When my youngest son learned to ride his "two wheeler" bike recently, he was frustrated before he even got on it. He was nervous and started to cry as he told me how impossible it was for him to learn to ride it. He said that the bike was "so stupid" and he didn't have time to learn a bike. He was afraid, not only of falling down, but that he might be incapable of riding the bike.
He wanted to be able to get on and just ride, but I told him over and over the these things take time and he probably would fall a few times before he learned and that was all part of it. This didn't make him feel any better at all.
So, I tried a new approach to get him on the bike. At this point he was flat out refusing, but that morning he was so excited when I told him what we would be doing, so I knew if he pushed through this fear, he'd learn to do it and feel great. I told him how capable he was. I told him that he walked before he turned ten months old, which is very young. I reminded him how amazing he had done when we went rock climbing and how proud of him I was for that. I reminded him about going on the boat and swimming and how great he was at balancing on the boat and how well he can swim. I told him that he had always been very good at using his body since he was a baby, and that he would figure this out too. He agreed to try to ride the bike.
We took the bike to the back of my parents house where there was never any traffic. I pushed him once for about three seconds and off he went. He didn't look back and he didn't fall.
I can't say for sure if I built up his confidence and so he believed in himself and was able to ride the bike so easily. However, I can say that he wouldn't have even tried if I hadn't made him feel like he was capable of succeeding.
Feeling capable helps us humans to have high self esteem and confidence in ourselves. We thrive when we feel capable and falter when we don't. We are extremely social creatures, so others opinion of how capable we are really matters to us. They can build up our self esteem and confidence, or tear it down. I can't control the way that others talk to me, and neither can you. This article isn't about getting other people to talk to you differently or boost you up. This is about what you can do to help yourself and others feel more capable.
It's very important that you feel capable at work, at play, at home and in your relationships. If you feel incapable in an area of your life, you probably won't enjoy that area and it will show through in your performance. If you feel incapable in your relationships, it will show in your inability to relate in positive ways, your level of intimacy and how confident you feel in a relationship with another. Your relationships will suffer if you feel that you're not good at them.
Anything that you want to feel competent in, you must put the time into studying and practicing. Repetition is the mother of all skill, including intangible skills like relationship skills. You can become adept at having close, loving, happy relationships by studying how to do this and putting it into practice with everyone that you meet.
Years ago, before I started learning about what makes a great relationship, I felt hopelessly unskilled at relating to others. I felt socially inept and when it came to the opposite sex, I was convinced that I was going to end up either alone or in a cold and distant relationship. I really lacked skill but a closely loving relationship was something that I wanted very badly. So, I studied and put into practice what I learned over and over and over. I read books, listened to programs, hired a coach, and this all helped tremendously, but I didn't stop there. I put it all into practice with everyone that I met and then evaluated the results. If it worked well, I used it more often, if it didn't work, then I didn't use it again. (By "work" I mean did it assist me in effectively creating happy, healthy, close and loving relationships)
I did this for years until now I feel very competent when relating to others. I feel that I can create good feelings between myself and anyone and I can help others do the same with one another. My point is: I wasn't always good at it, I had to learn and I became excellent at it. I would say that now it is my genius and my gift to share with the world.
Helping others to feel capable and competent is as easy as letting them do what it is that they want to do with your blessing and faith. If you want to send the message that you believe in them and what they're doing, the simplest way is to have faith in them and tell them just that: "I have faith in you. I know you can do it." We do this with children, but for some reason as the children become adults we think they don't need to hear this message anymore. Adults need to be believed in as much as children, if not more. Their decisions have much bigger consequences attached to them.
If you want to be great at building happy, healthy, close and loving relationships, then put the time and energy into doing so. Read books, listen to programs, hire a coach, apply what you learn, notice if it's working or if it's not and make any needed adjustments. You'll be adept at creating closeness pretty quickly and this will make a world of different in your relationships. This feeling will give you confidence and security in yourself as well.
As far as building up others to make them feel competent and capable really all you have to do is send a very clear message that says: "I have complete faith in you and your ability to do this. I know that anything you set your mind to, you can do." Your words are your own, but that is the message to spread.