Believing in yourself not only helps to improve your confidence, it can also improve your ability to succeed. However, achieving self belief is not easy for everyone, and negative thoughts can make us doubt ourselves quite often.
One way to grow your self belief is to work on your self efficacy. Self efficacy is all about believing in your ability to get things done. It is different to self esteem, which is to do with how you feel about yourself and the worth or value you place on yourself as a person. Self efficacy refers to behaviour, and your ability to do certain things (such as learning something new, preparing for an exam, or doing well in a work presentation). Sometimes we need to ask for help, but this isn’t a sign of failure. In fact, successful people got where they are by knowing when to ask for help when they needed it.
Why is self belief important?
Believing in yourself is important because it influences how we handle stress and meet challenges in life. It can impact on our resilience and determine how well we overcome difficulties and adapt to new situations.
Your level of self belief can also influence how hard you work towards something. The more belief you have in yourself, the more likely it is that you feel driven to work through challenges on your own, or even take on the challenge of teaching yourself something new. It’s also important to decide before you start out on a challenge that you won’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out: that way the challenge is less scary. All you can do is try your best.
Four ways to grow your self belief
These four steps can not only help you to learn to believe in yourself, it can also help to improve your abilities as you gain more confidence and more experience.
1. Gain experience
The best way to improve in something is to get out there and do it, and the only way to learn is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and have new experiences. If you decide you want to be an actor, for example, you could try reading books about acting, but you’re much more likely to learn if you join an improv class. The more you go and practice, the more you improve, the more likely you are to succeed. This can show you that you are capable, even if it seemed difficult at first.
If it seems overwhelming, just focus on the next simple step you need to take. In the example above, searching online for an improv class is the first simple step, booking the class is next and so on. By looking at it in terms of the simple steps and not the whole project, you’re more likely to keep going.
2. Learn from others
Finding a role model who does what you want to do, and who is really good at it, can be a great way to learn in itself. By watching, observing or listening to others who have succeeded, we can learn a lot from both their achievements and their failures. For example, a young entrepreneur might read the autobiography of a successful business person who has overcome a lot of challenges to get where they are today and try to learn from their journey.
If you know someone who does things well, ask yourself what would they advise you to do about a particular task or problem, if you can’t ask them in person.
3. Surround yourself with supportive people
Having people around you who support you and encourage you can have a really positive impact on your self belief. When friends and family believe in us and want us to do well, it can give us the energy to keep going, even when we have moments of self doubt. On the other hand, if friends and family constantly criticise us or put us down, it can be hard to keep going and continue to believe in ourselves, especially when it feels like no one else does.
Choose friends who bring positivity to your life and who want to see you grow, and you are more likely to see an improvement in your self belief.
If someone in your life has been critical of you, talk to them about it. They might not realise how hard they’ve been on you, and asking them to be more supportive might lead them to change their behaviour.
4. Pay attention to how you feel
How we are feeling can greatly impact how we judge our own abilities. If you’re feeling highly stressed, anxious or depressed, your self belief might not be very high. However, if you’re in a positive mood, then you might have more confidence in your abilities to succeed. For example, someone going into an exam feeling positive is more likely to believe that they will pass than someone who goes in feeling stressed or or anxious. This attitude that they bring in with them can impact on their performance.
If you’re feeling down or stressed out, this can hold you back from really believing in yourself. If you can, try to take a step back. Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety and improving your mood can really help to improve your self belief.
Remember, feelings always change so if you are feeling negative now, this will probably be replaced by a positive feeling sooner or later (hopefully sooner). Positive feelings change too, so be sure to make the most of them.
Keep working on it
Gaining experience, learning from people who inspire you, spending time with positive people who encourage you, and paying attention to how you feel can all help to combat self-doubt and help you believe in yourself. These things can take time, but if you keep working on it, you will see results.
Talk to someone
If you’re really struggling with your confidence or self belief, and it’s impacting on your life, consider talking to someone about it. Talk to a friend or a family member, or consider going for counselling where you can talk about whatever is on your mind in a safe environment. People go to counsellors for a whole range of issues, and they are there to listen to you and to help you to deal with any negative thoughts or feelings you may have.
If you know someone who has gone to a counsellor you can ask them if they can recommend that person. Your GP could also recommend someone.