If you believe in yourself!

Monday, March 19, 2012

By mai doan, SAFIRE organizer

So, many of you have probably seen the youtube video that went viral of a little kid’s post-first bike-ride speech. If not, you’re missing out and luckily can catch it here. (Oh, and the “Songified” remix version, which is almost better than the original, as long as you watch the original first.)

I watch these videos at least once a day. Not only because when I like something, I tend to listen / watch / wear it on repeat for days on end, but because there is something amazingly powerful about this child’s message and the energy through which he brings it to life.

"Everybody! If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike!"

Prior to catching wind of this video, I had been thinking a lot about “believing in yourself.” It’s a phrase I had gotten used to shying away from because it was a cliché and because it is typically used in relation to an idea of succeeding that affirms competition and the oppressive hierarchy I have been trying to dismantle since I was a small child. But, as I’ve moved into adulthood and my own process of finding my voice and power after years of actively not believing in myself, I have been reclaiming this phrase.

Connecting with the young women of SAFIRE, I am constantly reminded of my own journey of building self-confidence against a world of systems and people that carry those systems which serve to tell us we are wrong, that our thoughts are stupid, that we are ugly, that we can’t, and that everyone else is better than us. These systems talk us out of believing our own inner voice, our own feelings our own dreams, our own love for ourselves and those around us. Every single young person that has come through SAFIRE has talked extensively about the struggle of finding their self-confidence. This is always hard to hear and work through because as an older person, on the other side of a few major life experiences and hurdles, I want so badly for them to just believe in their brilliant, radical, dreaming selves.

The power of truly believing in yourself is not a medal or an A+, but a deep and full love of oneself. When we love ourselves, we are more able to get our needs met, we are more able to say no AND yes, we are more able to stand up against the injustices that continuously attack us and others on all levels. When we believe in ourselves, we love ourselves, and when we love ourselves, we become deeply convinced that we deserve a life absent of isolation, alienation, oppression, violence, abuse, scarcity. But the first step is unplugging; unplugging from a frequency that affirms that these things are inevitable and unchangeable. This unplugging is the underpinning of the work we do in SAFIRE.

If you believe in yourself, you can learn how to ride a bike. And smash patriarchy, racism, and capitalism, too.