Why It’s Important To Believe In Believing

The older I get, the more cynical I become. That’s the sad fact. I can remember when I was younger, believing in my own dreams, in the world, in the excitement and the magic out there was easier. There was the joy of writing a letter to Santa — or Father Christmas as we called him in our family — and anxiously waiting for a response, checking the mail box every day, hoping for a few words of wisdom or the promise of wishes to be fulfilled. That was magic.

That’s why at Christmas, I don’t just try to believe in the spirit of the season. I try to believe in everything. I try to challenge the cynicism that tells me to always look for a hidden truth, and instead embrace the unknown — the intangible — stuff that makes life worth living.

Cynicism doesn’t keep me warm

For as long as I can remember, my mind has been wired to jump to a cynical way of thinking. A cycle of negative thoughts. A pessimistic attitude. It definitely hasn’t helped me be the best version of myself at all times. The version I’d like to think I am now. The version where self-belief and self-love embody everything I set out to achieve. Along the road to a more positive perspective on life, the following became clear:

If you have a negative frame of mind, creativity cannot grow.
Illustration by Celine Loup

You wouldn’t water a synthetic plant, would you? So why would you waste your precious time thinking about every damned thing stopping you from living the life you envision for yourself? The life you’ve worked so hard to deserve. The life your family and friends believe you deserve.

My best ideas have evolved from being open to any and every thing that enter my mind’s peripheries. A book, an article, a billboard, a tweet. Old wisdom from my mother. New perspectives from my partner. Ideologies gained from my friends. But if I were closed off to the beautiful intricacies of the world around me, this negativity would pull the plug from creativity’s life support. Breathe in self-belief and breathe out self-doubt that’s holding you back from growth. Let go of past experiences to make room for creativity’s ebbs and flows.

What happened to the magic?

Remember that time when you were young — a child, maybe even a teenager. A time when nothing seemed impossible. When it was easy to believe in the a kindly old man at the North Pole who didn’t think the hard times were my fault, who wanted to make me happy and make things feel safe.

When I became an adult, fear crept in. The prospect of things going wrong kept me up at night. Feeling like I was a failure for not seeing instant progress with every task. Forgetting to embrace the magic of it all, whatever the result.

Over time, the more I fell off the wagon, the quicker I learnt to get back on it. To stop dwelling and to start achieving. When I started to believe that it was okay to not succeed at everything I tried my hand at, the planets aligned for me. The magic returned. Believe that by failing you are already halfway to achieving your goals.

Failing at what you love doing sucks. But it’s necessary. There’s a phrase I love that sums it up well: fail fast, fail often. Fail at your first startup company. Fail the first few times you play a new Xbox game. Hell, even fail at cooking the Christmas roast. Fail so that you can ultimately make gains. How? It’s quite simple. Fail. Get back up. Try again. Repeat. Eventually, the negativity revolving around failure will disappear. Failure will motivate you to get up earlier, to work harder, to think faster the next time around. And eventually you’ll get it right.

How I’m finding belief this Christmas

Simple days. Loved ones. That’s all it takes for me to be happy. Christmas is a reminder of the basic human needs we all have — community and connection. We need to believe that we are a part of something bigger. Something more important than just ourselves. It can be a challenge to make this happen, so I have created a list of what I’m looking forward to this silly season:

  • Spending time with family and friends — without the distraction of technology. Without my two smartphones, tablet and laptop. Disconnecting in order to really engage with the people around me. To truly feel in the moment.
  • Writing in my gratefulness diary each and every day. Reminding myself of what I have accomplished. Of what I look forward to accomplishing in the future. Whether that be in a years’ time or a decade down the line.
  • Simplifying daily life. Decluttering my thoughts to emphasize what’s actually important to me. My partner. My family. My alone time.

At Christmas, I am reminded that belief in myself did not come easy. It did not just appear one day. It was cultivated for years and years. It challenged cynicism and embraced the simplicity of it all. Through being with family and through being surrounded by love. I know that as every year passes, I am one step closer to believing in the magic of my dreams, the world and the excitement I have for everything again.

The #SantaProject is a movement to keep the story of Santa Claus alive on the Internet. Join by responding with your own story about the magic of belief. To learn more about the #SantaProject, visit macys.com/believe.