I have met so many people over the years who experience what is known as the ‘Imposter Syndrome’. They somehow feel that they are not good enough to be where they are in their lives. Others wish that they were in a much better position in their life but cannot even imagine it is possible. Why is it that some people believe in themselves and some do not? How can you start to believe more in yourself?
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time investigating ‘beliefs’. How are the created? How are they changed? My studies have led me toward looking at anything from hypnosis to brainwashing to propaganda to cult programming and deprogramming. My travels led me to North Korea, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Iran, USA and many other countries to examine how the media affects the population.
The way I think about them, a belief is a thought that you have certainty about. I see it like this. You get an idea and you start to believe in it and it becomes an opinion. With some more certainty it develops into a belief and if it continues to get more certain it turns into a conviction. Beliefs affect how we internalise and perceive external events so your beliefs can actually determine what new beliefs are formed. Depression works like this. When you are depressed you do not think negatively, you believe negatively. This means you are, to an extent, trapped in a perception that is affected by your beliefs about the world and yourself at that moment in time. Such beliefs do not seem as true when you are not struggling with depression but they come back and feel just as true as soon as the darkness returns.
The importance of beliefs in your mental health and, indeed, your chances of succeeding in life cannot be understated. Your beliefs about yourself, others, the world, your future and life itself dictate how happy and successful you will be. So, why do we have the beliefs we have? Well we learn certain ideas from the world. Our feelings at the time mix with whatever we internalise and whatever previous beliefs we hold and we come to conclusions and build generalisations as a result. These, in turn, affect what we believe after that as we develop a more thorough map of the world.
When we talk about believing in ourselves, what we really mean is believing that we can succeed in whatever we are doing. This set of beliefs involve us imagining ourselves doing something we haven’t done and feeling a sense of certainty about it. Of course, we cannot always be certain about something that has not happened yet so we do not have to be certain that we will succeed. We just have to be certain that we can.
This is an important distinction if you want to start believing in yourself more. To do so, it is important that you spend time reminding yourself of all of the great things that you have achieved and succeeded in over the years. It is also vital that you speak to yourself in a certain tone of voice when you tell yourself that you can do whatever it is. The tone of voice that you use is far more likely to be believed when it sounds certain than when it does not. Reminding yourself that you CAN though is the key here. You can do almost anything. It is possible. It doesn’t mean that you have to or that you always will. It just means that it is possible. When you start realising so much more is possible for you than you realised, then you will feel empowered. Then you will feel the strength that comes from believing in yourself.
We deal with enough challenges in life without doubting ourselves. Next time you are questioning if you have what it takes, realise that anything is possible and bet on yourself. When you visualise yourself doing something and say with certainty and commitment to yourself that you can, you will give yourself the best possible shot at accomplishing what you set out to do.