We all have experienced self-doubts. Sometimes we feel like an imposter at work or at home, or in the goals that we want in life.
You’re not alone.
Confidence was generally perceived as a genetic trait imprinted on those destined to greatness. It was only after studying the lives of the accomplished- like prophets, business owners, athletes, change makers- that I came to a transformative realization: confidence must be built purposefully!
Musa (AS) is the most mentioned prophet in the Qur’an. He is known to have stood fearlessly in the face of the Pharaoh in an attempt to free the people from tyranny: the epitome of bravery. His courage and confidence were not built by happenstance, but rather a consequence of a very purposeful dua (supplication to Allah).
Remember, Musa (AS) started off pampered and privileged in the Pharaoh’s palace but an unfortunate accident led him to flee and become destitute. Years later, still with a guilty conscience, Musa (AS) is called upon by Allah [SWT]. He must go back to the Pharaoh and intercede on behalf of the oppressed Israelites. At this point, Musa (AS) makes his emotional dua:
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
And appoint for me a minister from my family -Aaron, my brother.
Increase through him my strength
That we may exalt You much
And remember You much.
Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing.”
The Quranic description is vivid. What resonates in this account is the internal struggle between feelings of inadequacy, confidence, humility and self-awareness. We experience similar feelings.
Know that Your Feelings are Not Uncommon
How often have we felt that despite our qualifications, the task ahead of us intimidates us?
Everything within us and around us says that this is the right next move, yet we hesitate. It may be the presentation to our colleagues, a career change, writing an article, enrolling in a course, or advocating for someone wronged. This sensation of fear, overwhelm, and self-doubt, often leads to unhealthy paralysis.
Remember Allah & that You were Chosen to Do Your Own Best
Allah called upon Musa,
“Indeed, I am your Lord…and I have chosen you…” [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verses 12-13]
Imagine being spoken to by The Mightiest Lord. What an incredible boost of confidence; the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth has chosen you to fulfil a role.
Allah is our Creator, Provider, Sustainer, and life’s Controller. When facing a new opportunity, a scary venture, it often gives us butterflies in our stomach. We feel an anxious sentiment of excitement. This is definitely out of our comfort zone.
Ask Allah to Expand You
Allah had tasked Musa ,
“Go to Pharoah. Indeed, he has transgressed.” [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 24]
Pharaoh, the same ferocious tyrant who massacred baby boys and enslaved populations. Imagine how Musa must have felt being asked to face the leader of the wicked.
If you perceive your resources to be scarce, you will feel constricted and this will restrain your ability to see success. Allah [SWT] is The One who grants us our resources, and the abilities to utilize those resources.
Own Your Obstacles
How often do we choose to ignore our obstacles instead of acknowledging their presence?
There’s no doubt: We are living through challenging times. But resisting this current reality won’t help us recover, learn, grow, or feel better. Ironically, resistance prolongs our pain and difficulty by amplifying the challenging emotions we are feeling. There is real truth to the aphorism that what we resist persists.
Because acceptance allows us to see the reality of the situation in the present moment, it frees us up to move forward, rather than remaining paralyzed (or made ineffective) by uncertainty, fear, or argument. To practice acceptance, we surrender our resistance to a problematic situation, and also to our emotions about the situation.
The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad , taught us “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts them with trials.” [Bukhari]