Backing yourself for happiness

Monday, January 7, 2013 Permalink

In my last post I said that I believed in myself. And that’s true. I think.

It intrigues me that I can say this (and mean it) and yet still struggle to seriously believe that I ‘deserve’ good things and that they will (indeed) be coming my way.

I suspect (and hope) the next couple of chapters in The Happiness Code, might help me understand this a bit better.

And (on that note) the fifth key to happiness in Domonique Bertolucci’s book is that of ‘backing ourselves’. It is the principle of ‘belief’.

Our life paradigm, she says, is one of the most significant contributors to the level of happiness we experience:

“Your life paradigm is the set of beliefs or operating system for your life. Make sure you choose one that supports lifelong happiness.”

Bertolucci describes our life paradigm as… how we see things working out (or not) in our lives.

Regardless of what we want to achieve in life, Bertolucci says that the first person who needs to believe in our goals or aspirations is us!

“Having a healthy level of self-belief is an essential contributor to lifelong happiness. It helps you see your goals, dreams and ideas as having the potential to be a reality in your life.”

All the WayNow THIS is where I struggle. But why? How I can basically trust myself and my ability to do… ‘stuff’ and yet not believe that I can truly deliver the goods?!

I know I have issues with self-talk and I’ve mentioned before that I do try to stop the little voice in my head which is hyper-critical and talks to (and about) me in a way I would never speak to anyone else.

But I’m actually okay at picking myself up on that now. I know that a negative will almost certainly come out of my mouth or mind as instinct. I then have to stop and question the truth of whatever it is I’ve thought or said about myself.

“Is that really true?” I have to wonder, “Am I really pathetic or weak?” And… quite often (dare I say it, in case it sounds vain or arrogant?!) the answer is no! I may not be the most motivated person on the face of the earth, but nor am I the most pathetic!

“The happiest, most successful people believe in themselves unconditionally. They know they can do, be and have all that they want in life.”

Bertolucci recommends against depending on others to fuel our self-belief; something to which I (and many others, I’m sure) succumb. When I receive praise or a compliment, my heart swells and my spirits soar; but when none are forthcoming (no comments on posts; minimal hits on my blogs; no positive feedback at work) I wallow. I catastrophise. “I’m a crap writer. No one wants to read what I write.  I’m kidding myself. Who the f*ck do I think I am that people want to read anything I write. My boss thinks I’m stupid. Everyone at work hates me.” And so forth. Until I next receive a compliment. And then… all is well again in the world. Self-belief , Bertolucci says, can sustain us through difficult times and help us bounce back from criticism.

She also references how to cope when those we love (or care about) do not support our dreams or goals, and I could think back to my own father or family and better understand why this is the case.

So somehow, even though I have a level of confidence in myself and my abilities and I don’t think the world is conspiring against me AND I’m trying to be more zen-like and accept the stuff I can’t influence… I still seem to struggle to believe that good things can and will happen (for me).

After some pondering I’m beginning to better understand the difficulty I have. And I think this quote offers up my stumbling point:

“Believe in yourself; believe in your dreams and believe in your right to achieve your dreams.”

Like I said, I do believe in myself. I believe I can cope with crap thrown my way. I believe I have skills and abilities to do stuff. I may not be destined for greatness, though few of us are.

But… (and herein lies my problem) I do not believe I have the right to achieve these dreams. I’m back to my old nemesis: my self-worth.

So, my self-belief is okay. But the question is… what do I actually deserve?!



How’s your self-belief?
Do you believe you have what it takes to fulfill your dreams?


  • jules
    January 7, 2013

    Interesting take…….here is something i went through…yes you can believe in the dream, and your skills and abilities………not believing you have the right….
    Then who does?
    what qualities do the people that do have the right have
    Do you have any of them
    and WHY are you different………
    It was amazing for me when I broke it down in this way…..

    • Debbish
      January 7, 2013

      I probably WOULD say I had the qualities Jules, so not sure why I still am undeserving…

  • Char
    January 7, 2013

    I believe that I deserve good things. I think everyone deserves good things to happen in their lives. But I don’t believe that just because I deserve them I will get them. Crap stuff happens to people all the time – good people, people who deserve better. But their are things within my control and those are the things that are worth putting in the effort for. I don’t always feel supported by my extended family when it comes to my dreams (my running dream) but I know their priorities are not mine so their opinions don’t matter.

    • Debbish
      January 7, 2013

      Char, the book reminds us that others have reasons that they haven’t pursued their own dreams or worry about the impacts of our dreams. Obvious (like those who are funny about others’ losing weight!) but makes sense nonetheless.


  • Miz
    January 8, 2013

    LOVE this as these days in the domicile I feel I am the only one who believes in me.

    • Debbish
      January 8, 2013

      Carla, you seem to have such a good sense of self it’s interesting that you also feel that you believe in yourself more than others do. I would have thought you’d feel confident/know that others expected big things of you as well. (Though I suspect that would mean you’d be under a lot of pressure!)

  • Julia
    January 12, 2013

    Deb – it seems like one thing you are struggling with but not naming is pride. Relying on others for your self-worth is often about how others see you and how you want to be seen. Who care if you don’t have a lot of comments or if people aren’t reading the blog in as much volume as you want? Does the blog make you happy? Are you writing for you, or for the audience? Also, at work, if you know you did a good job and you don’t get a compliment from your boss, do you need it to know you worked hard? No. Not unless your ego/pride is hurt. I think pride is good in that we should puff our chests out at what we think we’ve accomplished – but that is not the same as being offended when people don’t notice stuff about our lives. Sometimes we just have to get over ourselves and learn that self-praise is enough.

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2013

      Oh, so very true. I think in one of the other chapters it talks about our self-esteem and the extent to which we let others influence that! Like I say in the post… on one hand I’m confident about certain things but on the other I worry about not deserving it.

      And I do worry about the pride thing. I think my father was big on the ‘never be arrogant’ thing, so I worry about vanity / being (or appearing) overly confident! He struggled with his own worth, so I guess I’ve inherited some of that baggage!

  • Julia
    January 12, 2013

    And to clarify – I say this all with love. I’ve had to work very hard to get over my pride. A lot of that had to do with self love. When I learned to love myself, and to be proud of myself, rather than needing other people to be proud of me, life started to get a lot easier, and more rewarding.

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2013

      Oh, I do appreciate it Julia. In a coaching session with Karen (Anderson) a while ago I had a huge meltdown because I didn’t feel worthy / deserving of having this sea change opportunity. In reality I (sort of) lost my job and got a pay out, but it felt unfair to others, like I hadn’t earned it. She reminded me I’d been in government for 14 years, had paid off my mortgage solo for 10 years and saved the money I had… Still somehow it felt ‘wrong’ that I had this opportunity and others didn’t!

  • Neen
    January 13, 2013

    Can I ask a question? I hope you don’t find me too forward. But do you think some of these thoughts are weight related? For example, if you were at your goal weight and people didn’t comment on your blog, would you be as upset? Or would you take it in your stride?

    • Debbish
      January 13, 2013

      I don’t actually know Neen. I know I’m more self-conscious about other stuff cos of my weight and once upon a time it impacted on how I felt about myself at work etc. Now my self-consciousness is almost solely physical. I think!

      • Neen
        January 13, 2013

        Well at least you are self aware. I think that’s the first step!

I'd love to hear your thoughts