By Veena Nesarikar (‘22)
During childhood, people develop certain beliefs and expectations, some of which can eventually prevent them from being their best self.
In an article titled “How to Build Your Belief in Yourself,” it states “Many people create lifestyles that reinforce their self-limiting beliefs. But, quite often, those beliefs are inaccurate and unproductive, and they cause people to live a life far beneath their potential.”
Many students build a mindset that they will never succeed in school. If they stick by this belief, they will most likely fulfill it.
School psychologist Dr. Rebecca Hye explained why this happens.
“We tend to believe what we hear. If we hear something on the news, we tend to believe it, or if we hear our parents tell us something or our teachers tell us something, we kind of almost take that as truth as fact,” she said, “Then you think about what are the things we tell ourselves. If we are constantly telling ourselves negative things or defeatist things like we can’t do something, or it’s too hard, chances are we’re not even going to want to try it. It’s like we’re going to write the ending of the story before we’ve started.”
However, if students begin to slowly adjust some of their beliefs, they could potentially change how they perform.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “Your beliefs create and dictate what your attitudes are. Your attitudes create and dictate how you respond—in other words, they dictate your feelings. And your feelings largely determine how you behave.”
“When I work with kids, and we can alter their self-talk, that tends to be one of the biggest factors that helps them make positive changes or reach a goal,” said Dr. Hye.
If students alter their views on their potentials, they could drastically change how they are doing in school. The power of believing is key to the growth of humans.
According to the American Psychology Association, “Thinking about intelligence as changeable and malleable, rather than stable and fixed, results in greater academic achievement, especially for people whose groups bear the burden of negative stereotypes about their intelligence.”
“If we have more of a positive framework that we’re telling ourselves everyday, a narrative, we start to believe in ourselves, and it helps both our self-esteem and our self-worth,” noted Dr. Hye.
For someone to adjust their mindset, they need to begin with small steps. One way to do this is to set goals.
People can slowly start to adjust their perceptions of themselves by taking small steps.
On another article posted on the website psychologytoday.com, Amy Morin, a licensed psychotherapist gave advice on what to do if someone finds themself socially awkward. She said, “Set a goal for yourself when you’re at a social event; for example, introduce yourself to five people. You might find that behaving in a more outgoing manner leads to more social success.”
For instance, there may be students who are discouraged when they have too much on their plate. Instead of giving up, they can create a schedule to plan out their academics and activities. This could relieve some of the stress and pressure on them that causes them to hold pessimistic outlooks.
Morin said, “Your beliefs, rather than your lack of ability, could be the biggest hurdle standing between the life you're living and the life you want to live.”
Although it may sound cliché, the phrase “If you can believe, you can achieve” is surprisingly relevant in people’s lives.