Hey friend! It’s me, Becky, and I just want to tell you I’m so glad you’re here. Thank for you for listening to Beyond Happy, and if you’ve shared it with someone and/or left a review, I’m SO grateful! Your reviews make my day. When I know that the time I’m putting into creating these episodes are ones you’re finding value in, are ones that are impacting your life, it means everything. So thank you for taking the time in all that you have going on to do that. It is helping more listeners like you find Beyond Happy, and that is the best news.
So, today I’m going to tell you a little story to get started. I used to crack people up on Facebook by sharing funny stories about things our three kids would do and say. But then, as they approached school age, I got a little more hesitant because of their privacy and how weird it might be for someone in public whom they don’t know to say, “Hey! I saw on Facebook that you did that funny thing!” and for them to be embarrassed or weirded out. So I’ve really pulled back from doing that in the last couple of years.
But. I do have a story I can share without pinpointing who did or said what, since both of our boys – they are identical twins – were involved. So in a way, I can keep it anonymous.
Last week the boys were hanging out in the kitchen for me while I made tacos for dinner. I’d asked them to take care of a few chores in getting ready for dinner, and one wasn’t happy about this. And he typically makes that fact known. He didn’t love that these chores needed to be done, so in his defiance, he said how much he was looking forward to becoming a parent when he turns 18. (Sidenote: he is currently 7.) As a mother, my first response was a sticky note to my brain to pray about the unlikely-hood of this happening. But the rest of me was amused. We had a little chat to clarify that it’s at age 18 that you are considered an adult, NOT the point at which you become a parent. Whew. I’m glad we’re clear on that.
So, with that being understood, the next thing this same child wanted to know was how old he’ll be when he’d get his girlfriend. Because you know, here must be an age when that happens. But the way he said it was like he’s anticipating receiving a girlfriend by delivery in the mail, and that was everything you guys. Day made for this mom. They crack me up.
Again, we talked about expectations and that that’s really different for everyone. So at this point, both boys wanted to know when I quote GOT MY BOYFRIEND. I explained it was when I was in high school. Now, the OTHER twin wanted to know, why did I not end up marrying this boyfriend? I tried to skirt around the topic by mentioning that he just did some not very nice things. But they wanted more. More details. So, I explained that one problem is that he didn’t tell the truth about things, and that it’s really hard to be friends with someone you can’t trust.
Upon my sharing this, one of the boys got very serious and concerned and said, “Mom! That sounds very dangerous to be friends with someone you can’t trust!” I was surprised by his tone, and also impressed that he took this issue so seriously. I mean, he’s seven years old, and the importance of trust really convicted him.
And later that night, after they were in bed, I started thinking about this very topic. Trust. I was thinking about how our trust toward other people comes from something else someone does or says, and what we make that mean, right? We can’t control other people’s behavior, and that’s why we view it as a neutral circumstance, but we do decide to make it mean something. And sometimes, we make it mean that a person can’t be trusted. And those thoughts about trusting another, or not trusting them, makes us feel something. And out of that feeling, we do something, or don’t do something. When we don’t trust someone, maybe we feel we’ve done something to deserve it, maybe we decide to distance ourselves from that person, or to end the relationship. Maybe for some reason we decide to ignore it. When trust concerns involve another person, we do have the option to remove ourselves or create that distance.
But what happens when you don’t trust YOURSELF? This is exactly what we’re going to talk about here today. Because just like my clients, I’m betting that many of you struggle with self-confidence, and a huge component of self-confidence is the ability to trust YOU.
Now, before we dive in, I do want to make a quick differentiation between the terms confidence and self-confidence. For our purposes here, they are different. Confidence is something you have based on your past; based on evidence you have that has proven you’re good at something. Maybe you’re confident in your job because you get great job reviews, you get promotions and great feedback, and those are evidence to you that you’ve got this – you’re confident in your job for these reasons. Maybe you’re confident in your ability to speak in front of a group of people, because you’ve spoken before in the past, and it was a great experience. You’ll feel good about the idea of doing it again; you feel confident. If you take a look at the things in your life you feel good about, and capable of, it’s likely that you have evidence to support that. You likely have some past experience of doing that thing, or doing something similar to that thing, that gives you that confident feeling.
But confidence and self-confidence are quite different.
SELF-confidence is being secure in yourself and your abilities. It’s the ability to trust yourself fully. Self-confidence is not based on anything that has happened before, and it’s not connected to your past or your circumstances. Self-confidence involves your overall opinion of yourself and who you are. It’s about whether or not you have your own back. At the end of the day, or in the most challenging of moments, it’s what you really believe about YOU.
Let’s talk about your ability to trust yourself.
When you trust yourself, you know you will do what you’ve said you’ll do. You know you can count on yourself to follow through on your plan. You’ll take care of yourself. You’ll do the right thing, the responsible thing and the best thing, even when you don’t want to. When you don’t feel like it. And this – this is a very different mindset to have than saying you’ll do something and hoping you follow through. That hope leaves room for self-doubt. And self-doubt? That’s the opposite of self-confidence.
Just like my son said about it being dangerous to be friends with someone you can’t trust, it’s dangerous when you engage in self-doubt. And many of us do it all the time. Self-doubt is dangerous because if you can’t count on yourself, if you can’t trust yourself to have your own back? You’ll feel insecure. Instead of feeling in charge, in control and self-confident, you almost become a victim to yourself and how you choose to show up. There’s insecurity there because self-doubt leads to you not showing up consistently. The ability to trust yourself, and believe you can rely on yourself, starts from consistent follow through on keeping your word. Keeping the promises you make to yourself. Showing up as you really want to, especially when it’s HARD. Especially when it’s inconvenient. Especially when it’s uncomfortable. The promises you make to yourself are usually the FIRST ones to go by the wayside, am I right? Our obligations to other people often take precedent. But it’s dangerous. Because little by little, these daily decisions of putting things off, of letting things slip that you wanted to do or meant to make time for, add up. THEY become the evidence to support feelings of self-doubt. And we know that our brain always tries to find evidence to support what we’re thinking. When you don’t trust yourself, your brain will be ready, armed and ready to show you all the ways that you aren’t keeping your word.
Another part of self-confidence is knowing, truly knowing that the worst thing that can ever happen to you is an emotion. A feeling. Feeling are what make life bad when it’s bad. If you think of the worst-case scenario you can imagine happening to you… maybe your greatest fear… it won’t be about the thing you describe. It will be all about what feeling comes up when you think about it. It’s the FEELING you want to avoid. When we realize that the worst thing that can happen to us is a feeling, if we believe that that’s the worst thing that can happen, AND we believe that we can safely experience any emotion, we’ll be full of self-confidence. We won’t fear feeling potential emotions. We’ll be equipped to take on anything, to try to do anything because knowing the worst thing that can happen is feeling an emotion takes away the risk. It empowers us.
If you haven’t listened to Episode 4 yet, it’s all about feelings – it dives deeper into the role of emotions, how they’re created, and how they contribute to our life experience. Highly recommend you check it out after listening to this episode.
So your opinion of yourself matters. What you think of yourself is what either creates or depletes self-confidence. Confidence is a feeling, and self-confidence is that feeling, but about yourself. If all of the emotions we feel are tied to a specific thought, we can see that it’s the way we’re thinking about ourselves that will determine whether or not we feel self-confidence or self-doubt. A person who is self-confident will believe they are good, capable and worthy, strong and competent. And it doesn’t have to be proven – it’s just what they choose to believe. And choosing to believe these things about themselves will generate feelings that really serve them well in life. The flipside is true of someone filled with self-doubt. The way those thoughts play out in someone’s life creates a very different outcome.
So why aren’t we self-confident?
Many of us aren’t self-confident. We don’t trust ourselves. Why is this? Well, the reality is that the majority of us don’t understand our minds and our thoughts enough to be able to manage them well. When we aren’t equipped to manage our thoughts, we feel out of control with our feelings and actions. When we feel out of control with our feelings and actions, we let ourselves down a lot. We don’t follow through. Doubtful thoughts sneak in and we choose to believe them. These doubts undermine our ability to trust. We lose integrity in our own view of ourselves. And we’re afraid of feeling our emotions. So once doubt sets in and we feel uneasy, we hide. We don’t want to feel any negativity, so hiding feels more comfortable in the moment, but it also leaves us scared of doing anything that involves a risk of failure. So self-doubt keeps us right where we are.
We’ve talked in previous episodes about how our primitive brain’s job is to protect us. Literally to ensure our survival by watching out for all possible threats. And to our brain, being uncomfortable is a big threat. If our brains are programmed to look out for what’s wrong, or what could be threatening us, you can see how negative thoughts come so easily to us. Our brains are wired to seek out the negative – because to our brain, anything negative is a serious threat to our well-being. We question ourselves, our character and our abilities and believe if we don’t do something perfectly, we’ll feel something negative. So our brain looks for all of the evidence that we can’t do something perfectly. And however unrealistic this is, and however much it seems like we should know better, that we should be smarter than to believe it, we do. Our brain finds the negative thoughts, those thoughts create negative emotions. Including self-doubt.
We talk a LOT about your thoughts creating your feelings. But what are your beliefs? Beliefs are just thoughts we choose to think over and over. Beliefs are powerful because they shape the framework of our entire life experience. Just like what you believe about your spouse will greatly impact your marriage, and what you believe about your children will shape the dynamic of your family, your beliefs about yourself will create the state of your life – how you experience life as YOU.
Our belief systems run deep, and that’s because many of them form in childhood. We’ve been thinking things – believing things – about ourselves for so long that of course we see it as truth – is there any other way? Many of us don’t realize how much self-doubt and anxiety our core beliefs produce because we’ve always thought this way. We just think this is how we are. We’re comforted by these familiar and almost comfortable thoughts because they’re what we know – they’re predictable. But when we realize that these beliefs are just thoughts we’ve recycled over and over, when we see that we can change these thoughts? It changes everything. Everything about the way you choose to believe in and view yourself. Thinking new thoughts – thoughts that create self-confidence, and then believing them, is a skill.
As I just mentioned, many of the beliefs we have about ourselves are recycled thoughts – so familiar, that even recognizing they’re there at first might take some very intentional watching on your part. But watching for these self-doubts is an important first step when you’re wanting to work on feeling better; in this case, by generating self-confidence.
Thoughts of self-doubt look different for each of us, but just to give you a head’s up of what some may look like, here are some examples:
- Failure is the worst thing that can happen.
- I’m a victim. I’m damaged.
- Other people’s opinions of me define me.
- The less risk I take, the better.
- I’m broken and loveable.
- I’m not enough.
- Confidence is something you either have or you don’t.
- I am who I am, and people don’t change.
- I don’t know how.
- They’re just lucky; I’m not.
- I could never do that.
- Failure is a weakness.
- Other people are different, special.
- I don’t deserve something like that.
- I screw everything up.
Do any of these sound familiar? We may have our own versions, but the result is the same. Self-doubt keeps us where we are. No growth, no change. Self-doubt also feels pretty crappy right. So if you’re wanting to do big things, to make change, grow or even just FEEL BETTER than you do currently, let’s talk about what trusting yourself looks like. Let’s talk about what a self-confident life looks like.
When you have more self-confidence, your life changes. You will…
- Feel more at peace, more authentically you.
- Dream bigger. Set more goals.
- Talk to more people.
- Take more risks.
- Feel more capable navigating challenges.
- Be comfortable feeling uncomfortable.
- Believe beyond your current capability and capacity.
- Live into the future, rather than live from the past.
You know, when I created this podcast, I named it Beyond Happy for several reasons, but the word beyond kept coming back to me. It takes believing in something BEYOND what’s right in front of us to grow. And it takes wanting something BEYOND happiness for our lives to feel purpose-filled and meaningful. And a huge part of that is rooted in what you believe about you. Who you were created to be. Where your identity is. What unique combination of gifts that only YOU have, that the world desperately needs.
Self-confidence is a practice. It’s the practice of intentional self belief. Those with more belief and more certainty in who they are have greater influence. They can make a bigger impact. There are things on your heart I know you long to grow into. Maybe simply feeling better about being you is one of them. And it has everything to do with self-confidence.
So how do you shift this? How do you feel more confident in yourself?
If self-confidence is a feeling, and we know that our thoughts create every feeling we have, we need to go to the source. Thoughts.
Increasing self-confidence requires that you change the thoughts you have about yourself. You rewrite the narrative you tell yourself. Sometimes it’s a narrative you’ve been writing your entire life. But it doesn’t mean it’s true.
A first step is just to consider what’s possible. Consider who you could be, what you could change or believe – what just might be possible – if you trusted yourself. If you believed in your ability to have your own back, no matter what.
Think about that version of you. That future you, who feels capable, worthy. Who feels deserving and willing face risk. What thoughts does she have about herself? What does she believe about who she is? When you find yourself in a moment of doubt, look to her. Her identity is created each day in what she believes about herself? What is she believing that you could learn from?
There is a powerful exercise I’ve had a couple of clients work through after discovering its power in my own life. I call it Truths. It involves writing down everything you know to be true about yourself. It’s becomes a visual list of what you believe about your identity. Now, what you believe to be true about you will be different from person to person. But the most important part of this exercise is to write what you really believe. This exercise can really be a spiritual practice right? Because so many of our core beliefs about ourselves are linked directly to where we find our identity in terms of our faith; in terms of what we believe about our Creator and being created. I’ve had some clients perform this exercise a couple of ways – both very powerful. One way is to list, in your own words, what you believe about you, at this point in time. Be real, no should’s or shouldn’ts, no wishful thinking, but rather genuine current beliefs. Another way to do this exercise is to write what you know to be true about you from God’s perspective. It was actually this version of the exercise I created when we were on vacation in Hawaii, and it really shifted me out of a place of self-doubt and back into the truth – back into the space where I was trusting in myself and my worth and purpose and abilities.
Sometimes we just find ourselves where we need reminded, don’t we? Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary day, we find ourselves questioning all the things, and we just need to be reminded who we are. If you decide to give this Truths exercise a try, I pray that it’s a blessing to you like it has been to me.
Before we call it a day here, I want to share one more thing about trusting yourself and creating beliefs that lead to self-confidence. I feel like examples can be really helpful, so I wanted to share a few with you. If they feel like a good fit, you can totally claim them as your own. Here are a handful, or a couple handfuls, of thoughts that, when believed, can generate self-confidence.
- What others think about me has everything to do with them, not me.
- Others’ opinions are not my identity.
- I was made for this.
- I am capable. I am worthy.
- The worst thing that can happen is a feeling.
- I have my own back.
- Failure leads to success.
- Worry and anxiety only pretend to be necessary.
- I’ve got this. I can do hard things.
- The more I fail, the more I move forward.
- Fear is just a feeling.
- I can be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Let this be a reminder to both of us today. The only thing we need to gain self-confidence is our OWN approval. Let’s take action. Even baby steps are steps forward. Let’s do the hard things, let’s do the stuff we’re scared to do. Rinse and repeat. Let’s make decisions and honor them. Keep the promises we make to ourselves. If we say we’re starting that new thing tomorrow, then let’s write in on our schedule and DO IT. Let’s remember that others’ opinions are just opinions. Let’s remind ourselves the truth of who we are when we need reminded. Let’s learn by doing, and when we don’t know, learn by trusting ourselves to figure out how. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to others, and stay focused on where we’re headed. Let’s let people judge us, let it mean nothing, and let them be wrong about us. Because it was never about them, anyway.
We have this one precious life, and it goes by so quickly, doesn’t it? I pray that this episode is so helpful as you reflect on your own life, how you’re showing up for yourself, and how you want to moving forward. Starting today.
Thank you again for tuning into this episode of Beyond Happy. If you have questions or comments or even ideas for future topics you’d love me to cover, DM me! I can’t wait to hear from you. You can find me on instagram where my handle is @beckyhoschek. If you’ve learned something powerful today, and someone comes to mind who needs to hear this episode, would you share it with them?! I’d be so grateful. I think they will be, too.
I’ll catch you next Tuesday when the next episode drops. We’ll be talking about relationships, so watch for that coming your way! Oh! And if you haven’t yet, definitely subscribe to Beyond Happy wherever you listen to podcasts! That way you’ll never miss an episode, and you’ll be instantly alerted when special bonus episodes drop too.
Have the best day! Talk soon!