reinforced when we blame ourselves for failures, which in turn, strengthens our self-limiting beliefs and deteriorates our self-confidence.


Our self-limiting beliefs can be hindering in both our work and personal life. Self-confidence is essential in making big decisions regarding entrepreneurship and in inspiring those around you. Self-confidence has also been linked to improved relationships and stronger motivations. On the other hand, a lack of self-confidence can impede you from fully executing your best performance. 


Self-confidence has been something I’ve been working to improve for a while now. We all have times where we catch ourselves comparing ourselves to someone, and thinking that this person is a lot better than what we could ever become. Or we might find ourselves feeling guilty for the smallest of mistakes and saying “I’m sorry” everyday. Even worse, there are times where we feel as if we are not capable or deserving of “more” and where we prioritize other people’s needs over our own. Even now, I am still working on this self-development process to become more confident in myself, and this process includes tackling many negative self-perceptions and self-limiting beliefs.


To overcome your self-limiting beliefs and build up self-confidence, it is important to realize that you are the driver of your success. Start by examining the limiting beliefs you have about yourself and replacing them with empowering beliefs. You can start this process by asking yourself questions to uncover the core beliefs that are shaping your self-doubt. You can then address these questions and reshape your patterns of thoughts to something positive. There are multiple ways to start building confidence, some of which are listed below.


FIND YOUR COMMUNITY


A way to gain self-confidence is to surround yourself with people who are supportive of you. Find people who inspire and elevate you. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and possess positive energy can help you understand more about them, learn how to be as successful as they are, and build your self-esteem. During the summer of my sophomore year, I worked at a sports clothing store with a team dedicated to our goal of empowering women. Not only did we strive to be supportive of our customers, we also had an environment where we were highly supportive of each other. My experience there has really been a keystone in helping me develop confidence in myself and appreciate the people around me. 


For you, community may look like connecting with other writers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Seek out people who share similar goals and values as you. You can learn from their successes and the steps they took to reach where they are today. These people who have already achieved goals similar to yours can be your mentors.


PLAN AND PRACTICE FOR SUCCESS


Confidence comes from preparation, so it should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to raise self-confidence is by doing. Practicing a task multiple times will help you feel more confident in completing that task well. If you are nervous about an upcoming event, such as speaking to a crowd or participating in a team meeting, practice and prepare beforehand. With proper preparation, you can alleviate some pressure off yourself and boost your confidence. Preparation will also make you feel like you have more control and ensure that you are ready to accomplish your given tasks. Take going to a meeting as an example. Meetings could often be stressful and challenging to your self-confidence, because everyone is expected to contribute to the conversation. I have had this problem myself. I was always scared to speak out during team meetings with the graduate research team I assist with in college because I was afraid that whatever I say might make me sound unknowledgable and oblivious. Before I head into a meeting, I do research on the topic in advance and prepare to contribute ideas and questions. This includes looking for and reading research articles related to the topic for that week’s discussion. This has helped me become more confident in my ability to speak and contribute to the discussion. 


CREATE SMART GOALS


Another way to raise self-confidence is to create goals for yourself. Creating or achieving goals, whether big or small, is a good way to enhance self-confidence because they allow you to measure your accomplishments. On the journey to achieving these goals, it is important to create smaller goals that might be within your reach. Setting smaller more achievable goals is an imperative step towards building self-confidence.Throughout the summer, I had decided that I wanted to work on improving my skills in data analysis. To accomplish this major goal, I started setting smaller, easily achievable goals down. For example, I would dedicate two to three weeks to study a specific data management language such as SQL with the goal of being able to write usable queries by the end of the period. By sticking with this plan, I was able to develop my personal expertise and feel accomplished, which raised my confidence in my own skills. Take those long term or abstract goals and break them down into smaller, more concrete smart goals. Make sure each of these short-term goals is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. By setting and completing attainable goals, you can bolster your confidence and bring you closer to achieving your long term goals. 


REMEMBER YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS


Build your self-confidence by remembering all your past accomplishments. Recognizing your strengths and remembering your successes will help you stay motivated and prevent yourself from feeling discouraged even in the face of hardship. Recall back all the small, concrete goals you have created for yourself and achieved. Use these accomplishments as fuel for your confidence, and repeat the cycle of constructing new goals, accomplishing them, and fortifying your confidence. 


For me, finding a community that inspires and supports me gives me the motivation to strive to become similar to the people I admire. Planning and practicing has given me the confidence to contribute in a group setting and has taught me to build my skills before I need them. This initiated me to start planning out smarter goals for myself to fulfill. Accomplishing these goals, in turn, strengthens my confidence in my capabilities and makes me feel more competent in the things I do. By replicating these steps, we can build our faith in our abilities and learn to start believing in ourselves.