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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 November 6, 2020

Feeling Defeated in Life? 9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

Feeling Defeated in Life? 9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

The human feeling of wanting to achieve more is a shared one and, consequently, so does the sense of feeling defeated. Things don’t always work out as planned, and we then feel beat down and sometimes downright downtrodden.

This feeling is something that every achiever human-being feels once in a while. The good news is that there are proven science-based ways to help take back the power. It’s not possible to continually win without experiencing a loss, and the way we react to failure is what defines us.

There are (sadly) many practical examples—from battling a bad habit (did anyone say Netflix binge on a Tuesday night?) or even an addiction to dealing with a boss you don’t like who makes every day seem like it will never end. It might be other issues that make you feel like Sisyphus, the Greek god who was forced to push a massive rock up a hill for eternity as a punishment, doing the hard work and not being rewarded for it.

You Are Not Alone

You are not alone; Churchill and Lincoln were also defeated.

Fortunately, we’ve found some fantastic examples of ‘defeated’ people who made a remarkable comeback—showing that character is at least as important as talent. One of those people is none other than Winston Churchill. Most of us know that he saved his country and potentially the rest of the world during World War II, but we tend to forget that he famously stated, “I am finished” almost 20 years before that—when he was 40.

He had lost the Gallipoli battle, and everything seemed to indicate that he would go down in history like the rest of us: unknown. However, his plan to come back to the forefront of politics succeeded (only to lose the election after the war, and then win again). He was feeling defeated but he managed to bounce back.

There are other examples of leaders who experienced loss and then made a remarkable comeback. Abraham Lincoln is known as a former US president, but no one remembers that he was defeated in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives just a few years before that. Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of Europe, only to be exiled (and then come back and then go into exile again).

Most of us are not ruling Europe or the US, but you get the point—you win some, you lose some—and you should never give up on your goals and dreams. This isn’t relevant only to famous historical characters. The human spirit is measured when it’s at its weakest and in need of finding strength.

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Personally speaking, I experienced a tragedy, having to watch my father die in front of me when I was 25. Less than an hour later, as I was in the hospital, I told myself that nothing would break me, and I embarked on a journey to save other people’s lives with Safe Lane, a non-profit I started to prevent car accidents. It is what we do that defines us, and not what happens to us. It’s how we deal with feeling defeated that defines who we are.

Feeling Defeated Is Not Your Fault

Research shows that feeling defeated is not your fault. The deep-rooted feeling of defeat is validated in research. For example, studies of animal species with dominance hierarchies showed that after losing in non-lethal fighting, the animals that lost showed signs of depression.[1] Other studies suggest that defeat and feelings of entrapment are associated with depression and anxiety. Sadly, it happens to humans as well.

Research also suggests that it hurts the poor more than others. In a study conducted in economically deprived areas in England, over half of the people felt defeated. They experienced feelings of entrapment.[2]

The research also proved a connection to anxiety and depression, showing that this feeling impairs the mental health of those living in more impoverished areas. The clear connection between where you live and how you feel is disheartening, as it makes clear that some populations are inherently more prone to suffering than others.

9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

The good news is that there are pretty good solutions one can use to fight this horrible feeling. Some of them can provide immediate improvement, while others help within a matter of weeks.

Here are 9 ways to take back your power when you’re feeling defeated in life.

1. Write a Gratitude Journal

Once a day, take three minutes to write down two things you’re grateful for. It might seem like a childish thing to do, but investing time in a gratitude journal has been scientifically proven to be helpful. Taking a note for yourself of the good things in your life makes you appreciate them more, and this kind of positive thinking also helps your brain change patterns.

According to a study conducted in Berkeley, students who wrote a gratitude letter to their peers had “significantly better mental health 4 weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns.”[3]

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Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, proved that participants who took the time to write about the good things in their lives had a huge increase in happiness scores.

2. Take Regular Breaks

When you’re working too hard, it can sometimes feel good because you’re pushing your limits. Nonetheless, you can’t work without taking breaks. Your energy is limited, and there have been a few studies proving this.

According to numerous researches, “taking a break can be very beneficial for you and your work. Micro-breaks, lunchtime breaks, and longer breaks have all been shown to affect well-being and productivity positively. By taking regular breaks, you can boost your performance.”[4]

3. Find Yourself a Mentor

I’ve personally found this to be very helpful. Every issue that you’re going through has been experienced by someone before you, so learn from that. Having a mentor reduces stress and helps you both practically understand how to handle the situation and emotionally put things in perspective. It also helps remind you that you’re not alone.

According to UNL, “mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate graduate school success and beyond. Quality mentoring greatly enhances students’ chances for success. Research shows that students who experience good mentoring also have a greater chance of securing academic tenure-track positions or greater career advancement potential in administration or sectors outside the university.”[5]

4. Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are powerful tools that are widely available today through the use of apps such as Calm and Headspace. There have also been countless books written about them. One of them is “Wherever You Go, There You Are:  Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s. By being present, you can control where your energy goes.

I used to be a skeptic, but I have learned that it’s helpful to meditate when you need a moment. Countless studies have proven that breathing helps build resilience. Just by breathing slowly and deeply, our body knows when to enter into a relaxation mode.

We’re living at a time that makes us feel overwhelmed. We have too much on our plate and sometimes, we’re in a position that doesn’t immediately allow us to solve the problem at hand.

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Don’t worry—by meditating, breathing, or just trying to relax, you can understand what to do by letting your mind some time to think and improve. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this article!

5. Your Self-Talk Is More Crucial Than Ever

Our thoughts and beliefs can sometimes be discouraging. Many people tend towards a negativity bias, which means that we’re prone to notice negative thoughts and emotions more than positive and neutral ones. This is where self-talk comes in.

Using self-talk to analyze whether your perceptions are helping you or not and whether they’re an accurate representation of reality can help you understand that things may not be as bad as you think. Research shows that this is, in fact, often the case.

It’s a good habit to also remember to be kind to yourself. Some of us sometimes forget the crucial ingredient of self-compassion. It also might be a good idea to motivate yourself by watching others—Youtube might be a good place for that.

Here’s an excellent example:

6. Educate Yourself

For whatever of life’s hurdles you’re currently facing, there’s an answer that someone else has already thought of. Google Scholar or even just plain old Google can help you find proven methods to deal with what’s bothering you. Educate yourself about your situation and learn what can and cannot work for you. Knowledge is power, indeed.

7. Don’t Obsess About What Happened

One of the proven ways to help sports teams stay on track is not overthinking the future and not getting stuck in the past. It’s useless to obsess about what already happened, and at worst, it can only harm your mental and emotional well-being.

One psychological way to think about that is the radical acceptance approach, which is pretty self-explanatory. It means that you should accept what happened and instead, think about what you should do moving forward.

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According to the NYU School of Medicine, “past experiences shape what we see more than what we are looking at now.”[6] So, it’s not easy to fight that. But it is also possible to change it by radical acceptance and growth mindset methods.

8. Create a Vision for Your Life

Another method for dealing with daily hardships is to think like an organization and create your life vision. When you understand your goals and purpose, it’s easier to not sweat as much as some of the difficulties on the way.

According to “Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice” by Francis J. Greene,

“Effective strategic management begins with the organization clearly articulating its vision for the future. The organization’s vision refers to the broad category of long-term intentions that the organization wishes to pursue. It is broad, all-inclusive, and futuristic (Ireland et al., 2009)”.

It is imperative to understand your vision and implement it in your daily life to keep your balance.

9. Stay Healthy: Exercise and Eat Well

You don’t have to run a marathon. Simply walking or doing any other type of physical activity you enjoy can help pump things up and make you feel better physically and emotionally. Exercise can help you overcome depression and improve your mental health. It also enables you to feel in control in some cases, and that’s a powerful tool for someone who’s feeling defeated.

Healthy eating and keeping yourself hydrated goes a long way. Sleeping more than 7 hours each night is also super helpful for improving your physical and mental well-being.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal to feel defeated in life sometimes. After all, we all have our unique struggles and challenges along our journey in life. The important thing is that you learn how to face these roadblocks in your life. Whenever you’re feeling defeated in life, you can start with these 9 ways to gain back power and control in your life.

More Tips When You’re Feeling Defeated in Life

Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

Reference

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