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The Role of Self-Belief in Resilience

Does our belief in ourselves, our confidence help us come out of challenges or do they make us more vulnerable and cause us to succumb to the challenges? In the field of positive psychology, which focuses on the positive aspects of human behaviour and characteristics, decades of research have shown that confidence in oneself and on the cognitive resources at one’s disposal, we can bounce back and not ponder on feelings of helplessness in difficult situations. 

Self-belief, our belief in our capabilities to direct our efforts for the desired outcome. It is our confidence in our ability to deal positively with everything that life throws at us. 

How does self-belief build resilience? 

While our fears and doubts about situations are essential for survival, every time we face our fears or do something we were afraid to do, we grow as individuals. We prove to ourselves that we have the capability to face adversity and come out resilient. The more adversities we face, the more skills we acquire, which builds our confidence and resources to effectively come out of similar situations. This confidence gives us a sense of control over the situation. 

How does Self-Belief help in demonstrating Self-Confidence?

  • Demonstrate confidence in doing tasks
  • Cope effectively in crisis situations
  • Achieve whatever you set your mind to
  • Hopeful and calm during setbacks
  • Confidence in uncertain situations

This confidence does not come over night. As mentioned by APA, in their article on building resilience, resilience is like building a muscle. It takes time and intentional efforts. Some strategies one can adopt to build self-belief are:

  1. Set clear goals and chart out a plan to achieve them.
  2. Learn vicariously from role models. Observe what they do and how they do in challenging situations.
  3. Identify a mentor/coach to help you build your confidence in coping with difficult situations.
  4. Challenge your existing beliefs of yourself. 

Once we challenge our self-belief, we look at the situation in a different way, and then we respond to it differently. We use our belief as a reframing strategy.

A word of caution while focusing on self-belief to building resilience. We must be realistic about our capabilities and have a true self-concept, as near to the real self. If we go ahead and overestimate our abilities, it may lead to over-confidence, arrogance and may lead one to take higher, calculated risks.

“I suppose if a man has something once, always something of it remains.”

― Ernest Hemingway

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