So what does it mean to believe in yourself?
If you're thinking about the endless reciting of empty self-affirmations that your therapist has told you to do then you're going down the wrong path. I don't want you to recite anything, as a matter of fact you don't even need to tell anyone you believe in yourself because what they think doesn't matter anyway, this is between you and you. I've lived most of my life not believing in myself. I didn't mean to, I just didn't have an easy life and I thought that if anything good happened something bad was sure to follow. I know a lot of people like this. I used to have this thing called “fall” that would happen every autumn (coincidence?). I'd dread autumn coming as some major crisis would happen like a kid getting sick, losing my job, the house flooding etc... The fall was dreaded and feared. People's lives seem to have a pattern to them. Bob, always gets fired, Lucy always has car troubles, John always looses at the track. These people are unlucky in the same manner every time. It's become so routine that they expect it to happen. What we (and them) don't notice is Bob never has car trouble, Lucy never looses at the track and John never gets fired so instead of being the unluckiest people on the planet maybe their the lucky ones? What I'm trying to say is we create stress in our lives. Things get running smooth and subconsciously we get bored and want to “fix” it so it's comfortable and predictable again so we throw a wrench in the works. We don't mean to but we do. Even if we don't go that far we start looking for trouble. You know what they say about looking? Don't do it too hard because you might find what you're looking for. Bob, looks for reasons his boss will fire him, Lucy buys a car with too many miles on it and John spends all his time at the track. Unlucky or just used to their lives? So Lucy wants to improve her life so takes the bus to work and gets fired. Bob, gets a really decent boss and can't get fired so he buys Lucy's car. John, believing he'll get lucky one day continues to go to the track and lose. His wife leaves him because they never have any money and he tells his buddies it's because he's unlucky. All of these people can change their lives if they do one thing – believe they can.
A long time ago I took a job standing in a field holding a flag so a farmer could spray his crop in a straight line. That was the phase of my life where I thought reaching for the stars meant getting the Lucky Charms out of the pantry. Anyway it had been raining and we were driving around the muddy hillsides in a 4 wheel drive farm pickup. Ravine after ravine, bog after bog we forged through with our 4 wheel drive. Right about lunch time we'd stopped somewhere and the guy driving reached down on the floorboard to get his lunch and noticed he'd not engaged the front wheels. The whole morning we'd been driving around in two wheel drive and didn't get stuck! That doesn't mean two wheel drive is as good as four, it means that we tackled stuff that we normally wouldn't have because we thought that we could. We believed we had more traction than we did.
I've always remembered that and tried to apply it in the rest of my life. It's hard sometimes though because we like to lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we aren't good enough for that job, she/he wouldn't be interested in us, we can't learn a new task because we're too old ad infinitum. We tell ourselves this because it's safe, nobody will get hurt if we just stick to the status quo. As long as Lucy's car is still breaking down and John is loosing at the track things are good, or so it seems. I'm here to tell you things can be much better.
Believing in yourself is one of those things your mother tells you when you're a kid and you ignore because you know she doesn't believe in herself so why should you? It goes along with sayings like money doesn't grow on trees, you can be anything you want, good things come to good people etc... All of these things are true but are really damaging nonetheless. As long as you believe money doesn't grow on trees you'll probably not have any. Parents recite the last two because they hope you'll believe them and have a better life than they did (since they didn't believe it when their parents told them).