You gaze at the pair of ridiculously expensive shoes you long after with unmitigated lust. . . . which will never be satisfied you sigh, for nowhere in your paycheck is there room for such luxuries. Payless will just have to do.

You look at happy couples walking down the street, hand in hand. Not for me, you think, I can’t even get up the nerve to take a welcome basket to that cute guy who just moved in across the hall. You’re quite sure he’d never look twice at you anyway.

You read about the latest celebrity chef, and close your eyes, dreaming away. You would just love to be a chef. Oh, to wield spatulas and whisks, to have your very own set of knives, to create award-winning recipes – the very thought sets your spirits soaring, only to come down with a resounding thud. Right, like you could ever become a chef . . . you’re an accountant, for heaven’s sake.

And so your dreams go down the drain, one after another, not because they couldn’t come true, but because you lack the self-confidence to make them come true. Why? Because you sell yourself short.
You assume that you don’t have the talent, the resources, the ability, the money, the whatever it is you might need to achieve your dream. You assume that all those people who have the shoes you long for, the relationship you envy, the occupation of your dreams are somehow smarter than you, more talented, have access to more money or resources, and that’s where you stop. You don’t think about how those people got the shoes, the relationship, the occupation. It doesn’t occur to you that once upon a time, they didn’t have those things either. Indeed, such people may have more talent or smarts than you, but the main thing that sets apart those who have from those who don’t, is self-confidence.

Self-confidence is belief or trust in one's own powers. It’s not greater powers, special powers, or anything of the sort. It’s belief in one’s own powers – your powers. It’s trusting that you have enough talent, smarts, or access resources to achieve your goals, whether that’s having enough money to buy a pair of shoes or become a world-class chef. When you trust that your talents, smarts, resources are enough, then you’ll take action. You won’t sit around wondering if you have enough of whatever it is, you’ll take action based on what you have presently.

So if you want extra money for luxuries, you’ll trust that you have the ability to get that raise, take that second job, create that money-making website, and you’ll set out to do it. You’ll read those relationship-help books, sign up on that matchmaking website, tell all your friends you’re in the market for couplehood. You’ll save up for that chef class, learn all you can about great cooking, get your foot in that restaurant kitchen door. Because you trust your powers, whatever they are, you will make the most of them.

The greatest disservice we do to ourselves is to fail to appreciate who we already are, to appreciate those gifts and talents we are each blessed with. Our tendency is to focus on what we’re not, rather than value and expand what we are.

Stop selling yourself short and you’ll discover just how fulfilling and wonderful this life can be.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent book is "The Power of Appreciation in Everyday Life (Insomniac Press, 2006). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Nelson welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Nelson anytime at