Saturday, September 01, 2007

Believe in Yourself

As you know, I'm a writer. Every time I coach, every time I teach, every time I write, I am reminded how important it is—and sometimes how hard—for us to believe in ourselves.

It matters to profoundly so to writers because we often spend months or sometimes years working on projects, not knowing if anyone will like it or not. Even if we sell it to an editor, there’s no guarantee that people will buy our books. It’s hard sometimes to hold onto faith in ourselves—especially if we were not raised to believe in ourselves. That’s why I talk about it so much in my workshops.

It matters just as much to anyone who has been through trauma. Without knowing what the outcome will be, we have to risk stepping out of our safe zone to face things that feel as if they could overwhelm us, destroy us if we risk looking at them. And yet, if we don’t, we can’t let go of them.

I believe that the best thing we can do as we work to face issues in our lives and/or past traumas is to in a sense fortify ourselves first. When I worked with a counselor to process my horrific and abusive childhood, each time I went in to see him I would go through several steps:

1) I would remind myself of every success I’d had in my life—and tell myself that I could do this too.
2) I would remind myself of my strengths and reasons to believe in my gut instincts about things.
3) I would remind myself of all the reasons to trust him.
4) I would remind myself that ultimately my life was MY responsibility—that I had to make the choices that would make my life better or it wasn’t ever going to happen.

When I give writing workshops I ask people to make a list of all their successes. It’s even more important for all of us who have had difficult times in our lives or come to feel there are things we can’t do. So I’m suggesting that YOU make a list of every success you have ever had in your life—big or small. Keep that list handy and add to it with every new success. And when you hit days where you wonder if you can cope with some challenge life has handed you, pull out that list and remind yourself that you do have the skills to do so.

I do believe that within each of us is the ability to cope with whatever challenges appear in our lives. I also believe that when we can hold onto that faith in ourselves, we are more likely to succeed simply because the brain functions better, more efficiently the calmer and less afraid we can be. Believing in ourselves is a very powerful tool.

By the same token, believing in someone else and helping that person to believe in him or herself is a powerful and wonderful gift you can give. Think about it. Odds are the people you remember most vividly (in a positive way), the people you would do anything for, are people who believed in you when you needed it most. You never know when it could change someone’s life because you said, at the right moment, what they needed to hear.

I believe in all of you. I believe that each of you has within you the power to heal whatever pain is in your lives. I believe that there are good people out there ready to help if you risk reaching out to them. I believe, too, that each of you deserves to find a way to be happy.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April Optimist


Rising Rainbow said...

I so totally agree. We just have no way of ever knowing how we can affect the life of another human being. We have so much more power than we even know.

keepers said...

our jm keeps reminding us of that, people can be helped by just reading that someone else has been through the same things. just by putting out there for others to see and read what we have gone through and survived and in some instances, literally won the battle. we all need to see that others did it, succeeded, survived, so maybe we can too.

peace and blessings


jumpinginpuddles said...

you know the other day we helped a few people through some shit and we felt good yet still our stuff remained and we groaned we are tryng to not think of ourselves we are wonderign can you do a blog on not trying to make otehrs feel better to better yourself ?

April_optimist said...

Rising Rainbow,

Absolutely right!


I'm sure a lot of people are helped by what you do.

Jumping in Puddles,

See my latest blog post. You're right that we have to take care of ourselves first. It can be a way of dodging that when we focus on everyone else instead.