Kids with absent or distant fathers are often missing that foundational belief in themselves. Absent aloving and present father, kids are forced to fend for themselves and create their belief in themselves on their own with no guidance or backstop.
It’s why so many of us became so independent at a young age. We craved appreciation and encouragement and someone to believe in us, to see our greatness and recognize it, and in the face of not getting that met from a father (who should have been the sole provider of that) we were forced to try to manufacture belief in ourselves with our own unsteady willpower.
We became independent so we could avoid the disappointment of another person letting us down. We decided to fend for ourselves, not trust others and to take control of our belief in ourselves like we took control of everything else.
The problem is that we determined that we needed to earn the right to believe in our self. We determined that belief in self was measured by what we accomplished, how good we did, how mistake free it was or on how much approval/disapproval we got from others.
From this way of thinking, the best we can ever be is tied to how good or bad we did before. As you can imagine, this is pretty dangerous, because most all of us are hyper critical about our performance in most anything we do. Many of us hold a standard of perfection for ourselves and when we don’t meet that, come crashing down on ourselves.
We wonder why it seems so easy for others to take certain risks or show up powerfully. We idolize pro athletes who have the ability to come through in the big game. We wish we could be as good as them. So, we go and try harder, achieve more, do better, plan for contingencies and still we flop around when it comes to the big moment or we somehow check out right before the big moment.
Rinse, wash, repeat. The cycle repeats over, and over, and over.
The quality we are missing, the thing we forgot, is that believing in one’s self is a choice based on no evidence. A father believes in his son, just because.
We didn’t have a Dad to remind us of this essential truth. We didn’t have someone to pick us up when we were down. And this sad missing destroyed our concept of our value and our ability to believe in ourselves.
For me, knowing this, I then go and practice believing in myself for no reason. Sounds great, except I immediately get scared that I’m being a fraud, or being too much, or doing it wrong.
I’ve come to realize that this is simply part of the process of learning to believe in yourself.
Just like learning to ride a bike entails training wheels, wipeouts and cut knees, learning to believe in yourself involves occasionally feeling like a fraud, feeling like you’re being too much or feeling like you’re doing it wrong.
It’s unsettling and off putting to the tightly controlled sense of self we have created.
But, I tell you this. I believe in you! I believe in you because you are great human being, You are kind, loving, intuitive and generous.
What actions would you take in pursuit of your dreams if you practiced fully believing in yourself?
Would you ask for that raise or promotion? Would you ask out that man or woman you’ve got your eyes on? Would you create new levels of vulnerability and intimacy in your relationships?
What would be possible if you fully believed in yourself?