It’s very common for people to rely on their achievements or praise from others for a boost in self-esteem.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of glitches in this system.
First, if your self-confidence relies on your success, what happens when you fail? After all, we're all bound to fail sooner or later. Your self-esteem needs a stronger foundation to help you pick yourself back up when things fall apart.
Secondly, even if you never, ever fail in your whole life, that expectation puts a lot of pressure on you. How will that level of pressure impact your stress, your physical health, and your quality of life?
In this post, we discuss how to feel more confident by internalizing four beliefs. These beliefs will help you develop a strong foundation of confidence regardless of external factors.
1. “I have inherent worth as a human being”
One of the major tenets of my field - the field of social work - is that every person has dignity and worth.
Human beings, no matter what, deserve to have their basic needs (food, shelter, water, safety) met.
People deserve to be treated like people. They should not have to “earn” the ability to live.
If you agree that humans have inherent worth, you must also agree that you are counted among them.
2. “Failure is part of life”
No one is born perfect.
When learning or starting something new, most people have to fail over and over again before they figure out how to succeed.
We see the end result of people’s success, but we often don’t see the mistakes, difficulties, hard work, rejections, and failures it took for them to get where they are.
So failure isn’t a reflection of your worthiness, or of your future. Failure is just part of the process of getting to success.
3. “Others’ opinions, good or bad, do not determine the way I feel about myself”
After one of Oprah Winfrey’s first television jobs, she was fired and told by a producer she was “unfit for television news.”
If Oprah had given up based on that one person’s opinion, she never would have gone on to have her own TV show, own magazine, and become a multi-billionaire.
When others express an opinion about you, bad or good, take a beat. Breathe. Notice what emotions come up, what sensations arise in the body.
Remember that others’ opinions of you say much more about who they are than about who you are.
4. “People do things that benefit them”
Your choices may have long-term negative consequences. Others may not understand them. Even you may not understand them. But still, if you made a choice, there was a reason behind it. People don’t do things randomly, for no reason at all. That’s just not human nature.
If you approach life with this belief, you will try to understand your behaviors. You will learn to trust yourself. And if you trust yourself, you'll notice an increase in self-confidence.
How to feel more confident? Internalize these four beliefs:
- “I have inherent worth as a human being.”
- “Failure is part of life.”
- “Others opinions, good or bad, do not determine the way I feel about myself.”
- “People do things that benefit them.”
How to internalize new beliefs?
Repeat these beliefs to yourself. Write them on post-it’s and put them around your home. Make lists of evidence that they are true in your own life. Record them on your phone and listen to them over and over again.
The more you think about these beliefs, the more strongly they'll take hold, and the less you'll have to rely on praise and accolades to feel confident.
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About RebeccaRebecca Ogle, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social worker and therapist in Chicago, IL.
Rebecca provides therapy to people with anxiety, low self-esteem, and people pleasing tendencies. She uses a feminist and social justice lens, and interventions based in CBT, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing.
For helpful, free content, follow her on Instagram or go to her website.