I have been overwhelmed lately by how many people I see that struggle because they don’t believe in themselves. There are many reasons for a lack of self belief – but I wanted to share this experience to get you thinking differently about yourself.
Not too long ago after a speech in the Midwest, a man asked me if we could speak privately. I noticed as we went over to a quiet corner that the man walked with a cane. He introduced himself as John, thanked me for my speech, and thanked me for taking a minute to talk with him. As John spoke it was apparent that he had some type of speech impediment because his speech was a little slurred. He told me that he had a hard time working with other people because of the way that they perceived him. I asked how he thought that other’s perceived him, and with hesitation he replied “Well, with my condition…” I asked what his condition was and he explained that he had a mild form of Cerebral Palsy. It affected the lower half of his body and that is why he walked with a cane. It is also why his speech was a little slurred. He said that these were the only symptoms and that his mind worked great and was not effected by the disease. I then asked John “How do you see yourself?” He paused, and then with tears in his eyes said, “I don’t know.” We had a long talk in the corner of that room, I explained to John the importance of believing in yourself, but his quick reply was “How can I believe in myself with this condition?” Then I had a chance to explain to him what the word belief really meant. Belief doesn’t have to be this perfect knowledge or a surety of something. The word belief actually means to be in love with. I told him frankly your problem is not your condition; your problem is that because of your condition you don’t love yourself. That was hard to hear I’m sure, but it rang true. We talked about how he could change the way he viewed himself and the way he felt about himself, and after we both shed some tears, I gave him a hug and thanked him for his time. John and I still correspond and I am happy to say that he is growing in his love (belief) for himself.