woman wearing black cardigan holding mug that says 'believe in yourself'

What is Self-Belief? Everything You Need To Know About Believing in Yourself

So many of the women in my community state they want to feel more confident in certain areas of their life. 

And yes, increased confidence is super important – particularly if you’re struggling with low self-esteem and low self-worth. But the problem is, if we don’t believe in ourselves, we’re never going to be able to maintain that confidence. 

When we truly believe in ourselves though, we feel like we can do anything, and the confidence we need comes much more easily. 

So, how can you cultivate that kind of self-belief? Let’s start with understanding what self-belief is (and isn’t). 

We’ll also look at why it’s important, factors that can impact it, and how you can start developing a little more belief in yourself.

What is Self-Belief?

Simply put, self-belief is about believing in your ability to do whatever you set your mind to. It’s a prevailing, inner strength that enables you to power through setbacks and obstacles that get in your way. Think of your self-belief as a sturdy structure that provides stability and support in the ever-changing landscape of your life.

Without that solid foundation, your confidence falters when things get tough. 

Having a strong sense of self-belief is the difference between continuing on your journey, or giving up because the old negative thoughts have taken centre stage and convinced you that you can’t do it. 

First things first, I need you to know that self-belief isn’t the same as self-confidence.

Self-confidence is built by overcoming obstacles and setbacks, working to improve a skill, or facing a fear. But often, self-confidence can be ‘surface level’ whereby you simply act confident in a situation, without truly believing that you can overcome, handle, or manage it.

Also, self-confidence can change depending on the situation. But with self-belief, you trust in yourself – your abilities, values, and knowledge – at a core level. It’s about believing that you are able to meet demands and take on the challenges in the first place.

If you don’t truly believe that you can change your situation, then you won’t take the action you need to. Ironically, it’s taking the action that will build your confidence in the area you want to change. Because by taking action, you begin to change your belief that it IS possible. But first, we need to consider how your core beliefs can affect your ability to grow. 

young woman in warm sweater looking outside, her facial expression and body language portraying uncertainty and insecurity.

Think of making a change as like building a house. To begin, you need a solid foundation (that’s your self-belief). Next, you build the walls (your self-confidence). Your self-belief foundation is the base for everything you do (or don’t do) and your walls of self-confidence get built through action and competence. Without solid foundations, the walls (and the rest of the structure) will begin to crumble, or perhaps never get built in the first place.   

Why is Self-Belief so Important?

Ultimately, self-belief is essential for creating the life you want. 

Believing in yourself and knowing your worth positively impacts your entire life, both directly and indirectly. It nourishes a growth mindset – which is vital for making positive changes and overcoming setbacks as you move through and progress in life.  

Here are a few reasons why self-belief is important:

  • If you don’t believe that you can achieve something then the likelihood is that you won’t even try, and if you do try, you’ll expect to ‘fail’ and end up self-sabotaging yourself.
  • Setbacks and challenges can and do happen as you move forward. But with self-belief, you’re more likely to overcome them with compassion, positivity and motivation to continue on your path instead of ‘giving up’.
  • Self-belief equals action, which creates positive change.
  • Even when you’re lucky enough to have a supportive network around you, you are more likely to succeed when you believe in yourself. Because only you can create the success, opportunities and changes you want to see. You need to be able to trust in your own ability – not just to survive, but to thrive.
  • A healthy level of self-belief empowers you to prioritise your needs, set boundaries with yourself and others, and treat yourself much more kindly.

What Impacts Self-Belief?

You are born believing that you can do anything. But as life delivers new challenges and experiences, you learn new lessons and develop new beliefs. 

Let’s look at some of the things that can affect how deeply you believe in yourself and your abilities to do anything: 

photo of woman taking notes about her self-belief triggers

Key factors that impact whether or not you hold self-belief are:

  • Your childhood – any memories that may have had a negative impact on you. 
  • Your experiences through life; failures, embarrassments, trauma.
  • Your environment and whether it’s a positive or negative space.
  • Your current and past relationships and how you are/were treated and treat others.
  • The decisions you make. 
  • Your thinking habits – whether you tend to think half-glass full or empty.
  • Your values and beliefs – the things you have been taught and learned as you’ve grown.
  • Comparing yourself to others and seeing them as more favourable to you.
  • Social media and the effect it has on your mental health.

There are many factors that impact your self-belief, and your experiences are individual to you. 

Once you can identify the factors that have impacted your level of self-belief, you can start to make positive changes and relearn how to fully believe in your whole, authentic self.  

How Can You Start to Develop Self-Belief?

A common myth around self-belief is that you’re either born with it or you’re not. 

This implies that if you don’t have it right now, you never will. 

The truth is, your self-belief can be developed (and rebuilt if you’ve lost it). Here are a few tips to start you off: 

It’s hard to believe in yourself when you’re not quite sure who you are and what you want. Losing sight of yourself and your needs is a side effect of low self-esteem.

If you want to build self-belief, you need to know the answer to these questions first:

Understanding what truly matters to you is like finding the North Star in the night sky. It provides you with a guiding light in the journey towards self-belief. This foundational question prompts a deep dive into your inner world, where your values, interests, and passions reside. 

So, let’s explore this question in a little more detail:

Your Core Values

Your values are the compass of your life. They shape your decisions, define your priorities, and guide your actions. Reflect on the principles that you hold dear, whether it’s integrity, compassion, justice, or creativity. These values are the building blocks of your character, and recognising them is the first step in cultivating self-belief. When your beliefs about yourself align with your core values, your self-belief becomes authentic and unwavering.

Unearthing Your Interests

Interests are like seeds waiting to sprout into passions. They are the things that pique your curiosity, excite your mind, and give life a sense of purpose. What subjects, hobbies, or activities make you feel alive and engaged? Your interests hold the potential to become the fertile soil from which self-belief can flourish. As you invest time and energy in what truly interests you, your sense of competence and confidence naturally grows.

Woman making her own furniture as her interest and hobby and in turn identifying her self-belief

Passions That Ignite Your Soul

Passions are the flames that burn brightest within you. They are the activities, causes, or pursuits that evoke an intense emotional response. Identifying your passions is a powerful step in the journey toward self-belief, they are where your heart and soul are fully engaged. Your passions can be a source of profound self-fulfilment, and they often lead to a deep sense of purpose.

The Timeless Moments

Consider the moments when you lose track of time. When hours pass like minutes because you are so engrossed in what you’re doing. These moments are like glimpses into your true self. They reveal the activities that align with your natural talents and inclinations. 

So, if you start noticing moments where time flies because you’re loving what you’re doing, that’s where the magic happens. Those moments can point you towards things that really play to your strengths and help you build up your self-belief.

Embracing Yourself

When you identify what truly matters to you, it’s crucial to do so without judgement or comparison. There is an amazing book by Brene Brown called the Gift of Imperfection which I highly recommend. Your values, interests, and passions are uniquely yours and may differ from other peoples. Embrace them as the essence of your being, the qualities that make you who you are. Self-belief flourishes when you fully accept and celebrate your authentic self.

Let’s say you suddenly realise that you’re super passionate about helping kids learn and grow. This could lead you to become a mentor or volunteer, giving you a huge sense of purpose and self-belief. Or perhaps you love cooking and start whipping up amazing dishes could fill you with self-worth and confidence.

Woman writing in her journal love yourself to help build on her self-belief

So, this first step to boost your self-belief is all about getting to know yourself better and being cool with who you are. It’s like recognising the mix of things you’re into, what gets you excited, and what you’re all about. Once you figure that out by answering the question, “What’s really important to me?” you’re starting this big, transformative journey toward real self-belief. It’s all about being true to yourself and believing in what makes you, you.

    Visualising your dream life is like going on a mental adventure that can boost your self-belief. It’s a fun exercise that lets you break free from the things holding you back. Tackling your negative body image and low self-esteem, and letting your imagination run wild. This is where the tiny seeds of self-belief really start to take root, especially for women dealing with these challenges.

    So, let’s dive into this question a little deeper too:

    The Power of Imagination

    Think of your imagination as this amazing superpower. It’s like having a blank canvas where you can paint the most awesome and exciting pictures of your life. When you just close your eyes and let your imagination go wild, you’re basically tapping into this incredible energy. It turns those regular daydreams into a force that can really make things happen and bring about some awesome changes.

    Details Matter

    As you visualise your ideal life, pay attention to the details. Imagine the career that ignites your passion, the relationships that nurture your soul, the environments that surround you, and the experiences that fill your heart and days. By delving into these specifics, you not only create a vivid mental image but also infuse your vision with emotions and sensations.

    Breaking Free from Limitations

    This exercise helps you break free from those limits you’ve put on yourself. The belief that you don’t deserve certain things because of how you see your body or feel about yourself? Well, this exercise can show you that those limits are all in your head. You’re totally deserving of everything you want. You deserve awesome relationships, and amazing experiences, no matter what society says or how you feel about yourself right now.

    Young happy sportswoman running on the road in the morning working on building her self-belief.

    Dreaming Big

    So, when it comes to boosting your self-belief, aim high. It’s all about having the guts to picture a life that goes way beyond what those negative thoughts and what society says is possible. Dreaming big means recognising that who you are, your skills, and what you dream of aren’t limited by how you look or what you’ve been told. It’s all about how amazing you are on the inside and how much awesome stuff you’re capable of. Don’t hold back, go for those big dreams!

    Let’s put it this way: if you’ve always had this big dream of pursuing a career you’re super passionate about, but maybe you’ve been holding back because of how you feel about your body, I’ve got a trick for you. Close your eyes and picture yourself absolutely owning that dream job with total confidence. Imagine yourself surrounded by supportive people and in places that make you feel like you can use your talents and chase your dreams to the max.

    Those daydreams? They’re like the tiny seeds that kickstart your self-belief. It’s not just wishful thinking; it’s a ninja move that can reshape how you see your own potential. It’s like a turbo boost that gives you a fresh sense of purpose, helping you see that the amazing life you want is totally within reach, no matter what you think about your body or what society says. 

    Thinking about your dream life is like giving yourself a superpower boost. It’s about taking control of your story, rising above those negative thoughts, and growing your self-belief from the understanding that you’re seriously amazing and full of potential. Don’t hold back, dream those big dreams, splash your life with the boldest colours, and see how your self-belief blooms into a garden of confidence and empowerment that’s out of this world!

      Understanding and handpicking the emotions you want to bring into your life is a huge deal when it comes to boosting your self-belief. It’s like going on a quest deep into your own thoughts, finding what you truly desire, and making sure you’re totally in sync with your authentic self. 

      So, let’s dig a little deeper into this whole idea:

      The Power of Emotions

      Emotions are the driving force behind your actions, decisions, and experiences. They colour your perception of the world and influence the quality of your life. By considering the emotions you wish to nurture, you gain the ability to steer your life in a direction that resonates with your deepest self.

      Emotional Compass

      Think of the emotions you want to feel as your emotional compass. Just as a physical compass points north, your emotional compass guides you toward choices and experiences that are in harmony with your true self. If you desire confidence, joy, empowerment, or inner peace, these emotions serve as guiding stars, illuminating your path.

      Creating Your Emotional Blueprint

      When you consciously choose the emotions you want to cultivate, you are essentially creating an emotional blueprint for your life. This blueprint becomes the framework for your self-belief journey. It influences not only how you interact with the world but also how you perceive yourself.

      Living Authentically

      Your desired emotions serve as a constant reminder of the life you are striving to create. When you are connected to these emotions, self-belief becomes more than just a distant goal, it becomes a natural byproduct of living authentically. 

      A group of women smiling at the camera.

      Here’s the deal: if you’re aiming to feel more confident, you’ll find yourself naturally making choices that give your self-esteem a boost. And here’s the cool part, this positive cycle keeps on strengthening your self-belief along the way.

      Here are some examples of how that might look for you:
      • If you want to feel confident, you might challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone, take on new opportunities, and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
      • To cultivate joy, you may seek out activities and experiences that bring you genuine happiness, whether it’s spending time in nature, pursuing creative endeavours, or connecting with loved ones.
      • Empowerment might lead you to advocate for your needs, set boundaries, and take charge of your life choices.
      • Inner peace might encourage you to prioritise self-care, practice mindfulness, and let go of unnecessary stressors.

      By focusing on the emotions you want to cultivate, you actively engage in shaping your life and self-belief. These emotions act as beacons, guiding you toward experiences and choices that align with your authentic self. Over time, as you consistently make decisions and take actions that resonate with your chosen emotions, self-belief blossoms as a natural consequence of your commitment to living authentically.

      In essence, this step is about giving yourself permission to not only identify the emotions you desire, but also actively pursue them. It’s a commitment to your emotional well-being and a recognition that self-belief is not just an abstract concept but a tangible, lived experience. By embracing and nurturing these desired emotions, you step into the power of your own self-belief and begin to shape a life that reflects your true desires.

      Write out your answers to these questions. Don’t let yourself think small, open your mind to all possibilities. Dream big!

      You may find some surprises in your answers. Each answer sheds light on what you want, your true core values and your next steps.

      Now that you’ve considered who you are and what you want, it’s time to start celebrating yourself and your successes. To help build your self-belief, start celebrating both the small wins and the big accomplishments. Celebrate your strengths – and celebrate your passions. Remember – like every other being on this planet, you are unique and special, and there is no one else like you! 

      person writing on a notebook beside macbook

      Photo by Judit Peter on Pexels.com

      When self-critical thoughts arise, try a little self-compassion. Your level of self-perception – that is, how you view yourself – is heavily dependent on your ability to show yourself kindness and understanding. Not just when we face setbacks, but in daily life, when negative thoughts and feelings arise.

      You can’t rebuild self-belief if your inner voice is telling you ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you don’t deserve this’. A really useful way to counter this and show yourself some kindness is to write down all your accomplishments. And when it comes to that negative voice, push back with evidence that proves your inner critic wrong. 

      We all have fears. But we don’t have to let them stop us from achieving our goals. 

      “No-one is fearless, but you can learn to fear less.”

      Most of the time when we work towards a goal or start making changes, our fears will pop up and try to push us back into our comfort zone.

      However, your fear is just an automatic reaction to a new situation, because you’re working outside of your normal habits. It’s important to understand where your fear stems from (listen to what you are really afraid of) so that you can work through it if needed.

      Another way to face your fears is to take small steps. If jumping into the deep end is too much for you, that’s ok. 

      Just make small, incremental steps forwards. 

      There’s a power in facing your fears – it will prove that you can overcome them. And in turn, this will help you strengthen your belief in your abilities.

      When we lack self-belief, we may unconsciously discourage others from achieving their goals. This may be how you got discouraged yourself – something someone else said might well have triggered an old belief and stopped you right in your tracks. Often we project our fears and doubts onto other people, and yet their aspirations often mirror our own. 

      So start to encourage others, remind them that they can do hard things, be their cheerleader, and spread kindness. In doing so you too will begin to build a positive mindset, and subsequently build your own self-belief.

      Loving, and respecting, yourself is a key ingredient for self-belief, which is why self-care is so important. Taking care of yourself goes beyond the basic physical needs of personal hygiene and what you eat. It also involves taking care of your emotional and mental needs, and what those needs are will be different for everyone.

      Each day try and show yourself kindness, nurture and love, whether that’s a walk at the beach, meditation, fun with friends, an early night, a snuggle with the kids on the settee watching a film or drinking more water.

      a group of women lying on a picnic blanket while having fun celebrating their self-belief

      Taking care of yourself helps you create and maintain a positive mindset and is essential for cultivating self-belief.

      The people you spend the most time with makes a massive difference to your mindset and your self-belief. If they’re constantly telling you that you ‘can’t’ do something, and are frequently reminding you of past failures, it can be quite discouraging. 

      Have a look at who you surround yourself with: Are they supporting you and empowering you to strive forward? Do they encourage you to believe in yourself and your goals?

      If your environment isn’t supportive, consider how you can make it a more positive environment. Perhaps that means seeing certain people less often. Set boundaries with yourself and others (i.e. you deserve to tell them if what they say upsets you, or avoid talking about certain things when you’re with that person). 

      Seek out people who inspire you to be your best self and help you get there.

      Self-Belief Key Takeaways

      What you believe about yourself – and what you’re capable of – is what makes the difference between surviving or thriving and loving your life.

      Self-belief keeps you going when times get hard. It helps you to recover from setbacks, regardless of what other people may say or believe.

      Yes, building confidence is important. 

      But working on your self-belief – by identifying and removing the barriers to being ‘your best self’ – is what will result in positive change.

      Self-belief isn’t static. Even if right now you have little (or no) self-belief, know that you can change that. 

      You possess that power, and consciously working on the above steps will help you to truly believe in what you’re capable of.

      If you want to be part of a community of women who are striving to build their self-esteem and overcome body image issues, then come along and be part of the free, private Facebook group: the Self Esteem Society – a place where we celebrate each other and grow in a safe, supportive space. 

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