Inner voices of doubt and fear can be powerful detractors. “Who do I think I am?” “What can I possibly give to the world?” “I am so flawed that I can hardly be the change.”
To overcome limiting beliefs, we, the aspiring peacemakers and bridge-builders of the world, must find ways to empower ourselves.
Self-Confidence Can Increase or Decrease
Thankfully, self-confidence is not static. You can have a lot of self-confidence in one area of my life and little in another. In addition, the feeling can fluctuate from one year to the next, and, since self-confidence can decrease, it can also increase.
In the context of social harmony, the goal is not to be better than anyone else, rather to be confident enough to take action. As such, self-confidence can be defined as:
This dual definition subtracts chest thumping and narcissism from self-confidence and replaces it with solution- and action-orientation.
Synonymous With Trust
When you think about it, confidence is in many ways synonymous with trust. Do you trust yourself to deal with anything that life can throw at you?
If you answer yes, then you can move mountains. If you answer no, you have two choices. You can either give up or rebuild trust in yourself. If you choose the latter, it will take time, just like it would take time for you to rebuild trust in a person that betrayed you in some way.
Act As If...
Having said that, you can start acting as if you have confidence already. While self-confidence is related to your character, education, and experience, it is also based on the feelings of trust that you generate from within. Therefore, you can fake it ‘till you make it.
Walk tall, keep an eye on your goals, start taking action, and then get out of your own way. Repeated actions in spite of doubts will give signals to your subconscious mind and your self-confidence will increase with every step to you take.
Small Things With Great Love
If you sense that your confidence is faltering, remember these words spoken by Mother Teresa:
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Ultimately, we need to be willing to overlook non-debilitating flaws when we take action. Perfectionism stops too many people in their tracks. If a flaw is not directly related to your capacity for performing something, feel free to overlook it.
Sincerity and authenticity are more important than perfection.
Rev. Gudjon Bergmann
Founder and Lead Educator at Harmony Interfaith Initiative
This article was adapted from my new book:
Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity to Bridge Divides
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We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We provide people with access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. We use the term interfaith broadly to mean 'a strong belief in someone or something' and focus on improving interrelations between people who have different worldviews. Our primary goals are to remind people of our shared humanity and to support new and ongoing efforts.
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Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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