“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—your right.”
Does this mean anything to you? Do you have a dream that you believe you cannot achieve?
When I first heard this Henry Ford quote, it hit me hard. Something about its truth resonated with me.
I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly confident person, but I haven’t always believed in myself. Some days (many days) I still don’t.
Confidence is how we project ourselves to the outside world, and it’s definitely a skill. But believing in yourself is how you feel about yourself regardless of your achievements, or how you look.
Self-belief is trusting yourself.
This quote was a good reminder to me that if I do believe in myself, I can probably do something. Sure, there’s a chance other factors might get in the way and make it take a while to get there, but I likely will find the determination to ultimately do it.
One thing is certain, though: if I don’t believe I can do something, there is no chance it will happen.
When I reflect back on things I’ve tried—things I didn’t believe I can do, never actually happened. Usually, those are the things I’ve been too scared to even begin, much less try.
But how do we learn to believe in ourselves? To trustourselves?
If you struggle to just “decide to believe,” here are some action steps you can take to work on your self-belief. These have definitely helped me—but I am a work in progress.
Challenge your inner negative voice. I call it my “Dark Side.” When the Dark Side starts to pop up in my mind, it’s hard to not feel defeated. It tells me things like “you aren’t smart enough,” “nobody cares what you think,” or “you’re flawed.” But if I can have the awareness that it is my Dark Side and not my truth, I can start to challenge it and remind myself that it isn’t authentically me.
Visualize. Think about what your life would look like if you actually did achieve this dream. Sit with that visualization and try to see the details—the colors, the shapes. Then, notice the feelings. What and how do you feel when you achieve this dream?
Be your own friend. Self-compassion has been a huge area of growth for me over the past year. I didn’t know how to be nice to myself, but once I started to learn how to practice it, every situation I found myself in started to shift. My practice: talk to myself as if I were a friend. Sometimes I’ll even write a letter to myself as if I’m someone else. We are so much meaner to ourselves than we would be to other people—if we treated ourselves like we did others, perhaps we’d be able to believe in ourselves as much as we believe in and admire other people.
Fake it ‘til you make it. It isn’t about being fake, but about jumping right in. Act in a way that is consistent with where you want to go—your authentic self. Try to not let insecurity or patterns get in the way and just be.
Take action. Don’t let fear stop you. After all, if you change nothing, nothing will change.
Confidence is a skill, but it isn’t enough to fulfill your dreams.
Believing in yourself is so much harder (and more helpful) than being confident.
If you’re chasing confidence, try pushing pause and working on trusting yourself instead.
You have all the answers. You have everything you need. The more you believe in yourself, the more confidence you will naturally develop.
We all have a Dark Side—it’s part of being human. But we can do the work to quiet it.
Simply thinking about it with intention can help us suffocate the negative thoughts.
Be nice to yourself, and remember—you are not your Dark Side!