Finding your voice: How to find the confidence to dream big

Finding your voice: How to find the confidence to dream big

Growing up in the age of Disney Channel, I saw young girls on television doing all the things– becoming entrepreneurs, pop stars or captain of the debate team. They knew what they wanted in life and they felt powerful and strong enough to go after it. They inspired me to dream big and go after what I want. Sadly, growing up in a world filled with racism, sexism and ageism, the inspiration I gained from those shows and films dwindled down to nothing. At some point between college and my late twenties, I had to rebuild my confidence, learn where to find it and who to model it after. 

It’s easy to lose your voice in a world filled with endless noise. Here are four ways to reconnect with yourself so that you can unlock your true potential and dream big:

1. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Oftentimes we let negative situations and negative people bring us down. Our external environment may end up having an impact on our mental health perpetuating negative self-talk. In order to build up our self-esteem and self-confidence, we need to learn to quiet the negative self-talk. 

One easy way to do this is by surrounding yourself with good people. Having people in your life that will not only boost you when you’re feeling down, but also share their own positive outlook on life with you, will help you rid yourself of the negativity. Another way to target the negativity is by using things like affirmations to help boost your mood and confidence. There are videos that can help remind you that you are amazing, beautiful and special just as you are. Being able to fill yourself with this type of inward positivity can have a positive impact on your self-confidence. 

2. Do One Thing That Scares You

Building up confidence can start not by taking on big tasks, but by taking on new challenges. Psychologists have found that a little self doubt can actually help you improve your performance. If you do something where you’re making some mistakes, but each time you do it you continue to improve, then the result is increased confidence. I know this to be true from past experience.

Years ago I joined a monthly Quran circle. At that time, my ability to read in Arabic was not great. My pronunciation was poor and it slowed down my reading. I was so ashamed that I was the worst one in the group that I pushed myself to hire a tutor and work really hard to improve. Fast forward to now, where my ability to read Quran with tajweed has drastically improved. I look back on those embarrassing moments and feel proud that it gave me the push I needed to work harder and now I feel confident in my abilities. It was a good lesson that hard moments can lead us to positive outcomes.

3. Find Self-Compassion

It’s easy to put yourself down. It’s easy to be self-critical. In this world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to online personas, it’s easy to feel lesser than. If you are constantly limiting yourself based on past mistakes or being too nervous to try hard things going forward, you may need to take a moment to be kind to yourself. But how?

It’s possible you may need to do the work in therapy, but it also could be that you just need to  engage in more self-care activities. Maybe you enjoy getting a massage or going to yoga. Maybe you just need a day to be at home and enjoy an Uber-Eats meal. Whatever brings you joy and relaxation, you should add it into your routine. Caring for yourself can overall lead you to building inner-strength and peace, which can increase your self-worth and self-confidence.  

4. Pray About It

One of the best ways to boost your self-confidence is through prayer. In addition to being on time with your prayers, allowing that meditative time after salat to calm your nerves and settle your anxieties, you should make the dua that Prophet Musa made when he was preparing himself to face the Pharaoh. 

Rabbish rah lee sadree Wa yassir leee amree Wahlul ‘uqdatan milli saanee Yafqahoo qawlee

“My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance] And ease for me my task and untie the knot from my tongue that they may understand my speech.”

Surah Ta-Ha Ayat 25-28

This dua works miracles if you say it in moments of stress or self-doubt. Allah will surely minimize your difficulties and give you the strength needed to overcome any hardships.


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