“Believe in yourself”.
How many times have you heard that mantra preached to you? I’ve lost count of the times I have.
I think a more accurate, helpful phrase might be
‘Trust In Yourself’
You see I’ve always a great believer in encouragement. I’ve always been an optimist when it comes to other people. I have great belief in others potential. I love to encourage others, and I have great confidence in others ability to grow and thrive.
But I have none for myself.
If someone said to me what I said to others, I’d have a big problem believing them. Because I lack confidence in myself and my work. Because I find it easier to be confident for others than it is to be confident in myself.
Have you ever experienced this?
I honestly thought I was alone in having this experience. I thought everyone else was confident, or, at least, more confident than me. Everyone else who encouraged was sharing that encouragement through their own self-confidence.
Turns out I was spectacularly wrong.
I shared my story in a private group of writers, thinking no one would understand. Thinking I’d be rejected, lose the respect of my peers.
I thought, “No one else could be this crazy…”.
But the response I got was completely different. What I got was empathy. Fellow writers saying they were glad they weren’t alone, that it was a relief for someone to finally say what they had felt for a while.
It was a huge relief. Suddenly I felt a solidarity I’d not had before. It reframed the whole discussion. Now I saw that this might well be a hidden struggle many have, but never share – out of fear.
Fear of losing credibility. And above all, fear of feeling more alone than ever.
Faith It Till You Make It?
So now we know we’re not alone. How do we deal with this going forward?
Well I’m not going to offer any ‘formulaic’ solutions.
But first of all, know if you feel this way, you aren’t alone. It’s actually more common than you think. And if no one else, you can always connect with me if you feel no one else understands. But if you dare to share about this, I think you’ll find you’re less alone than you think.
So, a way into seeing a way forward, is to ask ourselves why it’s so tough to believe good things about ourselves. And in my experience, one reason we struggle to believe in ourselves is because we know what we’re really like. (you can tweet that).
We know what goes on in our heads which we’d rather no one knew.
We know our bad habits, and the things we think which scare us.
We know what we can be like at our worst.
And as a result, it’s easy to think we’re not good enough. All consumer culture does is tell us we’re not good enough and we need ‘XYZ’ product to fix problems – is it any wonder we’re so collectively insecure?
If it sounds like I still have low self-confidence, you’d be right. Of course, my chance hasn’t gone. I’m not yet 40, I’ve still got decades ahead. But I still have low-self confidence. What I’ve been learning though is that you can’t wait till you’re confident to start going for it with your work. Sometimes, you simply have to take a step of faith. And if good friends, people you trust and know you, are offering that encouragement, choose to believe it. Even if everything inside you is screaming it’s a lie.
There is an old phrase, ‘fake it to make it’. But it’s quite a deceptive phrase. ‘Faking it’ in this sense is merely taking a step of faith, choosing to trust the encouragement of others and forge your own path.
Just last week, a friend of mine gave me incredible encouragement and support, and some great wisdom on how to move forward – we must not let the past and the old messages own us.
We have to be bold, take a step of faith and see where it takes us.
We need to trust ourselves.
Maybe we need to ‘Faith It Till We Make It’. To trust in ourselves even if we don’t believe in ourselves. After all, many of us are the same boat. We love to encourage and struggle with believing others encouragement. So today, let’s choose to trust others encouragement.
And let’s never forget to keep encouraging them to take their own steps of faith.
We might fall. We might fly. But either way, we’ll grow. And we’ll do it together.
Because trying and failing is better than not jumping at all.
Are you with me?
Question For Reflection:
Do you struggle with this issue? How can you practically take steps of faith & encourage others better?
Let me know in the comments below!
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(Picture Sources: Pixabay)