Sometimes, believing in ourselves has it’s connection to old past traumas and life situations. It’s always a good idea to put fresh eyes on what you were trying to do. Specifically, if you’re having a difficult time believing in yourself, and it doesn’t seem to be improving, I always suggest arranging for at least an introductory session with the counselor. If there are old issues that are getting in the way, and they keep resurfacing, settling those always helps us when it comes to believing in ourselves.
Starting something new is scary. Learning to believe in yourself can be a critical precursor to starting a new initiative. Why is it so important to learn to believe in yourself? How can someone work on gaining these skills? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, authors, writers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers, to share empowering insights about “How To Learn To Believe In Yourself.” As a part of this series we had the pleasure of interviewing Faust Ruggiero, M.S.
Author Faust Ruggiero is a therapist with a professional career that spans over forty years. He has counseled in inpatient facilities, prisons, substance abuse counseling centers, and nursing homes, and has provided employee assistance programs to major corporations. He continues to provide counseling services for veterans, first responders, law enforcement, and other emergency personnel.
Mr. Ruggiero has been in private practice at the Community Psychological Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania, for over thirty years, specializing in individual, family, substance abuse, women’s issues, and marriage/couples counseling. During that time, he developed the Process Way of Life and has used it with more than 2,000 clients, helping them realize and unleash the power they have inside themselves. He has been featured on television and radio and in newspaper columns. Mr. Ruggiero continues to counsel and conduct workshops and trainings on the Process Way of Life.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I am one of those people blessed with the understanding of who I am, and why I am here. I knew at a very early age that my position in life would be guided by my service to others. By the time I was a junior in high school, I knew that Psychology would be my course of study, and that helping others who are suffering, and so often, lost in their lives, would be my own personal destiny. For some of us, we need to search for the meaning in our own lives. For me, instead of searching for something, I simply followed the path which seemed to be laid out before me. I was born to be in-service of people, I answered the call, and as a result, I am living a rich and fulfilling life. I have never looked back.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
As opposed to one single individual who may have had a profound impact on my life, I do think I was wise enough to understand that there could be many, and that I could learn from all of them. I think it’s important to keep one’s mind open to the positive energy anyone can offer. We can learn from many people, and we can be inspired by them. So, as opposed to trying to find someone who may provide support for me, I look to establish connections with people. It’s really learning how to form connections in our lives that facilitates learning, and the loving positive bonds that touch us deeply enough to create the inspiration we need to be happy and productive people. I have no preconceived notions about anyone. I feel that allowing others to be themselves offers them, and I, the blessings that come from the honest and deep connections we can establish as a result.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think being prepared as we attempt to help others is very important, both so that we may deliver our assistance efficiently, and also so that those people we are helping receive the level of care that they need. I remember just coming out of college and working with deaf children. In one case, I was working with one of the children, and giving some simple instructions for a task I wanted him to do. I talked for about 10 minutes, and he was nodding his head as though he understood. When it became time to begin the task, he had no idea what he was doing. It would have been a good idea for me to check to see that he had his hearing aids on. He did not. It was 10 minutes wasted, but a good lesson for me.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I’m getting very close to publishing my second book in The Fix Yourself Empowerment Series, The Fix Your Anxiety Handbook. The book was just reviewed professionally, and was given a five star rating. I’m hoping to see the book published by the end of April, 2023.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to believe in yourself? Can you share a story or give some examples?
Believing in yourself is all about your personal frame of mind. I always like to define what I’m talking about, and for me the definition of self-belief is understanding one’s own capabilities, and being able to access those internal strengths we all have, so that we may be willing to take the risks that may be necessary with growth, and achieving our goals. All too often, we sell ourselves short by assuming that we are unable to do something, or that we don’t measure up to something or someone. I think this is a dangerous way to live because it keeps us in a “less-than” frame of mind. We never know our capabilities until we attempt to do something, and we must enter those attempts with the feeling that we have the potential to succeed. For example, if you decided that you wanted to be a professional singer, it would make sense to enter the endeavor with the idea that you have what it takes, and that you are capable of learning everything you need to make that happen. There may be much to learn, but beginning the process with an “I can” frame of mind increases the possibility that it will be successful for you.
What exactly does it mean to believe in yourself? Can I believe that I can be a great artist even though I’m not very talented? Can I believe I can be a gold medal Olympic even if I’m not athletic? Can you please explain what you mean?
I like to talk about positive versus negative energy. Sometimes the definition of this is a bit ambiguous. What I’m talking about when it comes to believing in yourself is taking any situation where you would like to excel, and keeping your mind positive about what you’re doing. It’s back to what I just said. It’s an “I can” way to do things. Internal language is extremely important when it comes to believing in yourself. What you tell yourself over and over again is what you will believe. So, I always suggest that to keep the energy positive, and that you keep the communication with yourself positive. Even if you are not successful in the beginning, keep telling yourself that you can do it, and believe that you can.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
I’m no different than anyone else in this regard. When I was young, I approached life as though I could not do the kinds of things other young people were doing. Either they had more talent, or more intelligent, more athletic, or had some kind of a power I did not possess. I realized that it was not in quickly mastering some skill so I could believe that I could do it. It was all about the process of always being willing to take a risk. I began to understand that it’s not about always being successful. The real meaning of believing in oneself is always being willing to take on something that has a few risks, may challenge me, and puts me in a position to use the talents that I typically do not use. By taking on these challenges I began to realize a stronger power base within myself, and that enhance my belief in my own abilities
At what point did you realize that in order to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself? Can you share the story with us?
I think that happened when I was in high school. I didn’t realize how much ability I had, and assumed that like so many others, I was pretty normal, and pretty much average. Very few people like thinking about themselves as average, and I certainly was one of them. That’s when I decided to challenge myself, and student government was the way to go. I ran for a few student government posts, was elected, and did a very good job in those positions. The key to remember is that the risk you take, that is that new endeavor, does not need to be something that’s grandiose. It just simply means that you want to tell yourself that you can do it, take the chance, learning the process of accessing those unused parts of yourself, and applying them.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Try not to measure who you are and how much you believe in yourself based upon outside influencers. For example believing in yourself is not something you’re going to do by attempting to measure yourself up to others who seem to be more successful than you. Their strengths are theirs. You have your own. It’s important to define your own strengths, and use those strengths to address the way you live your life.
2 . Use empowering statements when you are talking to yourself. For example, if you’re going to join the local basketball team, tell yourself that you can do it, and that regardless of what happens, you’re going to give it your best effort.
3 . It’s always a good idea to make a list to help you understand items that can be ambiguous, like self-belief. I advise making a list of all your strengths, those things you feel good about. Then make a second list of all those items you might list as your weaknesses. Use your strengths as you continue to interact with your world. As far as the weak list is concerned, those are simply items that you can work on to improve. That’s where you take some of those risks, and you enter those situations with an “I can” philosophy.
4 . All too often, our difficulty with believing in ourselves comes directly from our emotions. We have a tendency to overreact to situations, and having difficultly with believing in ourselves is one of those. You probably believe in yourself more than you know, but you may have a fear of failure, have difficulty being in the spotlight, and are simply just not used to applying strengths that you haven’t yet become comfortable with. Trying to be just a little less emotional when it comes to self-belief, and base you’re feeling about yourself on your willingness to take on a few things you haven’t tried yet. Remember, it’s the process that needs to change. It may take time, but it will work.
5 . Sometimes, believing in ourselves has it’s connection to old past traumas and life situations. It’s always a good idea to put fresh eyes on what you were trying to do. Specifically, if you’re having a difficult time believing in yourself, and it doesn’t seem to be improving, I always suggest arranging for at least an introductory session with the counselor. If there are old issues that are getting in the way, and they keep resurfacing, settling those always helps us when it comes to believing in ourselves.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
There are always going to be adversaries and naysayers in our lives. It’s important not to pay attention to them. Also, and once again, don’t try to measure who you are to someone else’s standards. It’s your life, and you are going to live it your way. Very often, the negativity from the outside world becomes the way we think, and now we are our own life critics. Moving past this means moving past that internal language which can become so negative. Others don’t know everything about you, and you can’t base who you are on their opinions. Also, since the only opinion that really matters is yours, it’s all about that positive energy. The way you talk to yourself comes first. Be kind to yourself. If you need help with this, once again, don’t be afraid to ask a counselor to get you through the initial parts of it.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Yes, I alluded to it previously. Self-belief does not come from the outside world. With today’s advances in technology, it’s difficult to become disconnected socially, and too much of what we see on social media, and the news media is negative. It makes us feel pressured to be something that we do not need to be. Don’t try to live up to someone else. Try to get rid of herd mentality, and be willing to be your own person. That doesn’t mean you have to put all of that aside altogether. It simply means that you need to become the person who makes your own decisions, and that you base those on what is important to you, and your willingness to do what it takes for you to feel good about yourself.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
The reason imposter syndrome exists is that we do not understand enough to embrace the process it takes to get there. We have a tendency to look at the destination and not the journey it took to become successful. That’s why I say the most important part of any movement forward is the process it takes to get there. That’s where all the learning is, that’s where we test ourselves against our environment, and that’s where we apply our strengths in order to succeed. Don’t worry about the destination as much as becoming proficient at the process of growth, and you will find your ability to believe in yourself there.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’m glad you asked that. Something I’ve talked about for many years is a practice I call “One Person At A Time”. It’s something I have practiced in my life for decades, and it simply means to express love and joy to everyone you meet, one person at a time. Personally, I don’t think any other approach can work. Regardless of how we live life, most of us have the ability to touch one person, and make that time special for that person and yourself. Since it’s only one at a time, it seems small, but the beauty of the program is best seen when everyone is willing to do it. Little movements practiced consistently, always yield big results.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
This is a question I’ve been asked many times. My life has always been about being in-service of other people. If I were going to have a private breakfast or lunch with someone, I would hope that that time spent together could lead to something fruitful and maybe have a positive impact on that person’s life. With that in mind, and in keeping with my own philosophy of living, I would simply make that someone who is in need of that breakfast or lunch, and maybe a friend for a little while. It’s all about trying to change the world one person at a time.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
The best place to find me is on my personal website at: www.faustruggiero.com. everything about me, the work I am doing, the books I am writing, and contact information is there.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success. .
You are so welcome> It’s always nice to sit down with all of you. Have a wonderful day, God bless!