Friday, April 11, 2014

Believe in Yourself

As my children get older they like to hear stories about themselves when they were little. These stories get told so often that they become like family legends. I'm going to tell you one of my son's favorite stories about himself. When he was about 5 years old, we were all going to Wal-Mart and my husband and I gave each child a couple of quarters to use in the bubble gum ball machines. When we arrived at the store, the girls ran right to the machines, but not my son. He walks past all the bubble gum machines and stood in front of the claw machine stocked up with colorful, new stuffed animals.

"I want to play this." He says and gets his quarters out of his pocket with his chubby little fingers.
"No you don't" was my reply. "These games are too hard to win."
I tried to explain to him. I had lost enough money in these machines in my lifetime to know that it would probably end in him crying and wanting more quarters.
"Please?? I really want to play." He pleaded.
"But you probably won't win anything and I'm not giving you any more quarters. You would be better off if you bought something in the gum ball machines, look how happy your sisters are."
I pointed over at his sisters who were looking at their new prizes with big smiles on their faces.
"I don't care if I don't win, I just want to play." He looked up at me with his big gold colored eyes and I caved.
"Fine, but don't cry to me when you lose." I stepped away from the machine and watched as he eagerly inserted his coins.
He knew exactly how to work the claw and instinctively moved it to a stuffed animal lying on top of the pile. I watched with shock as he pulled the animal up, hovering precariously in the metal claw and held my breath as he moved it towards the hole that would send the new toy to my eager son's hands.
"Yes!" He shouted as he pulled the new stuffed animal out of the machine.
I stood in awe as he showed me his new toy.
"How did you do that?" I asked without thinking.
He looked up at me with his big chubby cheeks and happiness in his eyes.
"I just believed in myself." Was his profound answer.

Those words have stayed with me over the years. At first those words produced guilt. Of course he had to believe in himself because I certainly hadn't believed in him! What kind of a mom doesn't believe in their child? But recently those words have become something more. They have become an inspiration to me. The truth is that he didn't need me to believe in him. My belief in him  wouldn't have won him that prize. It wouldn't have mattered if I was the best cheerleader in the world, he wouldn't have won anything if he didn't think he could do it. And if I had actually discouraged him in his endeavor, he wouldn't have believed in himself enough to win either.

We can apply this to our lives as writers. How many times have you told people about your dreams to become a published author only to have them discourage you from your endeavor? Or to see the doubt in their eyes? In their defense, they aren't doing it to be mean, they honestly don't want you to be hurt. Maybe they have had their dreams crushed in the past and they know how it feels. Or maybe they are just over protective of you. Whatever their motivation, it doesn't matter. Neither does what they think. What matters is if you believe in yourself enough to get past their disapproval. In fact, their disapproval will cause you to search your heart and your resolve. You have to ask yourself questions like, "What if I fail? Do I care? Do I want to try anyway, no matter the consequence?" If you still find that you want to follow your dreams then you believe in yourself enough to make them happen. Having realized this about yourself, then you need to thank the person that doubted you, because they just helped you to be stronger and strengthen your resolve. Because it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks you can or cannot do. It never has. What matters is what you think you can do.

Do you believe in yourself?


  1. Isn’t it amazing how our kids can teach us to be brave? My daughter is 8 and she decided she wanted to be in the school talent show. She wanted to dance. I would have never had the guts to do that when I was her age, but she was insistent. I said fine, and I helped her choreograph a dance. When it was her turn she marched right up on stage and started her dance- then the music switched to something else. She stood up, put her hands on her hips, and turned to look at the A/V people with a look that could wilt sunflowers. They quickly put the right music back on and she jumped right back into her dance without a hitch.

    I am constantly shocked at how gutsy my kids are, and how they just shrug and say, “I knew I could do it.” My son did the same thing with archery- he was determined to get a trophy so he did. First place, even. I always have to remember that if you never try, you’ll never fail, but you’ll also never succeed. And that we can believe in ourselves even if nobody else does. Thank you for this reminder!

  2. So true, Nikki. If we are in this to try to convince other people that we can really do it, it's never going to happen. We have to be in this for us, and no one else.

  3. I believe in myself more as I age, when I was young I was forever second guessing myself and thinking I made the wrong decision............

  4. Some days are better than others!



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