As an adolescent, you’re still developing your unique sense of self. At the same time, you might see the world in unique and distinctive ways. You might have developed ideas, beliefs, and thoughts about how the world, or perhaps your community, could be improved or made a bit better.
Yet, one of the biggest obstacles for those that have something important to contribute to the world is self-doubt. The philosopher Bertrand Russell described it this way:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
Often, for those who have a belief they want to fight for or a cause they want to advocate, they need to find the courage and confidence within themselves to do so. The following are suggestions to help build that courage and confidence so that you can stand up for what you believe in.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Although comparing yourself to others is easy to do, especially when you don’t have faith in your own life, this is the first thing that weakens self-confidence. There’s only one life to live and that’s yours. Recognize that the ideas and thoughts that you’re experiencing have value. This is precisely what makes you unique.
- Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what your strengths are can add to a sense of feeling good about yourself. Knowing your weaknesses can be just as important. When faced with a difficult task, for example, instead of pretending to know how to get it done and then fail (which can dampen your self-confidence), you can ask for help or simply admit that you don’t have that skill. Admitting your weaknesses is in itself a certain kind of strength.
- Trust your own feelings. This is hard to do when you might have been taught that your feelings are not worth trusting. Often, we are taught to trust reason and logic instead. However, feelings are a certain kind of intelligence that can lead to building self-trust which in turn can boost self-confidence.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. As you continue to build your self confidence, set goals for what you want to fight for. Have specific objectives. Standing up for what you believe in is also going to take action and commitment. When you reach your goals and achieve them, your self confidence will only improve.
There are many triggers that can weaken self confidence, especially in adolescence. However, if you can ignore those and do the best you can to cultivate a strong sense of self, you’ll have the most important tool for success. And you’ll have the self confidence to bring your ideas, convictions, and beliefs about a better world into reality.