In this Dove ad, a forensic sketch artist for the FBI asks a series of women to describe themselves while he sketches them. Then, with the women never having seen the sketch, they leave and the sketch artist asks another person to describe the same woman. Both sketches are placed side by side and put on display. Cue images of the women looking amazed at how much more attractive the second sketch makes them look. Tagline: "You are more beautiful than you think."
Anime and Manga
Episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, where after various incidents begat by Teana's feelings of inadequacy from being the normal one in the team which drove a fanatical need to prove herself, Nanoha goes to have a talk with Teana, explaining to her that her skills which she felt were mediocre were powerful when used correctly, and that Nanoha did feel that Teana can stand on her own as an enforcer and had already planned to eventually train her in that direction after she had mastered the skills she specialized in and gained enough confidence in them. After this realization, Teana would go on to become one of the most effective members of the team.
Also, in the last episodes, after Fate nearly suffers a Heroic BSOD at the hands of the Big Bad (who attempts to prove that she is Not So Different from her Evil Matriarch mother), her adoptive kids Erio and Caro explain to her just what exactly makes her awesome, putting her right back into the fight.
Happens over and over in Spiral, since the protagonist has a serious problem with being overshadowed by his older brother.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon has zero self-confidence. Kamina supplements Simon's lack of confidence by telling him "believe in the me who believes in you" over and over through the first third of the series. Later on when Kamina is dying, he tells Simon to "believe in you, who believes in yourself", citing all the great things Simon did.
Also in between he told him: "Believe in yourself, who believes in me."
Basically, he's trying to tell Simon that Simon needs to believe that Kamina sees something in him that even Simon doesn't. And, using the flipped versions of the Cave-In story, told first from Simon's POV and then from Kamina's POV, Kamina clearly takes this as fact.
When Usopp was going through an emotional crisis because he saw himself as the weakest Straw Hat in One Piece, Sanji, who was known not to hand out compliments to the male crew mates, was quick to point out that everyone had something that only they could do and cannot do. And when Usopp shot Spadam, giving Robin a chance to escape, Sanji shouted out "Look! Our sharpshooter rules!"
In Dragon Ball, Jackie Chun, having been revealed to be a disguised Master Roshi, gives one of these speeches to Tenshinhan during their fight in the series' second world martial arts tournament. It leads to the latter's Heel-Face Turn.
Done in Onani Master Kurosawa. Kurosawa attempts to convince Kitahara that she's strong enough to fight through her troubles on the train home from their school trip. He's not exactly correct, but then again, he's not exactly wrong, either. She just needs a little help.
In Tiger & Bunny, an early episode is about a young NEXT boy who used his powers to go on a rampage, because his classmatesbullied him. By the end of the episode, though, Kotetsu is able to convince the boy that his powers are meant to protect people. It ends up working, just as it did on Kotetsu himself when he was around the boy's age, and his childhood hero, Mr. Legend, encouraged him to be a hero.
Rukia does this for Ichigo in Bleach. After Ichigo's first encounter with Yammy, where his inner Hollow tried to revolt, his friends got hurt, and Urahara had to save his life, a team of shinigami including Rukia is sent to reinforce Karakura town. The first things she does when she returns to the world of the living? Grab Ichigo, throw him at a wimpy Hollow, and inform him - in very loud and almost angry terms - that instead of moping around because his friends got the crap beat out of them, he should stand up and get stronger so he can protect them, because she believes he's capable of defeating their enemies. Doubles as a Ship Tease, depending on your views.
Rukia: "If you're afraid of losing, just get stronger. If you're afraid of not being able to protect your friends, swear to get stronger until you can protect them. If you're afraid of the Hollow inside you...just get stronger until you can crush him. If you don't want to listen to others, then hold your chin up and yell those words to yourself! That's the kind of man you've been...in my heart, Ichigo!"
Rukia: Listen, Inoue-san. In battles, the ones who get in between aren't those who have no power, but those who have no resolve. No one was a burden to anyone else in the soul Society battles. not Ichigo, nor Sado-san, nor Ishida-kun. And neither were you, Inoue-san. If any of you were less than you are, I wouldn't be here today in the first place."
In Code Geass, Euphemia for a time feels like she's completely useless in this world. She realizes that she has the power to try making a better world after getting a "you're fabulous" speech from her Psycho Lesbian fangirl.
Fairy Tail: While waiting for the next day to fight the villains on Galuna Island, Lucy summons her the harp Celestial Spirit to pass the time. She starts singing this trope in musical form, which helps Gray who was plagued with doubt over the death of his teacher years before.
Lyra: You are stronger than you were yesterday.
Persona 4: The Animation uses these liberally. Basically any time a hero is facing down his or her shadow (essentially the personification of their flaws, as well as the parts about themselves they do not want to admit to themselves or show to others), another character gives them either one of these or a You Are Not Alone.
Kamisama Kiss has Tomoe say this to Nanami when she is trying and failing to perform a holy ceremonial dance after being an all around asshole and a Drill Sergeant Nasty towards her from literally the first minute he met her.
Naruto told this to Hinata, when she felt bad, about him having to rescue her in the war, despite her vowed to herself that she'd be the one to protect him.
Jeremy (crying): I smell, don't I? I smell like I'm rotting, right?
Ian: Even though he raped you, and you prostituted yourself, you don't smell rotten. What happened to you was an incident. It doesn't change you into something else.
In Little Busters, Kyousuke and occasionally other characters often think this towards Riki and Rin, but the thought is rarely vocalised. However, there's a good example at the end of the first season where Kyousuke insists on making Riki captain of their baseball team, and when Riki rejects the title and insists that he'd be happy just following Kyousuke forever, Kyousuke tells him firmly that he knows he can do it and become so much stronger if he tries.
In A Certain Magical Index, Othinus manages to temporarily defeat Touma by warping reality to create a perfect world where everybody is happy and alive, but nobody remembers him. He falls into despair, because Othinus has made him irrelevant, and reasoning that he's become the villain because only a truly selfish person would want his old life back at the expense of the smiles of everybody in this world, and attempts suicide. The Will of the Sisters Network, who retained her memory of the original world, stops him and says he matters. She also points out that Othinus "cheated". If she hadn't made everybody forget about Touma, they would have rejected the new world and wanted the one with him in it. The Will also says it is okay to be selfish, because he has a life he deserves to be happy in too. This restores his resolve to oppose Othinus and get the world back to normal.
The Transformers IDW comic has the noble Wing from Spotlight: Drift try to teach this to the Decepticon Deadlock. It eventually worked, and Deadlock became Drift.
Teen Titans has Kid Devil, who tried desperately to be a good superhero but always felt like the weakest link of the team because of a string of losses. It came to a head when Clock King kidnapped and brainwashed him into fighting in a teenage superhero bloodsport and almost killing someone. Miss Martian managed to snap him out of it by reminding him of his dream to be a hero and what a sweet, earnest person he truly is.
Interactions between Nightcrawler and Wolverine in X-Men and Wolverine had this nuance. At one point, Nightcrawler told the manageress of a bar "the only thing that is hard is Logan's skeleton and claws, the rest is an honorable man ..." Logan is there.
This is what Buzzard tells The Goon in the issue Buzzard first appears
Buzzard: You are better than you think you are.
Here's an interesting take on it: After Dr. Octopus severely injured the Black Cat, Spider-Man gave the villain the beating of his life. Doc Ock lost his confidence as a result, becoming a cowardly shell of his former self, unable to fight, with a bad case of arachnophobia. Eventually, Octopus tried to kill his foe indirectly, sabotaging a nuclear reactor - which would kill everyone in New York, unfortunately. But after his out-of-control tentacles let him defeat the hero - by accident - Spidey convinced him to shut the reactor down so that there'd be witnesses to know of his "great triumph". And it worked. Ock gained his confidence back, thinking he was letting the hero live with the humiliation by sparing him. (To Spider-Man, pride wasn't an issue when the whole city was at stake.)
Years later, Doc Ock would do the reverse to Spidey in Superior Spider-Man. Earlier, he had convinced the remains of Peter's "spirit" that he was unsuited to be Spider-Man for endangering a child. Sometime later, thanks to the Goblin King, Ock encountered that same child and was ready to abandon her before the spirit came roaring back, forcing Otto to save her, that when there's trouble, you don't plan, you just do the thing you think is right. Otto comes to realize that the real Superior Spider-Man really was Peter Parker because, while Otto was an arrogant man who overcompensated for his failings, Peter was a man who sabotaged himself because he never felt himself worthy of the greatness he could have deserved. He, then, erases his memories and personality from Peter's mind, giving him control once more and asking him to save the woman he fell in love with.
Dr. Light: I made you in my image. I built your heart and gave you eyes. I gave you power and a sense of justice beyond any compare... I gave you hands, a child's face... Heh... Robot hair. But this burden, the burning in your heart, I did not put there.
In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Haruhi learns about her powers, meaning she also learns that the world is in constant threat of destruction because of closed spaces and how hard times Kyon has lived because of her. All of this makes her worry if she's forcing Kyon against her will if not outright breaking him. Kyon counters by mentioning her own growth and whatever trouble she's causing, it isn't intentional on her part.
Invoked in With Strings Attached. Earlier on the quest for the third piece of the Vasyn, Ringo had been down on himself because he was a physical wreck after a few days of hard travel and little sleep, while the others were all fine. Though they try to convince him he's not useless, he doesn't really believe them. However, when the formerly hostile Hunter says that Ringo's mindsight is the single most valuable ability among the four, Ringo is a lot more convinced. Later, after the battle on the Plains of Death, where Ringo more than proves his worth, the Hunter claps him on the shoulder and says “Never disparage yourself again.”
In Reconciliation, Hanako learns that Hisao and Lilly had found and kept around the chess set Hisao gave her, even though she parted ways with them for eight years after her bad ending. Hanako suggests that they did it as a reminder of how awful she was, but Lilly then forcefully tells Hanako that she is not an awful person and they kept it because they missed her.
One of Shepard's favorite social attacks in Glorious Shotgun Princess, where thanks to becoming a Solar Exalted, the already-charismatic hero can convert opponents to her side with a single phrase. Most often "You can be better."
Earth and Sky: When Pipsqueak slips into a Heroic BSOD over his self-perceived cowardice during the fight with the LaFish brothers, compounded by having previously failed at all his other goals in life, Soarin' is able to pull him out of it by giving him a speech along the lines of this trope.
The Pony POV Series has this happen in the Dark World to help Twilight and Applejack complete their Heel Face Turns, Twilight from Cadence's spirit and Applejack from her little sister and the pony equivalent of God (well, one of them anyway). Later on the two of them and their group do the same for Rainbow Dash, telling her they made the same mistakes she did, forgive her, and tell her they know she can make up for what she's done.
In Address Unknown, Derpy gets one from Twilight after breaking down in the library over her latest screwup (actually Twilight's fault) with the mail. "Derpy. You are not a failure or a featherbrain. I can tell deep down that you are a very kind and intelligent pony. Trust me, Derpy. Most ponies out there don’t look at you for who you are. They see what they feel like seeing and then go on with the rest of their lives, oblivious to what hurt they may be causing. You need to look past that, because the ponies who don’t take the time to care, don’t deserve the satisfaction of making your life miserable."
Later, Twilight invokes In Another Mare's Shoes by taking a potion designed to temporarily mimic Derpy's eye problems. "For a pony with normal sight to suddenly see like you do, it's entirely debilitating. I could barely stand, let alone walk; I knocked over everything in my path, and I nearly gagged from the intense vertigo it caused. But you... You may be slightly clumsy, and not fly entirely straight, but you've adapted to it enough to function as well as anypony else. Right now, I can truthfully grasp how amazing you really are. Not only have you adjusted to your condition, you've come close to nullifying its effects while enduring agonizing emotions all the while."
Derpy also gets this from her boss at the Ponyville Post Office, after she tries to preemptively apologise for the screwups she's likely to cause sooner or later. “Mistakes happen. They can be small; they can be large. They can be ignored, or they can be overreacted to. It is bound to happen now and again, and things have a tendency to work out when they do. And when they don’t work out right, I personally make sure to take care of our staff if the need arises. If and when you make mistakes, we’ll make sure that everything works out right. Until then, I ask that you not doubt yourself. You are a wonderful mailpony regardless of what anypony says, and I will do anything I can to help you when problems arise."
In the story 100% Move= 50% Fire within the Triptych Continuum, Twilight tearfully admits her fear of screwing up and ruining her friendships permanently. The other five assure her that even though she'll screw up sometimes and they'll screw up sometimes, it won't matter because their friendship is stronger than that and that they'll love her anyway, no matter what.
There's a lovely moment in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, just after her fiance's embarrassing baptism, where the main character worries that "Any second now, he's gonna say, 'Yeah, you're so not worth this,'" Only for her brother to pipe in, "Yeah you are."
After Kirk Lazarus had a breakdown in Tropic Thunder, new actor, Kevin Sandusky managed to boost his self esteem.
Kevin: You are Kirk Lazarus. You are the whole reason I went into acting in the first place. I memorized every monologue that you had ever been in while I was in theater school.
The main theme and message in Puss in Boots involving the three central characters.
X-Men: First Class has a repeated line where Charles urges Erik to "be the better man" and work for more than just revenge. Erik interprets this somewhat differently than Charles intended.
Charles: There’s so much more to you than you know, not just pain and anger. There’s good in you too, and you can harness all that. You have a power that no one can match, not even me.
In The Smurfs, Papa Smurf delivers this type of speech to Brainy Smurf to help convince him that he's up to the task of deciphering the spell that can get the Smurfs back home.
In Raising Arizona, Nathan Arizona gives a speech of this kind to Ed and Hi when they declare that they're planning to split up because they're immature and unrealistic people who are bad for each other.
In Star Trek: Nemesis, Picard attempts to use speeches of this message to persuade Shinzon.
In The Avengers, Tony Stark tells Bruce Banner that he is not a monster, he can control the Hulk better than he thinks, the Hulk is not necessarily a curse, but a gift as well, and that Bruce can use him for good. He turns out to be right, as the Hulk not only follows Captain America's orders and provides crucial manpower in the final battle, but remembers Tony and consciously saves his life during the climax.
An unusual example in Frozen. When Elsa is about to kill one of the soldiers (who just tried to kill her), Prince Hans uses this to call her out and stop her from stepping over the Moral Event Horizon. This is entirely self-serving. He's just building up his hero credentials while plotting her demise.
Prince Hans: Don't be the monster they fear you are.
Also her sister Anna tries to convince her that she actually can control her powers and end the winter. At the end of the film, this happens to be true and Anna says "I knew you could do it."
The character arc of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. At the end, Dumbledore learns that Harry felt unworthy of the House of Gryffindor, in part because of his ability to communicate with snakes and because he asked to be placed there, rather than letting himself be chosen. Dumbledore tells Harry that character is shown through one's choices and asks him to examine the sword he used to slay the Basilisk. When he sees it is Godric Gryffindor's sword, Harry has all the proof he needs that he truly belongs in that house.
Near the end of the series in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry returns the favor when he meets Dumbledore again in a place between life and death. When Dumbledore bitterly states that his search for the Deathly Hallows in his bid to become a Master of Death meant that he was ultimately Not So Different from Voldemort, Harry quickly refutes the claim. He mentions that at least Dumbledore didn't consider using Horcruxes. Dumbledore is able to draw a small measure of comfort from that.
Harry constantly tells Ron this, due to Ron's massive inferiority complexes about his Quiddich skills, his perceived status as the family's Unfavorite, his concerns that Hermione loves Harry more than him, and that he will always live in the shadow of his far cooler best friend. This really comes out in Deathly Hallows, when Ron destroys a horcrux, as it tries to make him believe all of the aforementioned things.
Harry: You've sort of made up for it tonight. Getting the sword. Finishing off the Horcux. Saving my life. Ron: That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was. Harry: Stuff like that always sounds cooler than it really was. I've been trying to tell you that for years.
Often said by Michael and the other Knights of the Cross to The Dresden Files lead Harry Dresden. Dresden thinks of himself as more of an antihero, but his friends all know that he is a good man. Actually, Dresden is a bit of an Anti-Hero— when it really comes down to it he can be fairly extreme if someone important to him is at stake. (This is evidenced in Changes, where Dresden was more than willing to use the Darkhallow or become one of the Denarians if Mab hadn't been willing to help him save his daughter. Although picking her was morally grey at best, it was still the option with the most acceptable outcome, and he did go through with killing Susan.) However, Harry is still a better man than he thinks, and he isn't about to turn into a mustache twirling villain any second.
Invoked in Terry Pratchett's Snuff. Vimes is constantly watching himself, because he thinks that if he loses control of the darkness inside him, he will become as bad as the villains he chases. His butler Willikins tells the latest villain that Vimes is, in fact, "a choirboy" - unfortunately for the villain, Willikins is not.
In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Sharing Knife, Fawn's family, which has consistently undervalued her, asks Dag "But why ever would you want to marry Fawn in the first place?" Dag's answer, which sums up what we've come to know about the character through the story thus far, is also a Crowning Moment of Awesome:
For the courage of her heart, which I saw face down the greatest horrors I know without breaking. For the high and hungry intelligence of her mind, which never stops asking questions, nor thinking about the answers. For the spark of her spirit, which could teach bonfires how to burn. That's three. Enough for going on with.
The mantra of Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, the iconic reference book for mothers afraid of accidentally killing their infants, is "You know more than you think you do."
Towards the end of Galaxy of Fear, Zak Arranda has been feeling more and more overshadowed by his studious, Force-Sensitive sister Tash, feeling like he's The Load these days. On Dagobah, Yoda gives him a meat flower and has him solve something himself to help teach him that he isn't.
Subtle example in the Myth Adventures books. Skeeve takes a D-Hopper to escape to another dimension from Klah, asking for the setting for Klah and Deva. He says that he's running, and Masha responds: "You asked for both settings. You only need one to run."
Croak: Lex comes to the town of Croak after a two-year run of absolutely no one treating her with respect. Her uncle suggesting to her that she's not as bad as people think nearly brings her to tears, because she'd been doubting that.
An ascended Daniel tells this to an imprisoned Jack in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Abyss" after Jack outright admits to him that deep down he thinks he's just not worthy of ascension.
Just as Jonas is about to leave the SGC for home, Jack tells him this in no uncertain terms.
"You earned it."
In Smallville, other than the page quote, in Fracture, Clark tells Alexander/Lex's good side that he is stronger than he thinks.
Parodied and subverted in the first episode of Community, where Amoral Attorney Jeff Winger uses a speech like this to manipulate his fellow students in the study group.
In a Gilligan's Island episode, Gilligan sees his likeness on a native totem pole and comes to believe that he is descended from headhunters and is doomed to become a headhunter himself. The Professor convinces him otherwise by offering up his own head as Gilligan's first prize; when Gilligan cannot bring himself to do the deed, he realizes he doesn't have the headhunting instinct after all and returns to normal.
In the classic James Newcomer Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "The Measure of a Man," Riker is forced to argue that Data should be considered Starfleet's property, lest the judge rule summarily against the android. Riker gives an excellent argument for his side. Despite losing the case, Riker feels like a traitor for arguing against his friend. However, in the series' great Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, Data explains that he is deeply grateful to him for agreeing to prosecute, since if he had not, Data would have had no chance of victory.
Data: That action injured you and saved me. I will not forget it.
In Doctor Who Donna Noble has always had a bit of low self-esteem. She had a perfectly normal life as a temp in Chiswick until the whole teleported to the TARDIS to fight the Racnoss on her wedding day thing. Later, after she joins the Doctor, she still believes herself to be normal but gets cocky. However she is still unwilling to accept that she is the most important person ever. Rose Tyler crosses dimensions to tell her this and yet she continues to deny it. After she is reborn as The Doctor-Donna she gets a new level of confidence. Sadly, after Donna saves all reality... not an exaggeration... she can not recall her time with the Doctor or she will die.
Even the Doctor gets one of these. After having destroyed his entire species to save the universe, seen countless friends and family die, and come to the conclusion that the universe is better off without him, he tries to distance himself from everyone. River Song tells him that he's being stupid, and there are literally billions of people throughout time and space who think the universe is better because of him.
The audio drama "The Chimes at Midnight" rests its climax on one of these. The villain of the piece is a sentient time loop generated from the suicide of Edith Thompson, a scullery maid who served the Doctor's companion, Charley. Edith had a very poor life of being told she was "nothing and no one" by her employers and considered Charley her only friend, so when Charley died in an airship crash, Edith killed herself - only the Doctor saved Charley from said crash, creating the paradox. Charley manages to vanquish the villain by convincing the time-locked Edith that she is important and will be remembered, preventing the suicide from ever happening.
Friends: In Season 5 Chandler tries to apologize to Monica after a fight but almost gives up admitting how bad he is with relationships. She kisses him, quotes the trope word for word and their fight is forgotten.
Angel gets several of these from Buffy, Wesley and others across the course of his run on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his own show. A notable one comes in "Somnambulist", when Cordelia convinces him he's better than Angelus or Penn, while cheerfully agreeing to "kill [him] dead" if he ever does become Angelus again.
A rather dark version comes from Wesley when he assures Angel that he's a man with a demon inside him, not the other way around, and can come back from the transformation he'll need to make to win the fight Wesley is sending him into (due to the dimension they're in he becomes the demon itself instead of just getting a Game Face). Once Angel is gone Gunn asks him if he's really sure about that, and Wesley replies that he "needs him to think it." It's true though.
In season five of Dexter, Deborah cries and claims that Dexter has always been the strong one of the family. Her coworker protests, telling her he thinks it's the opposite.
Deb also tries to assure Dexter that he's a good person despite his protests to the contrary. Of course, she doesn't know the real reason he is saying this...
Though it's never explicit, this trope's subtext is definitely present in Merlin where it's hinted that Arthur, despite his arrogance, suffers from low self-esteem thanks to the high expectations of his father. It's usually Merlin and Guinevere who provide the moral support needed for him to really embrace his role as a leader and future king.
You faced the monster inside of you and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man. And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.
Later on, towards the series finale, Spike returns the speech, comforting a very demotivated Buffy:
When I say, 'I love you', it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman.
I don't exactly have the reputation of being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my head. So I've made a lot of mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred-plus years, only one thing I've ever been sure of. You.
Farscape episode 1 has John telling Aeryn that she can be more than just a mindless soldier
In the second part of the second season finale of Supernatural, Bobby says this the Dean after he revealed that he made a Deal with the Devil in order to bring Sam back to life that would drag him to hell in a year's time saying that he believed that his life actually had a meaning at that point since his dad John had made the same deal to save his life earlier in the season. Bobby's response to Dean was how he could possibly have such a low opinion of himself.
A literal version in The Walking Dead; Carol comes to thank Darryl for his efforts to find Sophia.
Carol: You're every bit as good as them. Every bit.
Rachel tells Quinn this in Glee, most notably during prom.
Quinn also tells Rachel this in original song, implying that they may not hate each other quite as much as they make out to. (Cough les yay cough cough)
On Once Upon a Time, Emma eventually comes to realize her role in breaking the Dark Curse was all according to Rumplestiltskin's plan. When she talks to Rumplestiltskin about that, he denies credit for what she's done, saying he simply knew what she would be able to do and planned accordingly. And her recent victory over Cora was all her doing.
Jennifer Morrison was on the other end of such exchanges when she played Cameron on House. As part of House's conscience, she did her best to keep him from pulling crazy stunts, but she also tried to lift him up when he ran himself down unnecessarily. To take one memorable example: halfway through season three, Eve, a rape victim, comes into the clinic and insists that House be her physician. Discussing the matter with his team, House avers that he's "useless at this sort of thing." Without missing a beat, Cameron responds "No, you're not." And while House looks confused, and even a bit scared, to hear that, he looks more than a little angry when Chase disagrees. Incidentally, Cameron's right: the episode ends with Eve opening up to House about the rape, which she had earlier refused to talk about even to a trained psychiatrist.
Oh, no, love, you're not alone! You're watching yourself, but you're too unfair! You've got your head all tangled up, but if I could only make you care! Oh, no, love, you're not alone! No matter what or who you've been, No matter when or where you've failed...
You wish you were someone else Every night you fall to pieces Knowing you can't save yourself I can see you, I can hear you There's a place where the broken go There's a room full of second chances You're not stranded on your own You're not invisible
And to the rest of the world: God gave you shoes to fit you, so put 'em on and wear 'em Be yourself, man, be proud of who you are Even if it sounds corny Don't ever let anyone tell you you ain't beautiful
William Finn's song "You're Even Better Than You Think You Are" from Make Me A Song, is an autobiographical story about people saying this to him when he was first starting out writing bad musicals, so he persevered into writing good musicals.
In the final stretch of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the 2013 stage musical), Charlie worries that he can't take over the titular factory from Willy Wonka because he has no experience in being a chocolatier. Wonka explains in the song "A Little Me" that Charlie may be inexperienced in that now, but that means he's capable of learning and becoming a unique talent in the process; moreover, he's "not just any careless child", but a bright, imaginative, kind, unspoiled, and disciplined one, "So aren't you glad upon review/That Charlie Bucket I chose you!"
In the fourth case of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Edgeworth does this to an amnesiac Kay who thinks she killed someone and just doesn't remember.
In Escape Velocity: Nova, the entire Mu'hari caste among the Polaris are this. They train for decades to gain aptitude in all forms of combat, commerce, sciences, engineering, diplomacy, espionage and more; their chief jobs (beside all-round assistants) are as elite covert operatives and judges. However, they are culturally conditioned to feel great shame about their failure to specialize (with the Mu'hari acting as a sort of "caste-less" caste). This may be an intentional way to prevent them from rising above their peers.
Pokémon Black and White: After N has his Heel Realization, he takes it pretty badly. However, he is soon reminded that Reshiram/Zekrom still recognized him as a hero by allowing itself to be caught by him.
Kaori: That's why... That's why, I'm like this cherry tree. Unable to bloom... Just a bothersome being... Protagonist: That's not true ! After all, that tree is blooming. It's just blooming a little later than the others. Kaori: But... Even if it's blooming... Protagonist: It's fine if it's blooming late. Even if it were to hurry and bloom, if it doesn't produce a nice color and smell, it would mean nothing. Kaori: ...(Ah!) Protagonist: Yae-san, it's fine if you bloom at your pace.
In Blaze Union, Garlot is often given this kind of encouragement by Siskier and Nessiah. As he's an abused kid with low self-confidence, he needs it desperately.
A fair bit of the Paragon choices in ''Mass Effect revolve around this concept:
Jack in the second game, to whom Shepard repeatedly tries to convince there is more than just anger and violence.
Wrex is the best example: in the first game some of the conversations, and a critical decision on Virmire, revolve around his despair about the future of his people and attempting rekindle his (once held) belief their society could be reborn through the krogan's own efforts. Assuming he lives at Virmire, you meet him again in the second game and discover that your efforts succeeded; he's become the most powerful leader on the planet and will drag his people out of the darkness kicking and screaming.
In the third game, Paragon Shepard's invokes this about the geth's decision to ally with the Reapers and go to war with the Quarians.
Shepard: How did we get here? The geth are better than this.
Legion: No. Based on empirical evidence, they are not.
Shepard: *Sighs* Yeah.
Again in the third game, many of Shepard's conversations with EDI revolve around supporting her goal to find her own version of humanity by convincing her she's more than just circuits and software.
Ironically, in the third game conversations with others, especially near the endgame, are people trying to help Shepard believe that s/he deserves the faith being placed in him/her to keep him/her from going completely past the Despair Event Horizon.
Shepard: There's only so much death and destruction you can take before...
Garrus: Before your friend picks you up, dusts you off, and reminds you that you're the best damn soldier he's ever served with.
The player characters in Dragon Age also get moments like these with their party members, especially in Dragon Age II. They also have different ways to do it, depending on Hawke's dominant personality and whether you're a Friend or a Rival.
From Origins, we have this gem, should you choose not to Harden Leliana:
Leliana: "What we're doing... what we've done— hunted men down, killed them— part of me loves it. It invigorates me and this scares me. I... I feel myself slipping."
The Warden: "Evil doesn't worry about not being good."
Most of what the Agents do in Elite Beat Agents involves helping people with self-confidence issues... Through the power of dance.
In one random dialogue, Lyndon the Scoundrel from Diablo III questions whether killing the Lords of Hell would be enough to make him a good person. The hero of the game says no. He already is.
Lyndon: If I keep killing demons, I might actually become a good person, right?
PC: I don't think so.
PC: You already are a good person.
In Portal 2, Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson spends several scenes telling his secretary, Caroline, that she shouldn't be so modest, and means it when he says that, without Caroline, Aperture would have sunk long ago. This later becomes tragic as, when it becomes clear to Cave that his illness is going to kill him before the completion of the GLADOS project, which would allow him to store his body in a computer and continue to run Aperture after his death. Believing Caroline to be the only other person who could run the company, he orders the scientists to put her in the GLADOS mainframe instead, after his death. Cave, unfortunately, had lived with Caroline's modesty for so long that he believed that anything Caroline may have said about not wanting to be sealed inside a computer forever was just more modesty.
Batman: (to Fries) Fix [Nora] and quit this life. You're better than this.
Everybody does this for Luke in Tales of the Abyss, mostly because after finding out he's Asch's clone, he spends the rest of the game with a massive inferiority complex. Some instances are absolutely heartwarming, including when Jade admits he's learned a lot about humanity by watching Luke grow, or any of the dozens of time Guy declares his Undying Loyalty to Luke, damn the fact that Luke's a replica. And some examples are more heartbreaking, including when Asch, of all people, yells at him for putting himself down all the time.
Ryan gives a memorable version of this lecture to Princess Carranya, who feels oppressed by her responsibilities as royalty, in Act II of Love And War, ending with:
Ryan: "And for what it's worth, I think you make a great Princess. I'd be proud to be your subject when you become Queen."
In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn shamefully flees the successful conclusion of his first case thinking that he blundered through it and succeeded only through dumb luck. However, just before he takes off, the local sheriff asks what he is doing and the young Racoonan confesses. At that, the Sheriff firmly tells Quentyn that he is not stupid nor a failure, but a hero who showed admirable guile, skill and courage to save the day. As Quentyn's mood lifts, the Sheriff gives him his hat noting wryly that the young Questor's career has had an excellent start. Repeated after a heroic charge and in this case the one doing the reassuring is an angel or close to it.
Shortpacked!: Amber thinks she's useless, 'til Robin and Ethan both play a role in turning her around.
Black thinks of himself as weak and not able to help other people, White who admires Blacks emotional strength disagrees and says something to this effect
Grace is a genius, but when things go wrong, she always blames herself, and she thinks she's stupid. She also moped about "whether she deserves this power" and refused to shapeshift after the fight. Until one of her siblings told her in no uncertain terms both to grow back a fluffy tail and where to stick such concerns.
A very young alternate universe Tedd felt that he was "no good," and not just at kickball. When Ellen woke up from dreaming about that universe, almost the first thing she did was ring the doorbell, hug this universe's Tedd and tell him he's "plenty good," and abruptly leaving without any explanation.
Florence has been trying to help the robots of planet Jean achieve independence and avoid being mass-mindwiped by a brutal safeguard program. She begins to have second thoughts upon meeting Dr. Bowman, who created the robots' neural architecture, and learning that he is a high-functioning sociopath with impulse control problems (by virtue of being an uplifted chimpanzee). She knows, of course, that Bowman also created her neural architecture, and he points out that if HER first thought was for the safety of humans◊, the robots would probably react similarly to the idea that their safeguards can be broken.
Homestuck: Dave is on the receiving end of this after he finds his Bro's corpse, concluding that he's done nothing heroic and that his closest friend is better than he is, while Terezi tries to convince him that he is actually a heroic badass and not just an alligator swindler. Of course, the trial for characters of the Knight class - like Dave - usually involves self-esteem in some way. Terezi, despite being a Seer instead of a Knight, gets a turn in the trope crosshairs when she's having a self-esteem crisis about her alternate universe counterpart being so popular and radical, and Karkatof all people tells her that she doesn't need to put on a ridiculously over-the-top act to be likeable and that when she withdraws she's just hiding someone who's already beautiful.
CHIEF: u has 2 b a ghosts / u cant b a figment newton of my imaginations / look — as much as i hated 2 admit it — ur sort of smarter than i am / k? / so how can u knew shit that i doesnt, and thot about stuff on ur own, and get all pissy @ me if ur in my brains? / i doesnt get it / u could only knew whatever things i knew or sumthing, rite?
CORTANA: Maybe, somewhere deep within your mind, you're a lot smarter and have a much clearer understanding of right from wrong than you think.
Foamy, the normally Jerkass squirrel in Neurotically Yours, gives Germaine a second chance at life with a reset button, basically telling her that he thinks she can do a lot better than how she is right now and can change her life.
Done in a subtle way in Kickassia when Ma-Ti is trying to get The Nostalgia Critic to stop being a douchebag. He tells him that he's strong and loyal, but Critic's still on his "a president has no friends" kick.
In Worm, Tattletale and Skitter try to convince Panacea of this, unsuccessfully.
In the Justice League episode, "In Blackest Night," Green Lantern John Stewart is convinced that he inadvertently destroyed an inhabited world and submits to a trial and execution. However, his fellow Leaguers don't buy it and conduct their own investigation and eventually prove to John and his judges that he was framed.
Also from Avatar, we have two examples from "The Firebending Masters," known by some as one of the series' Crowning Episodes of Heartwarming.
Aang (holding some fire): But what if I can't control it? Zuko: You can do it. I know you can. You're a talented kid.
Aang: You know, Zuko, I don't care what everyone else says. You're pretty smart.
In "Sozin's Comet: The Old Masters", when Zuko hesitates to enter his Uncle Iroh's tent because he doesn't think he'll be able to forgive him after his betrayal and what he put him through, Katara confidently assures him that Iroh will forgive him because he's sorry for everything he did. She is more confident in his redemption than he is his own, because she knows his remorse is genuine, especially considering that only two episodes ago was "The Southern Raiders", when Zuko selflessly aided Katara in tracking down her mother's killer.
In How to Train Your Dragon Astrid says this in a roundabout way to Hiccup when she explains why she asked her Armor-Piercing Question, " Because I want to remember what you say, RIGHT NOW." Translated: "Because you are a powerful Viking warrior of legend in your own way, and what you say now is likely going to be the stuff of a great saga."
Hiccup: 300 years and I'm the first Viking who wouldn't kill a dragon! Astrid: ...First to RIDE one, though.
In The Lion King, Simba is reminded by the ghost of his late father that "you are more than what you have become."
Kung Fu Panda, when Shifu realizes the way to train Po, he all but says "You have had the potential all along and you will become better than you think you are."
In Gargoyles, as the Magus dies, Goliath thanks him. The Magus can't believe that, since he was the one who cursed the clan in the first place, but Goliath insists that saving the clan's children more than makes up for it.
The ThunderCats (2011) episode "Omens Part One" has a nice little moment between Lion-O and Jaga.
Lion-O: It's official, they think I'm a failure. And they always will unless I can prove I'm not chasing a childish dream... But how can I do that when even Grune said there wasn't tech out there?! Jaga: Don't let what Grune failed to see stand in the way of what you believe.
Comes back in the season finale after Mumm-Ra gets the Tech stone and his Love Interest Pumyra is revealed to be little more than his puppet Lion-O is reduced to a huddled wreck utterly convinced of his own failure until Kit reminds him that his actions saved countless lives and united the various races of Third Earth for perhaps the first time in history.
While not outright stated, the sense of this trope is there in Tangled, when Flynn Rider tells Rapunzel why he changed his name from Eugene Fitzherbert: He was a lonely kid in an orphanage, and wanted to be a cool Loveable Rogue thief, like his favorite character. Rapunzel tells him she likes his real name better, and she is implied to be the first person who liked him for himself.
He repays her by cutting her hair, ruining its rejuvenating magic and freeing her of it.
In the Young Justice episode "Satisfaction", Ollie is crushed with guilt after a harrowing Rage Against the Mentor tirade from the original Roy Harper. He thinks that he utterly failed at being a mentor for all three of his sidekicks: original Roy who was kidnapped, cloned, maimed, and kept on ice for years, clone Roy who fell into depression over Cloning Blues, and Artemis who was "killed". Red Arrow reassures Ollie that he wasn't a terrible mentor. Especially poignant since Red Arrow spent most of the series resenting Ollie for one reason or another.
"Terry, I've been thinking about something you once told me, and you were wrong. It's not Batman that makes you worthwhile, it's the other way around. Never tell yourself anything different."
The South Park parody of Great Expectations involved Pip invoking this trope on his love interest. She snaps dozens of adorable little rabbits' necks before she gets bored of it, which he convinces her is proof enough that she's not the evil monster she considers herself. She was willing to try killing another one, but he insists his point is proven anyways.
Octus gives this to Kimmy in Sym-Bionic Titan after she has tried the entire time to seduce him to get him to do her work for her. She eventually breaks down and claims that since she is a cheerleader and popular she cannot be "smart". Octus flat out tells her that if she put the same kind of energy in her studies that she does in her cheer-leading she can do anything. With that she finally gets the confidences and passes it on her own skills. And because of this Kimmy starts to date Octus.
In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Flight to The Finish", has Scootaloo, a young pegasus who can't fly (a situation that, in fanon, is considered equivalent to a kid being handicapped), getting mocked and bullied for this, and ends locking herself in her room, extremely depressed. Her surrogate Cool Big Sister, Rainbow Dash, gives her a speech after she loses all faith in herself, getting her out of her Heroic BSOD.
Rainbow Dash: Listen, Scootaloo. Maybe you'll fly someday, or maybe you won't. You're all kinds of awesome anyway. Who's the toughest little pony in town?
You. Yeah, you feel like shit right now. Why else are you browsing sappy tropes at 3am? But it doesn't matter. So you're not the best. You're not great. Hell, maybe you're damn terrible. But you are not worthless. You can do better. You could even be the best. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do it again. You'll get there.
It should be noted that this type of speech can sometimes have effects that are a polar opposite of the intended effects. Saying, "Yes you can!" to someone who is disabled (in the medical sense) might seem like you're inspiring them to "overcome their disability" but to a disabled person, it comes across as denying that what they experience is even valid at all, telling them that their own first-hand experience in real life is somehow not true, and when heard that way, it isn't merely not inspirational, it can come across as downright condescending instead.
As noted in the laconic version of this trope, the statement "you are better than you think you are" is backed up with an explanation or motivation why the person making this speech believes this (something which isn't reflected in the superman picture atop this page and some entries). To borrow the example with the disabled person, this motivation would come in pointing out that while he or she might never walk again (in case of wheelchair bound people), they have gotten amazing victories in chess, are very talented in singing, drawing, writing inspirational speeches, or what-have-you. They can't walk, but they're not worthless. Without this sort of motivation, "yes you can" or "you are better than you think you are" falls flat and can come over insulting or condecending. Or give the impulse to look at the first entry of this page's Real Life examples and ask "why?".