Never Give Up

Or “believe in yourself” is what you usually hear when music or sport stars are trying to give valuable advice, something everybody could learn from their successful career. As good as this may sound – fostering self-esteem and belief in one’s own capabilities – is this really a principle that works for everybody?

No doubt, if you believe in yourself and don’t give up easily you can reach more goals in life than if you didn’t. But I wonder if this is not advice that works only for people who are already more or less self-confident. People who grew up in a healthy, supportive environment can use this kind of advice and push themselves over their limits to reach more distant goals. But what about the homeless alcoholic who has lived on the streets for many years? Does the advice “never give up” really work for him or wouldn’t it sound more like a bad, cynical joke? And one need not rely on the illustration of the life of the homeless addict. Many ordinary people find themselves in desperate situations where their own power just doesn’t seem to be sufficient to change the situation. Then advice like “believe in yourself” just shows how little insight and understanding the advice giver has of the problematic situation one is stuck in.

The point I am trying to make is that only believing in yourself and your own capabilities is not enough in life because human power and strength is limited. If we trust only in our own strength it might only take a few unfortunate strokes of fate, and one finds himself in the position of the homeless alcoholic. Therefore all kind of self-esteem, self-love or self-confidence has to be rooted in the knowledge that all my gifting and skills are there because they are given to me from a creator who loves me. With this knowledge our self-confidence is put in the right order. We can perform our skills knowing that a greater power than ourselves equipped us and will assist us when we are asking for help in situations where our own strength reaches its limits.

Without this knowledge, the strokes of fate in life might only prove that if you “believe in yourself” you’ve only built your house on sand.