What Does It Take to Believe in Yourself?

by Yen Uy


[photo credits] Photo by Jaime Reimer on Pexels

I’ve always admired people who can easily do what they set out to do. When a person can just dream up something and make it happen, I feel a sense of awe at their level of personal self-belief. If you’re like me, I find it challenging to dream up something that does not currently exist in my personal world, and even more to intentionally make it a reality.

So... what sets apart people who can make their dreams a reality? What can we learn from them so that we can inch closer to becoming authors of our own lives? An obvious quality worth looking into is their sense of self-belief. Self-belief is having a strong conviction that through your abilities, you can generate a successful outcome in what you set out to do. In my view, there are two main elements in self-belief: trusting in your own abilities and generating a successful outcome.

Trusting Your Own Abilities

How do you trust your own abilities? I mean, how do you genuinely do that? I’ve met people who, no matter what the outcome, have unwavering self-belief. This can be good when they can change the outcome from unfavorable to favorable. I think it’s a problem when the outcome does not improve at all, no matter how hard or how many times they try. Being able to genuinely trust our own abilities depends on our capability to learn. Whether we see it or not, our lives are full of learning opportunities. Do you learn from your failures, blame it on others, or give up entirely? If we have the perspective of learning when we judge our own abilities, we will be more effective at building genuine self-belief. This is because when we are able to learn, we can re-calibrate our responses and achieve better outcomes. This is the growth mindset Carol Dweck talks about in her book, Mindset. And over time, seeing that your actions lead to better outcomes over and over again, you feel good about yourself. Soon, you come to understand that it’s perfectly fine not to get it right the first time because you know that you will iterate. Honestly, isn't that liberating, too?

Generating a Successful Outcome

To generate a successful outcome, you must have a clear understanding of what "success" means to you. Having a learning approach to trusting your own abilities means that you must practice self-compassion. If your expectations are always too high, you will feel inadequate many times and it does not help the learning process. As you build your trust in your abilities and as you experience better outcomes, you can gradually start raising your definition of success. But first: be kind and forgiving of yourself. No one is perfect, keep that in mind. You will have a better sense of what you can accomplish in the next round of effort.

Key Takeaways to Believe in Yourself

Having the enthusiasm and openness to learn is fundamental to developing self-belief. Nobody knows everything from the beginning, but you need to be certain that you are willing to learn and that you are willing to figure things out along the way. Having self-compassion aides the whole process. Invest in a good relationship with failure--yes, you read that right!-- knowing that you’re just only a few iterations away from achieving your goal/s.