Sunday, February 11, 2007

Believing in Yourself

I’ve talked about this before—how we often listen to the negative voices in our lives rather than the people who believe in us. If we are with those who claim to love us and disparage us, we may believe it even more.

I’ve been thinking about this because I generally (these days!) have a fairly good opinion of myself and my abilities. But...my daughter was visiting and I started to fall into old patterns of second guessing myself when she disagreed with me about something. I started feeling less than my usual confident self. It was rather eerie to feel it happening.

The irony is that for the most part, her actions and words were statements of how much she believes in me. She asked me for advice on dealing with some challenging people and situations in her life. She listened carefully as I deconstructed with her what the obstacles were and how she could optimize her position. She was grateful for the win-win strategies I was suggesting.

My point is that we often fall into old patterns and perceive ourselves through someone else’s eyes in a negative way long after their perceptions of us may have changed. And when we give that power to someone else we are cheating ourselves.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether or not my daughter understands or approves of everything I do and every choice I make. What matters far more is that I do.

Mind you, it can be very empowering to find someone—friend, counselor, partner etc.—who believes in you when you have trouble believing in yourself! If someone doesn’t believe in you, do you really want them in your life—or if they must be in your life do you really want to give them any power to determine how you feel about yourself?

These days it’s simple. If someone doesn’t believe in me, I don’t need or want them around me. They just don’t get who I am.

And that’s what I remind myself when I start to worry about anyone’s opinion. They just don’t get me. And that’s okay. Not everyone has to approve of or like me. Bottom line is that I believe in me and I like me—even if I occasionally slip back into old patterns from the days when I had no faith in myself. I just pick myself up, dust myself off, and go back to believing in myself.

This is a journey. We have a right and a responsibility to ourselves to make it a joyous one. It won’t happen overnight if our experience up until now has been mostly unhappy. But every step we take toward believing in ourselves and bringing joy into our lives moves us in the right direction.

I believe that each of us has a spark of the divine within and therefore when we are truest to ourselves we are living the way we are meant to live. All joy and self-respect honors that divine spark and brings us closer to being the best person we can be. After all, someone who is happy and feels self-respect is never going to feel the need to harm another person—except perhaps in self-defense. Not verbally and not physically and not economically.

So...believe in yourself. I believe in you—each of you reading this. I KNOW that within you is a divine spark and that you are worthy of happiness and self-respect.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April_optimist

3 comments:

jumpinginpuddles said...

this is one of the hardest issues we face one i think we will eternally struggle with

Beachwriter said...

Great post...I LOVE it!! It is so true though and I think that it is one of the hardest things for all humans to do - "Believing in Yourself."

But you are right - and this is a very inspiring post:)

April_optimist said...

Jumping in Puddles and Beach Writer,

Yes, it's hard. It's an issue pretty much every human being struggles with. That's one reason I wrote a follow up post.

I believe in both of YOU.