Self-belief is good for your mental health

Temple Two appearing on Holden Showcase ATV0 Photo: Courtesy of Beverly Goldsmith
Temple Two appearing on Holden Showcase ATVO
Photo: Courtesy of Beverly Goldsmith

Singing to millions of TV viewers around Australia, while performing in front of a large studio audience, can be daunting. Just ask the current contestants on Channel 9‘s The Voice. According to the show’s superstar-coaches, a singer must believe that he or she can be successful, and that it’s possible for the audience to believe in the song they’re delivering.

That can be tough to do. I know. My brother and I competed on “Holden Showcase” – a national TV singing competition. I remember standing in the glare of studio lights waiting for the cameras to roll and the orchestra to begin. In that split second, I wondered if we could actually do well enough. Right away, I brushed that thought aside. Hadn’t we practised, rehearsed and performed many times before, and hadn’t we learned from experience to trust our individual talents? When the ‘moment of truth’ arrived, I truly believed we could perform successfully, and we did.

Self-belief is a powerful state of thinking. It’s about the word ‘can’, and about being a ‘can do’ person. This means maintaining a consistent, positive attitude to achieving success, while also putting in the ‘hard-yards’. Such thinking involves more than just being wishful or hopeful. It takes determined practice to maintain a confident trust in one’s positive characteristics – to foster self-confidence and self-worth.

“There’s no such word as can’t”, my mother used to say. She was right of course – as mothers often are. No-one is ever too young or too old to tackle a new skill or take on something they’ve always wanted to do.  That’s why in high school, I maintained a steadfast belief that I was going to have a singing career. And I did, in spite of my teachers telling me that I needed to get a ‘real job’.

While factoring in what someone else thinks about our capabilities may be helpful, it doesn’t have to define us, or our success in life. That comes down to what we accept as true about our ability to be an “I can” person.  However, there’s a flip side to self-confidence. It’s a negative state of mind called self-doubt. It’s an “I can’t do this” pattern of thinking that, when constantly repeated, often breeds failure .

Although self-doubt is often accepted as a normal part of human nature, it can be overcome. It’s possible to conquer doubt in one’s ability to be successful, by taking a couple of mental steps. The first step, is to stop ruminating over, and constantly reiterating the “I can’t” negative thoughts. The second is to emphasize and strengthen the “I can” outlook. You can do this by having faith that you can accomplish the good results you desire.

According to Matt Ahlberg, a sport psychologist with Mental Notes Consulting, it’s necessary to “have consistent and repeated positive thoughts…Saying something once will not do it. The more you hear it, the more you believe it. The positive thoughts themselves need to be honest and realistic.” , and he says, “based on reality”. This is why he recommends writing down constructive thoughts that come to us and referring back to them.

Mary Baker Eddy, a leading exponent in Mind-body medicine, probably would have agreed with Ahlberg. She gives this advice in her book Science and Health. “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” P. 261.

Ahlberg and Eddy seem to be making it clear that the more affirmative thoughts we hold in our thinking, the more self-belief we’ll have, and the better the outcome will be for us. While such guidance may seem simplistic, it can nonetheless inspire us to nurture honest, realistic, self-belief, while at the same time eliminating self-doubt.

Taking this type of approach to mental health, can be enhanced by inspirational texts such as: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”. This empowering statement reminds us that we can accomplish the good things that we want to experience with the help of that divine influence in our thinking. Through this sacred mental power we can strengthen our “I can” thinking, and thus benefit our whole outlook on life.

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I'm a Melbourne based health writer who provides a perspective on the connection between spirituality, thought and health. As a keen blogger, my aim is to provide the public with a diversity of health content including research into the mind-body connection and how thought affects health.

Comments

  1. Dee Jay says

    Another helpful and thought-provoking piece Beverly. It’s great to have your refreshing perspective on this topic. I must admit that in the past I’ve sometimes mistakenly associated “self-belief” with selfishness and over-confidence. I really like the message of focusing thought on the “can do”, rather than submitting to self-doubt! I intend putting that approach into practice much more frequently in future.

    • says

      Well done Dee Jay. It’s possible to eliminate self-doubt and have that confidence which springs from a higher source. Such self-belief is more than just good human thinking. Thank you for your comment. It’s good to know that you are finding these posts helpful.

    • says

      Thank you Leona. It was a great experience to reach the semi-finals of the competition performing songs I composed. Just goes to show what’s possible when you believe you ‘can do’ a good job.

  2. Carol says

    Beverly – I am finding your blogs on Mental Health very clear and applicable. Thank you also for sharing your personal experiences – they are so encouraging. I am just loving the photos of you as a young singer.,

    • says

      Hello Carol. Thank you for your comment. I am pleased that you are finding my posts on mental health helpful to you. Glad you like the photos. Pictures can remind us of the good things we’ve accomplished and to give thanks for the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

  3. Keziah says

    Beverly, thank you for reminding me of the effectiveness of your quoted biblical text Í can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” I have prayed with this text many times and have been so strengthened by the various results of prayer, answers that have always met my need. I call on the pwer of prayer frequently and am never disappointed. Sometimes it may take longer, but the spiritual guidance, the answer is always there. Many thanks.

    • says

      Thank you for your comment Keziah. I’m pleased to know that you’ve prayed with the idea of a divine influence guiding your thoughts and that you’ve found that sacred mental power strengthening your “I can do” thinking.

  4. Keziah says

    I have an addition to my previous comment; and that is the importance of being still and listening for the inspiration and solutions that come to us through our prayer. Cheers

    • says

      Good to have your post script Keziah. Stilling thoughts of self-doubt and making time to listen for those positive, empowering “I can” thoughts, certainly brings out good results as you’ve found in your life. Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    This is so true and so helpful. Self-belief can improve most people’s outlook on life. Most of my family members have suffered from depression, so sometimes it’s hard to believe in yourself, but when they do, you can almost see the improvement it has on their lives.

    • says

      Thank you Chris for your comment. I am pleased that your family members have found that self-belief has improved their lives. Everyone deserves to be free from depressing thoughts…and I believe that they can be free. This is why I write about spirituality and good mental health. It’s a pathway to liberty.