The world defines self-confidence as “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment.” There is one problem with that definition – a “feeling.” A “feeling” is fleeting and it can fade. We are all emotional creatures and everyday situations affect us.
There are times our confidence takes a huge blow due to a mistake we made, and we tend to be very harsh on ourselves, or are unwilling to forgive ourselves. When that happens, we sometimes fall into a trap of self-deprecation and that “feeling” is gone. How do we get it back when this happens? Even better, how can we have it all the time despite the circumstances?
Enter the theme of YSA Convention 2016 – “True Millennials. Becoming His Sons and Daughters”
President Russell M. Nelson defines true millennials as: “A man or woman whom God trusted enough to send to earth during the most compelling dispensation in the history of this world. A True Millennial is a man or woman who lives now to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His millennial reign.”
Trusted enough? Most compelling? Prepare the world? The responsibility that we are given is huge! That takes a lot of self-confidence! Some of you might be thinking, “Hmm, this article is supposed to help me. Why is it making me more self-conscious and less self-confident?” Stay with me. It will all make sense in the end. I promise!
We know that our self-confidence does not come in and of ourselves. It comes through God. The underlying question is “How do we draw upon the power of God to gain massive self-confidence?” President Nelson has given us steps to achieve that. They are:
- Learn who you really are.
- Expect and prepare to accomplish the impossible.
- Learn how to access the power of heaven.
- Follow the prophets.
These points were covered extensively in the workshops during convention, and has brought me more enlightenment on 3 key points than just reading President Nelson’s talk alone.
Lesson 1: Developing inner confidenceLesson 1: Developing inner confidence
In the first 2 workshops, I learnt how to gain an inner confidence that nobody can take away from you. Brother Paul & Sister Susan Johnson from the 1st ward talked about recognising and acknowledging our divine nature as sons and daughters of an Almighty Heavenly Father. That’s who we really are! Sister Johnson went on the say that any trials, which often seem insurmountable at the moment we are facing it, can be overcome! How? Because God created us to be stronger than we believe, He loves us, and we can count on Him to help us overcome whatever trials we face.
President Nelson said: “You will be asked to accept challenging assignments and be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. And He will enable you to accomplish the impossible.”
Next, Sister Hunter (daughter-in-law of President Howard W. Hunter) talked about spending more time in holy places, specifically the temple. The temple is the best place is to get answers to very personal questions; questions that could affect the important decisions that we make (such as “should I serve a mission?” or “should I marry this person?”) All these life changing decisions have a large bearing on our self-confidence. President Nelson suggested that we spend time in church, another holy place, and make our homes and rooms holy places. More importantly, He counselled us YSAs to ask Heavenly Father how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. He promises that if we do this with real intent and often enough, over time the spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to us. After all, nothing can give us more self-confidence than having a full knowledge of our purpose here on earth, and what we need to do in every stage of our life with this purpose in mind.
Lesson 2: Being in the world but not of the world. Having the confidence to stand by your beliefs.Lesson 2: Being in the world but not of the world. Having the confidence to stand by your beliefs.
Are there times in your life when it is difficult to stand up for what you believe in? Especially when the opinion presented is popular because it is not morally or ethically wrong by world standards. How do we gain the confidence to call it what it is, and be confident to stand by our answers, despite the multiple opposing views? And sometimes we face these views from colleagues, close friends, or even relatives and family members.
Brother Eric Woon from the Bedok Ward addressed this particular issue. He said we live in a world full of different views and popular opinions, and some of them can be very compelling and convincing. And if we are not careful to discern carefully and look through the veil of lies and distraction, we may be misled by some of them which can be insidious in nature, and damaging to our beliefs.
Brother Woon advised us to focus on the central message of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ and His Atonement, to pray to gain a testimony of that, and base all our decisions and reactions to differing opinions on that. Some of these opinions can cause us to question our beliefs and our confidence in His church; our very foundation can be shaken. President Nelson recognises that each of us will have such questions. He teaches that “seeking to learn, understand and recognise truth is a vital part of our mortal experience, and we will learn best by asking inspired questions.”
I believe that we should go to God with these inspired questions as He is the source of all truth. President Nelson further counselled, “Plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment. Then live and work to be worthy to receive that gift so that when confusing events arise in the world, you will know exactly what is true and what is not. Spend more time—much more time—in places where the Spirit is present. That means more time with friends who are seeking to have the Spirit with them. Spend more time on your knees in prayer, more time in the scriptures, more time in family history work, more time in the temple.” I strongly believe all these steps can help us truly access the power of heaven, and give us confidence to stand by our beliefs when confusing and opposing views that challenge our testimony come our way.
Lesson 3: Gaining greater confidence through obeying His commandments & doing His workLesson 3: Gaining greater confidence through obeying His commandments & doing His work
Doing the Lord’s work is hard and sometimes our confidence is shaken when we fail. Brother Jared Ang of the Toa Payoh ward talked about the difficulty of sharing the Gospel with our colleagues, friends and family. Sometimes we willingly obey but do not get the result we expect, such as being rejected, or even worse, being shunned, and hurting the good relations we once had. That is not our intention, and more often than not we come out of such experiences “once bitten, twice shy.” We lack the confidence to do missionary work again for the fear of offending our friends, and of failure.
Brother Ang shared an inspiring example of how he shared the Gospel with his friend but didn’t get the result he hoped for. Despite her rejection, he continued to talk to her and maintain a good relationship with her. It came to a point when she knew who the full-time missionaries were and often dropped him a message when she saw our young missionaries in white shirts, ties and black name tags on the MRT. Brother Ang knows that when she is ready for the Gospel, he will be the first person she looks for. If we believe we can accomplish His work, which may sometimes seem impossible, we will have the confidence to continue in His work despite the challenges. And sometimes little miracles like this that come as a result of our obedience can greatly boost our confidence.
Next, Brother John Lee from CCK ward talked about Healthy Dieting and Fitness, of how wisely choosing what we put into our body can improve our health and fitness by leaps and bounds. He reminded us that the Word of Wisdom does not simply affect our physical health, but also wisdom and treasures of knowledge as stated in the scriptures. A lot of confidence can undoubtedly come from wisdom and knowledge, wisdom to know what to do, and knowledge of things that are right for us. It is said that a healthy body greatly affects our mind. That is so true.
In my personal experience, sleeping and rising early, daily exercise and healthy eating greatly affects my mindset, and that spills over to my daily decision making, and motivation and intellect to complete any difficult tasks, big or small. I feel more ready and have the ability, both mentally and physically to take on any challenge. With such blessings and confidence manifest from keeping such a simple commandment, why don’t we do the best we can in keeping the word of wisdom? I strongly believe that is why President Nelson gave us the counsel to follow the prophets as they truly “…foresee the grand possibilities and privileges awaiting those who listen with the intent to obey.”with the intent to obey
Do and ApplyDo and Apply
So here we are…the end. I’ll leave you with a quote from Stephen R. Covey, Latter-day Saint author of the highly acclaimed best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He said, “to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Are you ready to gain more self-confidence than you ever had before? Then, I strongly encourage you TO DO and APPLY; to follow these counsels from an Apostle of the Lord and the fine brothers and sisters in the Singapore Stake. I know that if you do, you will truly be blessed with the confidence you desire, the confidence that God desires you to have.
By Leslie Chia