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Published on April 16, 2020

How to Develop Self-Belief in 8 Steps

How to Develop Self-Belief in 8 Steps

Many people believe that a strong belief in one’s self is something we are born with. This suggests that people without self-belief can never develop one and are stuck living with having low self-esteem.

This, however, is wrong. self-belief is something that can be developed and rebuilt if lost.

So, if you do not believe in yourself or have lost your self-belief, remember that you can regain it with the right steps and actions.

For the importance of self-belief, circumstances that can make a person lose her self-belief, and how belief in one’s self can be redeveloped, keep reading below.

Why is Self-Belief Important?

As the name suggests, self-belief has to do with how much a person believes in herself. It encompasses the belief in your values, skills, knowledge, and abilities. Self-believe is very important because it affects a person’s lifestyle and choices.

A person without self-belief will constantly downplay their abilities while settling for less than what they deserve. Most times, the individual takes whatever blow life deals because they do not believe that they deserve better.

On the other hand, a person with self-belief knows their worth and value.

For instance, when people with no self-belief see a job vacancy with the skills they possess, they may pass up on it or apply half-heartedly because they believe that they are not good enough for the job.

People with self-belief, on the other hand, will pursue the job wholeheartedly because they believe that they are well-qualified for the job.

In the end, people without self-belief may end up working a low paying job and living at the mercy of others for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, people with self-belief will move from that job to a better one and might eventually get to the peak of their careers.

This example shows that while self-belief might seem small or inconsequential, it can affect our entire lives both directly and indirectly.

Self-belief motivates people to explore their potentials and this motivation may lead to the achievement of goals and aspirations.

Why Do Some People Lack Self-Belief?

No one is born without self-belief. Most times, we find ourselves in certain situations and circumstances that can negatively affect our self-esteem – either temporarily or in the long run.

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To rebuild your self-belief, understanding the circumstance that made you lose it can help you learn how to proceed.

Here’re some common causes of lack of self-belief:

1. Unhappy Homes

Growing up in an unhappy home can reduce a person’s belief in herself. This is because as kids, the way you are treated by others, especially by your family, majorly influences the way you view yourself.

Kids who grow up with parents who never commend or congratulate them (but complain and tear them down) grow up lacking confidence in themselves.

2. Negative Peers

Being surrounded by people who constantly discourage you and make you feel like you are not good enough can make you lose confidence in yourself.

Sometimes, your peers may even convince you to do things you are not comfortable with and when you refuse, they may say and do things to make you feel odd. In order to fit in, you may find yourself abandoning your morals and values to please them. This can damage a person’s self-belief in the long run.

If you have a hard time distancing yourself from negative peers, reading this article about avoiding negative people may be helpful: 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

3. Traumatic Experiences

Physical and emotional abuse can tear down a person’s self-belief. If you have a partner who makes you feel like you are not good enough to attract and keep their attention, it may extend to you feeling like you are not good enough for anyone or anything.

Also, people who experience physical abuse may suffer from depression and anxiety, which will gradually eat away their self-esteem. Eventually, such an experience will make them feel unworthy of their goals.

4. Bad Decisions

Some bad decisions made in the past can affect a person’s belief in herself and cause them to doubt their ability to make decisions in the future. This mostly happens when the decision made turns out to have consequences that affect not just the person but also their loved ones.

For instance, a mother decides to move abroad with her children in hopes of finding greener pastures for them, but the father disagrees. After arguing for a while, the father gives in and loans some money to sponsor the trip. When they travel, the mother is unable to find a good job so her plan fails.

The failure of this plan, the disappointment, and the losses incurred might make her doubt her ability to make the right decisions in the future.

5. Negative Thought Patterns

If you always think of the worst-case scenarios, especially when it comes to yourself, chances are that you will lose confidence in yourself.

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If before a job interview, the only thing you can think of is all the mistakes you might make or how you might not be as good as other candidates, you will most likely take in that energy and discourage your interviewers.

Over time, such negative thought patterns might lead you to feel unworthy and inferior to everyone else. That is why you need to think positively and eliminate negative thoughts.

How To Develop Self-Belief

Once you understand the reason behind your lack of self-belief, you can proceed to work on how to build it.

Here are 8 ways to help you develop self-belief.

1. Know Who You Want to Be

When self-doubt or self-pity is not eating at you, who would you like to be? If you were not afraid, what would you do?

Boldly answering these questions is the first step to rebuilding your self-belief. This is because the doubts and negative thought patterns, over time, bury the real you along with your goals and dreams.

To gain self-belief, you need to work towards these goals while pushing away low self-esteem. So, give yourself the space to dream a little, and make a list of all the things you would like to achieve and believe. In the process of doing this, whenever self-doubts spring up, push them away until you create a comprehensive list.

2. Affirm Yourself

Self-affirmations are strong tools that reinforce your belief in yourself. This is because as humans, our self-image influences our behavior. If you see yourself as one of the most good looking people in the world, you will definitely behave like one.

And if you see yourself as the future CEO of a company, you will also act like one. So, what you need to do is see yourself as someone worthy and amazing.

Affirmations can help you create that image. They are positive statements that knock out doubts, especially when recited aloud and with belief.

For example:

“I am worthy of everything I desire.” “I am smart enough to achieve my goals.” “I deserve all the best things life has to offer.” “And I will put forth effort daily to meet one specific desire and one specific goal to experience the best things.”

So make a list of affirmations, stand in front of your mirror and say these words to yourself. It does not have to be lengthy. Just four uplifting sentences can help you feel prepared to conquer the world each day.

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3. Face Your Fears

One effective way to develop self-belief is by facing your fears.

You do not have to face them all at once or go for the scariest first. You can choose to start little by little.

Start by figuring out the source of your self-doubt and tackling that problem. If your parent’s treatment of you as a kid is the reason you lost confidence in yourself, approach them and speak to them about it. Do not be afraid of being censored. Expressing yourself might help you get the weight off your chest.

Next, face the fear of failing to achieve your goals. Go for that interview and give it your best. Address that board of directors with your ideas and innovations. Walk out of that relationship that constantly beats on your self-esteem.

Once you face and conquer your fears, self-doubt will flee.

4. Address Your Inner Critic

If society is the reason behind your loss of self-belief, it can easily be addressed and rebuilt. If you are your own critic, however, your confidence cannot be regained if you do not shut off the criticizing voice in your head.

Most times, the lack of belief in oneself is a result of an overactive inner critic. You might have this amazing idea but while creating the proposal, you may start wondering if the idea is good enough. You then start to convince yourself that the proposal is not good enough, discarding the sheet of paper, and keeping the idea under lock and key.

Addressing your inner critic is crucial because until you do, you may keep undermining your abilities and settling for less than you deserve.

So when your inner critic asks you “why would they pick me for the job?”, ask yourself, “why shouldn’t they pick me for the job?”

And then go on to count out all the reasons why you are qualified for the position. Doing this repeatedly will shut your inner critic up and build your self-belief tremendously.

5. Be Prepared to Win

Before you take a step towards your goals and aspirations, make sure you are all set up to win.

Do not take things on a whim or have a ‘winging it’ mindset because these often result in failure. Instead, study hard for that exam, prepare to provide all the best answers at that interview, make an impressive presentation for that meeting, and cut off acquaintances who fill your mind with negative thoughts.

Preparing to win also fills you with confidence that will encourage you to put in the extra effort to achieve your goals.

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6. Encourage Others

Do you know that encouraging others can change your mindset about success? Most times, loss of self-belief can also lead to losing faith in other people’s abilities.

You might find yourself constantly discouraging people against going after their dreams because you doubt that they can achieve them. So make an effort to see success as something anyone can achieve.

Encourage your friends and family, and your mindset about success will also change over time. Soon your encouragements will turn inwards, and you will start feeling motivated to achieve your own goals.

7. Take Care of Yourself

To develop your self-belief, you need to take care of yourself and not just mentally and emotionally. Physical care can go a long way toward influencing your mental and emotional health.

So, go to a spa and get a massage. Go shopping for outfits that make you feel good and do your hair. Register at the gym, eat healthily and make sure you get enough rest. Also, talk to a therapist or join a support group.

Looking good and feeling good will surely help boost your self-confidence.

8. Cut Off Negative Acquaintances

So-called friends who make you feel unworthy or not good enough through their words or actions should be cut off. This is because keeping such people around you will destroy every effort you make to rebuild your self-esteem.

It should not matter who they are to you because if they cared about you in the same way, they would treat you better. So, make a decision to avoid them.

If your family are the ones treating you poorly, speak to them about it, and make it clear that you will not tolerate negativity in your life. If your partner is physically or emotionally abusive, cut the person off too because until you do, your self-belief may never grow.

While distancing yourself from negative acquaintances, draw your loving friends and family closer and cultivate healthy relationships.

Final Thoughts

Marilyn Monroe once said

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

So, if the reason you lost your self-belief is that you believe others are better than you, you need to make a conscious effort into changing that mindset.

Think of all the amazing things you can do that other people cannot. And remind yourself that you are just as deserving as the next person.

More Tips About Strengthening Your Self-Belief

Featured photo credit: Conner Ching via unsplash.com

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Jacqueline T. Hill

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

10 Ways to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

10 Ways to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

Whenever you hit a rough patch in life, it can seem like the problems you’re confronting are unique to you and that the whole world is closing in. It might be that you are struggling to find a way out and just can’t see the light of hope anywhere when the going gets tough.

Thankfully, although you might not see it, there is always hope. Nothing lasts forever—not even bad times—and doing things like remembering why you started in the first place and practicing using your courage muscle are just a couple of things that can shorten the difficult times.

If you could find a way to not only survive but thrive when the going gets tough, how would your life change for the better?

Here are ten ways you can do to make that happen today.

1. Realize How Far You Have Come

Whenever you get discouraged on the path to wherever you want to go, it is usually because you are only looking forward, not around you or behind you. Your journey through life will last until your final day, so it is no wonder that you still see a long and sometimes daunting path ahead.

To keep going despite this, it’s important to take a moment or two to look around. Look at where you are standing now compared to when you first started. Look at how far you have come since you first began. Look at how many obstacles and challenges are behind you that you managed to overcome successfully.

The benefits of reflective practice are also extensive, and it is little wonder why.[1]

Looking back at how far you have come is usually the fire you need to keep on burning brightly into the future.

2. Remember Why You Started

When the going gets tough, you need something to cling to in order to keep your grit and remind yourself why you started doing something in the first place. Without this all-important “why, you will be quick to wander from your path.

Whenever things are at their worst, your number one reason for doing the thing is going to be what pulls you through.

As ex-Navy Seal and motivation master David Goggins puts it:

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“‘Why am I here?’ If you know that moment is coming and have your answer ready, you will be equipped to make the split-second decision to ignore your weakened mind and keep moving. Know why you’re in the fight to stay in the fight!”

Sometimes, life can be a bit of a fight, especially within yourself. So, having your reasons for continuing will always help pull you out when times are tough. Try writing these down and posting them in places you look at every day to help them have even more impact.

3. Make It a Habit to Move Forward

Habits are some of the strongest behavioral predictors that we have. Most of our habits happen in our subconscious and are triggered by external or internal cues.

The great thing about habits is that they can be formed through conscious, repeated behaviors, and when practiced enough, they can eventually take their place in the subconscious and guide your life.

Of course, you want good habits to be guiding your life in the background, not bad ones. That’s why it’s a good idea to make it a habit to always move forward.

Contrary to what most people say, moving forward doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be better every single day for the rest of your life. There are going to be slip-ups, bad days, and circumstances that blow you off course.

Moving forward is all about getting back on track as fast as possible. If you can make that a habit, you can always get closer to where you want to go.

4. Use ‘If-Then’ Planning

When the going gets tough in your life, one of the most effective frameworks that you can put into place is called the ‘if-then’ planning.

This is the simplified version of something called Implementation Intention, a concept created by psychologist Peter Gollwitzer in the mid-’90s.[2] It helps you to make sense of confusing situations and to be able to take action when you are really struggling.

The simplified process is as follows:

“If x happens, I will do y.”

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For example:

“If I start to have negative thoughts, I will take ten seconds to just breathe.”

“If I feel extremely stressed for three days in a row, I will take the fourth day off to recover and reset.”

If-then planning puts a strategy in place for when times are tough. It takes away the element of thinking, planning, and worrying as you already know exactly what you need to do in each situation.

The beauty of using if-then is that you can change the if and then for different situations based on whatever works best for you at any given moment.

5. Find Some Mentors

With the internet becoming more expansive and accessible as it has ever been, there are so many ways to get a peek into the world’s top minds and see what they do in their own lives when the going gets tough.

Most successful people have had to overcome some serious struggles to get to where they are. Do a simple search online, and you will no doubt find out about all of the challenges that your favorite people have had to overcome.

Because of this, you should try to take inspiration from these people and find your own mentors. It’s worth recognizing that nobody trying to live their best life can ever get through it without their fair share of challenges to overcome. That’s just part of the hero’s journey.

6. Get out of Your Head

Sometimes, all of the reasoning, thinking, planning, and ruminating in the world doesn’t get you anywhere. In fact, for the serial thinkers and problem-solvers out there, it is oftentimes that too much time in your head results in even more struggle rather than a release of it.

Yes, some things can be solved by thinking. But when the going gets really tough, it is usually just pure heart, emotion, and grit that are going to carry you through. Your mind can become a tyrant, and it is worth being aware of this.

When you feel your own thoughts weighing you down and can’t stop the incessant thinking and worrying about the past, present, and/or future, it is time to step out of your mind for a little while and get into your body. Lift some weights, go for a run, or take a pleasant walk.

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The mind and body are much more connected than most people think—especially when it comes to emotions and fears and doing something beneficial for the body often benefits the unsettled mind as well.[3]

7. Ruthlessly Forgive Yourself

One of the worst things you can do when the going gets tough is to come down hard on yourself. Everyone has these external and internal struggles, and the harder you are on yourself for having them, the more difficult and traumatic the episodes will be when you inevitably slip up.

A lot of people are far harder on themselves than they are on other people, and to keep going in tough times, you need to be just as empathetic with yourself as you would be with your best friend.

Made a mistake? Forgive. Are you still giving yourself a hard time? Forgive. Are you still getting angry over small things “even though we talked about this”? Forgive.

The hard times are much easier to get through when you are at peace with yourself. You will be astonished by how much less pressure you feel when this happens.

8. Take Smaller Steps

It is common for people to stumble in life because they are simply taking on too much at once. Whether it be too much ambition, unrealistic expectations of themselves or others, or some extra curveballs, big steps can sometimes be too much to take.

The truth about big steps is that they are rare, disruptive, and difficult to keep up without crumbling. The big steps—the real life-changing goals and dreams that you have—can often be broken into much smaller steps that are more manageable and that will get you to the same place.

If the going is getting particularly tough, it might be the case that you are simply trying to do too much at once. Try taking smaller, more manageable steps, and see if obstacles and difficulties become easier to navigate.

9. Use Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Everyone will agree that the courage we have stored within ourselves is often finite and difficult to sustain for long periods. We tend to think that making a big change in our life and getting out of a rut requires courage for long periods that we simply cannot manage.

The good news is that this isn’t true. Most of the pivotal moments of change in your life—including pulling yourself out of a hole when the going gets tough—come from small, courageous decisions in short, precise moments.

Quite often, using twenty seconds of insane courage when it is needed is enough to completely change the trajectory of our lives. Whether it be asking for that promotion, deciding to go to the gym for the first time in months, or having the courage to break through your insecurities and ask someone out, most of these only require a few seconds of insane courage.

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Standing up and walking into your boss’s office, getting the gym kit on, picking up the phone or sending the text—you only have to be courageous in these few moments, and then you can relax and let life unfold.

Twenty seconds? You can do that, easily.

10. Accept That Your Motivation Will Wane

One of the main reasons that people get discouraged and struggle to keep going in hard times is that they never expected their motivation to dip.

When we start a project or enter a relationship or take something new and exciting on in our lives, our motivation is high, and we are in a mindset of excitement. We start thinking about all of the positives that could come from these things.

However, as time wears on, motivation levels inevitably drop, and you start to focus on the negatives of what’s happening or the added responsibility that you forgot to consider.

When this happens, you have two choices:

  1. You can put on your rose-colored glasses of the past and falsely remember how perfect everything was;
  2. Or you can put on your realistic glasses, face the difficulties, and keep moving forward into something better.

The true test of character comes when you hit a dip, motivation wanes, and you just don’t feel like doing stuff anymore. The secret is to realize that all of this is temporary and that you don’t need motivation to act.

It’s nice to have motivation, but the true test of character comes when motivation inevitably wanes. In those moments, will you keep going?

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Each of these ten ideas for how to keep going when the going gets tough is versatile enough to be applied to almost any difficult situation that you find yourself in.

Life is going to present many difficulties. This isn’t something to fear but something to embrace. With these steps, you can navigate these stormy waters a little easier.

More Inspirations to Help You Stay Strong

Featured photo credit: Gaelle Marcel via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: What Is Self-Reflection and Why It Matters For Wellness
[2] American Psychologist: Implementation Intentions: Strong Effects of Simple Plans
[3] The International Journal of Psychoanalysis: Emotional Processing: The Mind-Body Connection

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