This is a challenge we all face, but it seems so much more pertinent when we’re young. The real question is—why don’t we have confidence in ourselves?

There’s no other species I’ve seen or heard of that is unsure of its own ability to be what it is. For example, we never see a bird on a branch starting to move its wings and then backing out in fear of not being able to take flight. When a mother bird kicks out her baby bird for the very first time from the nest, halfway down, the baby realizes it can fly. After that, there’s never a time they don’t remember it.

Only humans have this lack of confidence, and that is because we feel so insecure about who we really are. We have a deep inner sense of who we are, but there is also an external, societal order that tells us what we should and should not be. What we’re trying to do is mould ourselves to be something that we are not.

If a dog had to fly off a building, there’s no way it would even try. You could encourage it as much as you want, but it won’t jump. It understands that it doesn’t have wings, and therefore cannot fly.

The sad thing is that we don’t fully understand who we are, and so we don’t have confidence in ourselves. Who we truly are at our core is not necessarily a student or an employee of a company. Who we are is love, consciousness, divinity. We are one with Creation.

Our confidence needs to come from knowing that we’ve been created by the Divine, who is infinite, who doesn’t make mistakes. None of us is half-baked or half-done. It’s not as if God forgot to put salt or sugar in some of us. Sometimes that’s how it feels, but we have to understand that there’s a perfection in the universe, and when we are a part of that perfection, confidence comes automatically not from what we do, nor from how good we are at something, but simply in who we are and from our ability to experience love, share love, and our ability to connect with that consciousness. That’s what we’re here for. It’s all there, but we just have to turn inward to tune into it.

The above extract has been republished with permission from ‘Come Home to Yourself-Wisdom for Life from Parmarth Niketan Ashram’ (Penguin Random House) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.


  • Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

    President, Divine Shakti Foundation

    SADHVI BHAGAWATI SARASWATI, PhD is a renowned spiritual leader, author and motivational speaker based in Rishikesh, India.  She’s the author of newly released #1 bestselling memoir, Hollywood to the Himalayas: A Journey of Healing and Transformation. Originally from Los Angeles and a graduate of Stanford University, Sadhviji has been ordained into the sacred order of Sanyas by her guru HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and has been living at Parmarth Niketan Ashram for the past twenty-five years. She is the Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; president of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation that runs free schools, vocational training programs, and empowerment programs; and director of the world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh—which has been covered in Time, CNN, the New York Times and other prestigious publications and has been addressed by both the Prime Minister and Vice President of India. She serves on the United Nations Advisory Council on Religion and on the steering committees of the International Partnership for Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) and the Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty, a campaign by the United Nations and World Bank. She was also the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism. She oversees a variety of humanitarian projects, teaches meditation, lectures, writes, counsels individuals and families and serves as a unique female voice of spiritual leadership throughout India and the world.