Some time ago I received a “BELIEVE” sign as a gift from a friend. My oldest daughter soon claimed it as her own and she hung it proudly above her bed. While the sign may have been intended to inspire a belief in Santa or the general Christmas spirit, for my daughter it represented something more.


It became her motto or mantra, and a reminder for me as well. Every time I walked into her room I saw my responsibility, as a parent, to let her know I believed in her.

The word “believe” can be applied in several different ways. It can reference your religious faith (“I believe in God”), the trustworthiness with which you credit an individual (“I believe my friend had my best interests in mind”), or the confidence you have in your own abilities (“I believe in myself).”

We want to feel confident in our own abilities but often it where we doubt the most.”

As I was leaving an appointment the other day I saw this quote on the wall:

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right - Choosing Wisdom

I Believe I Can

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Our discouragement and doubt can drown out our desire to find success. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard someone say “You can do anything you set your mind to.” But do we believe it?

Our brains have a much greater capacity than we give them credit. In my post “Mind Over Matter,” I discussed how thinking positively can influence our abilities. Believing in ourselves and our abilities is like the story of The Little Engine That Could. The engine’s positive self-talk (“I think I can, I think I can”) kept her mind focused on progressing in the moment rather than the ultimate and seemingly impossible goal of making it to the top. It is not a matter of doing one big thing to make a change, but the millions of little things that change us by small degrees every day.

There is much discussion about “I AM” statements but they are only part of the secret. It also takes belief! To truly believe I AM who I want to be, I have to create PROOF by ACTING toward the goal. Belief is acquired one step at a time. I DO until I begin to BE! And then I can truly believe that I AM!” -Cary Mac Arthur

Are You the Master of Your Fate?

In 1966 Julian B. Rotter conducted a study to determine how we process our ability to be in control of our fate. The results determined we have either an internal or external locus of control, locus meaning location. Individuals who feel their choices, personal determination, and self-belief affect the outcome of their lives have an internal locus of control. Individuals who feel that there is some external force, luck, or fate that determines how their life plays out have an external locus of control.

The study also identified various contributors to why an individual might have one type of locus of control over another, but one of the more important conclusions was every one of us has the power to change it. The study concluded that we can change our perception and relocate our locus of control to be internal instead of external.

Studying how religious beliefs affect one’s locus of control, Rotter and his researchers found participants who had an internal locus of control scored higher on the God-control dimension.  At first glance, it seems contradictory to have an internal locus of control allowing for belief in a power outside of ourselves. What this finding ultimately translates into is the religious concepts of faith and works.

Faith without works is dead.”James 2:20

Applying this scripture to the God-control dimension of the study would mean as individuals we work to do all that we can to create, endure, and change the situations of our life, and then have faith all will be made right through the grace of God in the end.

Our works or actions demonstrate the desire and intent of our heart. Our faith allows the external control that a belief in God will make up the difference between what we can humanely achieve and what we want to achieve.

Believe What We Know

We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps a more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know.” –David A. Bednar


You may be working through a divorce, suffering from depression, feeling alone, dealing with the residual effects of abuse, or struggling with unemployment or a dead end job. What do you know will help you work through the difficult periods of life? For me, I know life has a purpose and we are here to learn.

My cousin’s 2 ½-year-old daughter is at the stage of doing everything herself. While at a park with her I tried to explain how to go up a playground toy. She pushed me aside and said, “I do it myself!”

Just like teaching a young child a simple skill, we too learn the most by “doing it ourselves.” The act of learning new skills give us more confidence in our abilities and helps us discover our potential. Knowing our potential can make all the difference when it comes to believing in our self.


We all have many stories we believe, but the most important one is the one about who you are. It’s the story of you.

What sort of person you are, what you’re good at, where you came from, what you do and who you are to other people in the world… it’s all a story that you believe.

I love that it’s a story because stories allow for creativity and playfulness and dynamics. Stories are something we can craft and create. And please know that your brain is writing that story with or without you directing it.

It thinks the story is just an observation of what’s true.

Sometimes observations might be a story that serves you but many times it is not. But if you pay attention and choose to, you can be the author of your story. Not by what you do but by what you believe about who you are.

Who are you?

How you answer that question is not trivial… it is everything.

Put some thought and intention into it.

How can you practice believing in yourself?

If you found this post helpful, would you mind sharing it with a friend?

Believe - Choosing Wisdom

Want to dive a little deeper? Be sure to check out chapter 3 —
“Practice Believing” in my book Practicing Progress.

Believe 1

Rotter, J.B., Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, (1966) 80, 1-28.
Bednar, David A., “If Ye Had Known Me.” Ensign. Nov. 2016, p. 105

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16 thoughts on “Believe”

  1. Great blog post, Lori! I always say to myself, if someone else can do it, so can I. That is how I believe in myself and my capacities. I think it’s also important to give that believe in yourself mantra to our children. Of course when they are young but I think it’s even more important when they hit the teens ages. Thanks for your thoughts on this concept, I loved reading it.

  2. Faith and works and Works and faith go hand in hand. We grow much of our own food. We put in the work and through faith we have a plentiful bounty every year.

  3. Believe is such a powerful word! I feel motivated to teach my children to be dedicated to believing in themselves, as well as believing in our purpose here on earth. Very inspiring post!

    Thanks for joining #WanderingWednesday #linkup with Confessions of Parenting! 🙂

  4. This is such a great and inspiring post! I have always loved that Henry Ford quote. I try my absolute best to model this for my children, and let them know that I believe in them completely. Honestly, watching their boundless belief in themselves inspires me to believe in myself daily!

    1. I love how important you feel it is to model this for your children! They watch us much more closely than we realize and the good and bad rub off. Great parenting – Thanks for stopping by Amanda!

  5. jenniferwise4heritagemakers

    Great thoughts. The Henry Ford quote is so true–if you don’t believe you can, you most certainly can’t. Sometimes even a little belief in our own ability will allow us to surprise ourselves. For me, a trust in God–that He knows me REALLY WELL–helps me do those things that end up surprising me. 🙂 The idea (as Elder Bednar said) of sticking with what we DO KNOW is a very, very powerful tool.

    1. Jennifer I totally agree! Faith and trust in God is essential for me too! As I come to understand who I am and what His plan is for me I’m better able to believe in my own abilities because I know they are a gift from Him.

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