In our lives, we spend a lot of time believing in others. We believe in celebrities and politicians, family members and our children, friends and clergy, neighbors and strangers alike. Yet believing in ourselves is a more difficult task.

We have all heard the story of the Little Engine that Could. He steamed ahead saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” until his “I think I can” turned into an “I know I can.” It’s simple really. Believing in yourself empowers you to do or accomplish whatever it is you want. Believing in yourself is the first step in making dreams come true. Believing in yourself in actuality enables you to not just create your own destiny, but to take control of your life. So why is it that so many people don’t believe in themselves?

Every great invention starts out with a dream. The difference between your dream and the dream coming to fruition is that the first dreamer believed in themselves. They took proactive steps to move forward, took risks, took chances, and applied a proactive approach to making their dream come true. They believed in themselves and somehow pushed aside the negative rhetoric in their mind that told them they couldn’t, or that hinted at failure. They turned every no into a yes, and they knew somewhere deep down inside themselves that they would be successful.

The easiest way out in life is to just quit, to think you cannot do something. Whether you want to lose weight, start a business, and pursue a passion – the easiest thing to do is NOT TRY. The human brain can come up with millions of excuses in an instant that keep us completely stuck where we are. It doesn’t take much effort to not believe in yourself. So why is it that so many people are complacent with less than what they deserve? Why is it that we can believe so easily in others, yet cannot believe the strength within ourselves? Are we so afraid of failure, that we just stop trying?

On any given day, you could visit a playground in your hometown. Sit on a bench and watch a toddler, barely stable on his or her feet try to climb to the top of the slide. Watch them try to manipulate the monkey bars that tower over their head. Watch them daringly jump off a swing and land like a tumbleweed on the ground below. It shows you that we are born to believe in ourselves and our abilities. We are born with the knowing that we are good enough, capable enough. It proves that fear is learned. And whatever is learned, can be unlearned as well.

The first step in believing in yourself is faking it. If you have been afraid to take a first step, or have developed a keen train of negative thoughts in your head that only disempower you that you have to take conscious steps to turn it around. Affirmations, such as “I can do this, “ or “I am confident,” or “I am capable,” are great things to start with. Use post it notes and plaster them all over your house, your car and your office that will serve as reminders to yourself that everything you need to succeed are already within you. The more you ‘fake’ it the more these thoughts will take over the negative ones.

The second step is to write down your goals and dreams. Writing them down serves as a concrete, physical way to state your desires. Rather than simply ruminating thoughts in your head – use pen and paper to make them come to life. It is much harder to ignore a handwritten list of goals. Next up, is to use a ladder system to start making your dreams come true. One small step at a time. Change one thing in your life each week, or take one small step each week that will help you move towards your goals and dreams. If you stick with the small steps, you will be surprised how much you will have accomplished in a months time. Fast forward a year, and you might have an entirely different life.

Another important step in believing in yourself is giving yourself credit for your accomplishment. If you have been trying to lose weight or trying to save money – then you need to give yourself credit rather than criticism for each small step you take, and every small success. This will help you to build up your confidence slowly but surely.

Another vital step in believing in yourself is learning to accept yourself. Learning to forgive yourself for your mistakes or shortcomings and realize that they don’t define you unless you allow them to. Think of any ‘failure’ in life as an opportunity rather than a setback. Believe that right now, in this very moment – that you are enough, that you are worth being loved, and that you are inherently good. If you can learn to accept yourself and stop being so hard on yourself – you can more easily take steps to improve your life.

At the end of the day – when you start believing in yourself you leave everyone around you with no choice but to believe in you as well.

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