The strange thing about life is we somehow, have allowed a system to tell us what we are capable of. Things outside of you have somehow been allowed to tell you what the inside of you is capable of achieving. Why is this? People are set over us from childhood, to tell us what we are capable of doing, targets put over our children based off of tests they did and we did in primary school.
Teachers give reports to our parents, and at times we’re lucky if we can even say what we think or if we disagree. It is more of a game of agreeing so we can leave, and saying what we think they want to hear.
At work I overheard a great lesson by a RE teacher where the children were challenged to draw God. In the video a six-year-old was drawing God and the adults and others were saying but how can you draw God, no one has seen him and knows what he looks like? She simply replied saying ‘they will know what he looks like in a minute’. This was brilliant, somehow this 6-year-old believed in herself and refused to let others tell her what she is capable of doing.
Although I never had a father figure in my life, telling me ‘you can do it, I believe in you’. And my mother was also more traditional, and never encouraged football dreams, or my media degree. Her fixed mindset at the time also believed I would not be able to get employed as a black man, with hair. However, I somehow still believed in myself.
Looking back, I believe the secret ingredients, that I stirred, boiled, and seasoned inside me, that enabled me to believe in myself were: –
1) Be competitive
2) Be a rebel
3) Choose the words you allow to become your truth
1) Being competitive has brought me very far in life, but don’t forget I am still a humble Christian, so I do not mean the type of competitiveness that will try to sabotage others to get by, or being selfish and not caring about anything but winning. Selling your soul to win, or losing yourself to win, is not the type of competitiveness, I am speaking of.
The type of competitiveness I am speaking of is more about proving people wrong. I still remember the words of my secondary school teacher saying I won’t amount to nothing, and the words from my first job in education as a graduate learning support assistant, where the headmaster stated that smile will soon drop off my face I am just in my honeymoon period, and later once I decided I wanted to be a teacher but didn’t know which subject, he decided to tell me I would never be able to become a maths teacher. In my head, as I heard their words, I knew I would prove them wrong and what became just an idea, became a mission because of their words. I decided I would show them I would win, and their words would fail, and so the competition began. Now you may think I believed in myself even then but to be honest, I was more of a dreamer it was not real belief, I just knew the impossible was possible, and proving people wrong gave me fuel to continue believing and dreaming.
As a child we used to play football in the estate but I never really believed any of us could be footballers, until 10 years later when one of us was on the path. As a child, we used to sing songs and make music, but I never fully believed we could become big stars until I saw people younger than me that I grew around had actually become mini stars. However, I had a belief that I could go for things I enjoyed doing and be a success rather than doing things I was told would make me a success.
I used this competitiveness/proving people wrong, even through the more difficult parts of my life, such as heartbreaks and being made to be a single father against my wishes. I decided the best revenge in a sense is becoming successful and being happy without them. However, what this did as a child developing this habit early, was it gave me a healthy attitude and a growth mindset of sticking to my goal, and proving people wrong, and competing against the picture they painted of me. I decided to paint my own picture.
2) Now being a rebel can be bad, I gave my mother a lot more trouble than she deserved, considering how hard she worked to bring us to this country, and look after 3 children all by herself. However, the older generation had been through a lot, they were happy to come to England and blend in, and fit in, and just look after their family.
I felt somehow like I needed to hold on to some kind of identity, so I became a rebel in the sense of going against the norm. If the world says I should avoid putting on my CV that I live in Brixton because I might not get the job, due to my address and what the area was associated with. Or if the world says if i show up at the interview, with cornrows or dreadlocks, I might not get the job; I became determined that I will do what the world seems to say I shouldn’t, and still believe I will get this job. I was rebellious in the sense of what I allowed myself to believe, and what I allowed myself to conform to.
Being a rebel from a young age gave me more willpower, which is essential in believing in yourself. Willpower means, exerting control to do something or restraining impulses. And I took control of my thinking, I took control of my world, and shaped it into what I wanted, by being a rebel and not accepting some beliefs or words, that were being given to me.
3) Choosing the words you allow to become your truth is very important in believing in yourself. From a young child, Mama without probably realising it, showed me the power of words. By saying the Lord’s prayer every night (and I still do). ‘Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…’. I realised I can decide what I repeat, and what I receive.
Therefore, when people told me I cannot do something I knew I could decide to say I can do it and to keep saying I can do it to myself. I found when you say something to yourself enough, your subconscious does not know what is real and what is not, I became a person in my own world, deciding what I can do, and what I can’t do. The outside world, and anyone in it, no longer had the power to determine what I allowed to become true in my world, especially if it was said to me without love, and without a heart that wished me well.
Now within the above 3 steps there are other qualities that grew in me, that helped me to believe in myself:-
1) Know your strengths, and make them better. Don’t focus or keep talking about your weaknesses.
2) Dare to try, jump into that plan and give no room for retreat.
3) Forget what people think about you, forget people’s expectations of you, be free to be you.
4) Hold on to who you were as a child, before any heartbreaks or pain, the child that was a dreamer or would dance for no reason, or would smile and play, be full of joy.
5) Remember a time when you thought you couldn’t do something, and hold on to the fact that you did do it eventually. Believe it, say it and keep on saying it, until you see it.
6) Turn negatives to positives, people leaving, or losing a job, or even death. Decide life is too short to not believe in yourself.
7) Take care of your full wellbeing, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual health; by sleeping right, spending money right and saving, so you can invest in your future, and exercising so your body stays positive, praying right, and letting the joy of the Lord be your strength, and I promise you, you will be able to believe in yourself.
8) Become organised by looking at this post (click here). Stop procrastinating by looking at this post (click here). Finally be disciplined and have self control by looking at this post (click here).
Let me know your tricks and tips for believing in yourself, and remember sharing is caring. Share and Subscribe.