‘Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you can imagine.’
-Roy T Bennett
When a small child is learning to walk, they fall down and get up many times and don’t give up. They are proud of the things they create and delight in each new thing they discover and each achievement they make.
Yet fast forward the years and the child may have lost much of that confidence, resilience and challenge seeking.
Of course once in the world we begin to face all sorts of experiences which may affect our belief and confidence in ourselves. This forms our ‘Core Beliefs’ – a term used by cognitive therapists. These are the beliefs we have of ourselves and others which can stay with us for years. Also affecting our core beliefs is our personality; how sensitive we are, how high we set standards for ourselves etc.
As humans we are naturally social, in part due to the ability to help each other and for increased chance of survival. Infants look to parents and care-givers for love and nourishment. When older it is important to be accepted into the group in order to benefit from security and care, and to be outcast is to be vulnerable. In the modern world we often still seek this approval from others, sometimes in a way that is excessive. This can be self-limiting.
Early experiences that can affect us in a negative way are often cited as – too much criticism from parents not balanced with praise, comparing with siblings giving a perception that the sibling is favoured, bullying, unstable home life, lack of bonding with care-givers, difficulties learning at school etc.
As an adult we might be over-looked for promotion, find ourselves in an abusive relationships, have a failed business, suffer bullying including via social media etc. Sadly, bad luck may cause a person to have more negative experiences than others. They may start to believe that problems are their fault and that they are inadequate in some way. Sensitivity to others’ critical views can be heightened causing anxiety and depression, whilst these states of mind can also cause hyper-sensitivity to others’ negative opinions.
It is important to be aware of any ‘negative self-talk’ and remind ourselves of what we have achieved, and what qualities we have, what we really enjoy and what is important to us. Sometimes it is useful to share these feelings and reflect on them for deeper understanding. We also need to move forward positively, and train ourselves to be a little less concerned with the judgement of others.
‘Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.’
Roy T Bennett