Self-belief can be defined as confidence in your own skin, abilities or judgement. Many people struggle with this in different ways, for example I’d say I am quite a confident person socially and at one with my body image. But I lack belief in my own intelligence and always seem to need validation, and encouragement off others. Self-belief is such an important quality to have, as without the ability to believe in your own worth and actions you may struggle to reach your full potential and live a less fulfilling life. If you don’t believe in your ability you won’t achieve the standards that you’re capable of. If you don’t believe in your own judgements you will become indecisive and less willing to take risks. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin this can affect your happiness and confidence.
Self-belief is very important as research has proven you can become a self-fulfilling prophecy – clearly evidenced by the amount of self-help books on the market encouraging the use of the phrases ‘I can do it’, ’I will do it’, ‘I am strong’ and ‘I am beautiful’. The fact that there are such books on the market reflects that we live in a society where self-belief is lacking. Although, there is the potential that people may fear coming across as being vein, showing off, or being cocky when trying to express self-belief.
But why should believing in and loving yourself be perceived negatively? We should all love ourselves as we all bring something unique to the world.
It is well known that self-belief can contribute to mental wellbeing. Often those who lack esteem are more susceptible to feeling low, socially awkward, shy, ashamed and doubtful. This is heightened in day-to-day life by the presence of social media, as we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic standards of bodies and lifestyles; this can make people paranoid about their own life, as they will compare themselves to these celebrities and influencers. When it comes to self-belief, comparisons are the WORST, as they can knock your confidence even more, making you feel like you’ll never be good enough. Internet sensations, however, such as Lena Dunham and Chrissy Teigan are more likely to promote self-belief through their raw, non-fabricated posts, which present their imperfections and normal lives despite their celebrity status.
Without self-belief we may never set off on the path to achieving our aspirations, as we need to believe that we have the ability to get there – by believing in our aspirations we will have a clear goal in our lives. I’ve always been told “If you believe you will achieve”. Although this may come across as trivial, I strongly believe that if you go into something with a positive mindset with thoughts of “I can do it”, rather than “I really don’t think I can do this”, you are more likely to perform better. I partly disagree with the commonly used phrase “if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will”. Self-belief does indeed encourage motivation, thus self-confidence, which will consequently make it easier for others to want to give you opportunities in life. Although, this is not always the case! For instance, I may not believe in my own intelligence, but my parents certainly do and they assist me in finding some self-belief.
Overall, psychological research has shown that self-belief is considered one of the most influential motivators and regulators of behaviour in people’s everyday lives (Bandura, 1986). Who knew? Believing in yourself is of great importance, as it can determine a lot of factors in your life; maybe self-belief needs to be encouraged more from a younger age so that we grow up with a strong confidence in our own identities, abilities and judgements.