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You Are Better Than You Think You Are

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You should trust him. After all, he's Superman.

"You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Christopher Robin, Pooh's Grand Adventure
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Sometimes a character (usually the protagonist) feels like he is worthless, and does not belong somewhere they value and is fit only to be a villain, no matter how much the idea frightens him.

Eventually, their friends or mentors learn what is troubling him and comfort him saying something along the lines of, "Don't be so hard on yourself. You are better than you think you are, and we are going to prove it."

When that challenger proves it with irrefutable evidence, the hero ends up feeling much better with the knowledge that someone he deeply respects believes in him more than he did himself.

The Power of Friendship and Power of Trust may come into play. Sometimes, though, you'll need a Magic Feather or maybe a Motivational Lie to pull it off.

Similarly, a Naïve Newcomer and Cowardly Lion may have a sager character explain that fear is not proof that they are cowards; only the Fearless Fool really feels no fear. This trope may be used as a form of Interrupted Suicide.

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For the opposite, see Heel Realization or Then Let Me Be Evil, though these alternatives may be reversed by helping the victim over their guilt to facilitate a Heel–Face Turn. When a character has to be constantly reminded of this, they usually suffer from Heroic Self-Deprecation. Compare You Are Not Alone.

See Don't Say Such Stupid Things for a rougher version, and for the inverse, see "The Reason You Suck" Speech. This is also a sort-of inversion of the Declaration of Personal Independence, in which the character assures others that they are strong.


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Examples:

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  • 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 & 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, where 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 to "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 those 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. Going by 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.
      • Hell, Kamina's entire relationship with Simon is a crowning achievement of this trope. Throughout the show he is constantly singing Simon's praises and telling him that he's better than how he portrays himself.
  • Shizuo's main character arc throughout Durarara!! (particularly in the Light Novels) is learning that although he may be a very messed-up individual, he isn't quite the inhuman monster he's resigned himself to be. Once that actually gets through his head, Shizuo starts gradually learning how to restrain himself and channel his violent impulses in more heroic (if still destructive) ways.
  • One Piece. When Usopp is going through an emotional crisis because he sees himself as the weakest Straw Hat, Sanji, who is known not to hand out compliments to the male crew mates, is quick to point out that everyone has something that only they can do and things they cannot do. When Usopp shoots Spadam, giving Robin a chance to escape, Sanji shouts 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.
  • 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 classmates bullied 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.
  • Bleach:
    • When Ichigo and his friends are defeated by Yammy because Ichigo's too afraid of his inner Hollow taking control of him to fight properly, he is inconsolable. Rukia forces him to fight a mook Hollow and lectures him to overcome his fear by getting stronger. When she declares her belief in his ability to become strong enough to protect his friends, and also himself from his inner demons, he regains his resolve. Soon after (partially forced by Rukia), he apologizes to Orihime and vows to get stronger.
    • Rukia being able to fix Ichigo's resolve breaks Orihime's confidence. As the person who ended up most badly damaged, she is unable to ease Ichigo's guilt and feels completely useless when Rukia succeeds. Feeling mortified by her own jealousy, especially because she likes Rukia, she finally caves to pressure from Rangiku and confesses how she's feeling. Rangiku resolves the situation by explaining that she's wrong because Ichigo needs both her and Rukia equally, but in different ways; Rukia herself comforts Orihime as well, telling her how valorous she is and thanking her for the role she had in her rescue.
  • 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 the harp Celestial Spirit to pass the time. Said spirit 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 his/her flaws, as well as the parts about him/herself (s)he does not want to admit to him/herself or show to others), another character gives him/her either one of these or a You Are Not Alone.
  • The message behind the lyrics of K-On!'s first ED.
  • 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.
  • In Kimi ni Todoke, Kurumi began the series as a manipulative Alpha Bitch In Sheep's Clothing who bullied her rival-in-love Sawako in order to drive her apart from Kazehaya. After Character Development ensues, Kurumi is perpetually plagued with guilt over her past actions, prone to Self-Deprecation and fearing that Sawako and those close to her might not fully forgive her, a case of projecting since she can't forgive herself. And so on several occasions, Sawako and her friends make it clear to Kurumi that not only do they forgive her completely, but that Kurumi is a good person who shouldn't be so down on herself.
  • Naruto said this to Hinata in Chapter 559 when she felt bad about him having to rescue her in the Fourth Shinobi War, despite having vowed to herself that she'd protect him. He reassures her that she already did protect him, by proudly referencing how she defended him against Pain, and even acknowledges that she's strong.
    • It doubles as a Meaningful Echo: in Chapter 98, Naruto admitted to Hinata that he wasn't sure he could defeat Neji in the finals. Hinata reassured him that he is strong because no matter how many times he falls, he always gets back up; in her eyes, he's a "proud failure."
      • Naruto immediately returned the favor by telling her that, at first, he thought she was "a plain-looking, dark weirdo," but he has since realized that she was a person he really liked. You can bet they both needed that.
    • For that matter, it was with a speech to this affect that Naruto managed to break through Neji's cynical fatalism and convert him to the good guys' side; by pointing out to Neji that if a failure of a ninja could overcome his destiny as a failure by defeating a recognized genius like Neji, then Neji should be able to overcome his own destiny as well since, unlike Naruto, he wasn't a failure.
  • At the resolution of A Cruel God Reigns climax deprogramming scene, Ian reaffirms this to Jeremy.
    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. She tells him this world has no room for heroes, and it can become permanent if he simply dies. He falls into despair, because Othinus has made him irrelevant, and reasons 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, then 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.
  • In 3-gatsu no Lion, Rei, near the end of his first year in high school, begins feel as if he's accomplished nothing in the year he's moved out of Kouda's house. Mr. Hayashida quickly counters with exactly why that's not the case, pointing out that Rei's learned to take care of himself, pay his own bills, and other things, achieving a level of independency uncommon among people his age.
  • A lot between Noi, Yuuhi, and Sami in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer, and even from Hangetsu to Yuuhi. Yuuhi has no confidence in himself whatsoever at the start, but the trust and belief others put in him lets him grow immeasurably. Meanwhile, Yuuhi starts to use it to pay back the others' belief and help them get over their own insecurities.
    Yuuhi: Princess... do you love this world?
    Sami: ...yeah.
    Yuuhi: Then the world definitely loves you back. You are not damaged goods.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, Mami says if she had never met her friend Bebe, she would have given up long ago. Homura, who knows Bebe had not existed until recently and everybody's memories had been tampered with, says Mami is a lot braver and stronger than she thinks.
  • In Act 6 of Sailor Moon Crystal, while the rest of the Sailor Guardians are fighting an enemy, Usagi nearly passes out on the street from having her energy drained and is woken up by Tuxedo Mask. She muses about having no real powers like other Guardians despite supposedly being the leader (apparently without realizing that this is a clue to her identity as Sailor Moon), and when Tuxedo Mask tells her to transform, she complains about this again. Tuxedo Mask hugs her and reminds her that she was the one who made the rest of the team realize their purpose as Sailor Guardians, and thus she is the ideal leader.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Marco says this to Jean, who is feeling guilty about his orders getting people killed during the battle in Trost. Marco tells Jean that his understanding of weakness makes him a good leader, as it helps him to clearly judge a situation. Marco credits Jean with saving his life.
    • Marco also defends Jean's leadership skills to Eren at the end of OVA 3.75.
    • Eren, Mikasa and Armin feel this way about Hannes, particularly after the Fall of Shinganshina, where he elects to run away with the former two rather than go back to rescue Carla Yeager. He blames himself so much that he looks to have sworn off of alcohol and devoted himself to getting better. That said, the kids hold him in high regard and place the blame for the whole situation solely on the Titans.
  • In Koimonogatari Kaiki is hired by Senjougahara to deceive the recently-made Snake God Nadeko in order to save her and Araragi's lives. When she finds out he's been tricking her and attacks him, he tells her in a rather roundabout way that she's got more to live for than just jealousy of Senjougahara.
  • In Wandering Son Makoto laments that she isn't pretty or cute like Nitori, which causes Nitori to retaliate and tell her she is. This only deepens Mako's crush on her friend.
  • Latvia of Axis Powers Hetalia lacks social tact, is somewhat spacey and is prone to tears, but he's amazing at things when he actually puts forth the effort. Of course, as he lacks confidence and doesn't work hard unless he's ordered (and threatened), he never seems to realize it. One instance of him building an entire working railroad without any experience doing so seems to trigger this realization within him:
    Latvia: [completes the railroad] Whoa, it worked?!
    Latvia: [trembling in excitement] A-Amazing...! To think that I made it by imitation and succeeded in one shot! All these talents and powers have always been hidden inside me!
    Latvia: [calms down immediately] Not a chance, right? I'm really no good, getting that puffed up over this.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: This is pretty much the central point of the entire plot. The titular Yuri, having anxiety, hardly thinks much of himself, despite the fact he is technically the sixth best skater in the world by the start of the plot and Japan's pride. He gets a lot of confidence when his main inspiration, the Living Legend Victor Nikiforov becomes his coach and shows him what an amazing skater he is.
  • In Bloom Into You, Touko Nanami, despite being at the top of her class, a star athlete and the well-respected Student Council President, struggles with self-esteem problems and self-loathing, since she started out as a fairly unremarkable girl before changing herself to emulate her older sister Mio, who'd died seven years ago. When Touko realizes that Mio was also putting up a facade, she's shaken to the core, but her friend/kouhai/possible Love Interest, Yuu, reminds Toukao that none of Touko's friends and colleagues know Mio, and that everything they feel for Touko is only directed at Touko herself.
    Touko: What everyone thinks is me is really just me acting like my sister.
    Yuu: But you are the one who's worked so hard to be like her, senpai!

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: "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.

    Comic Books 
  • Pictured above: All-Star Superman has Superman express this sentiment to a suicidal teenager.
  • Supergirl: Kara has sometimes got the speech, usually from her cousin:
    • During Superman: Brainiac arc:
      Superman: I'll handle him. You need to do something else. Brainiac's fired some kind of weapon at the Sun. Kara. Whatever is heading towards the Sun, you need to stop it. If it gets there, it's going to trigger a supernova. And that fire will engulf the Earth.
      Supergirl: I-I'm not fast enough.
      Superman: Yes, you are.
      Supergirl: I can't do it.
      Superman: Yes, you can.
      Supergirl: I'm scared.
      Superman: It's okay to be scared.
    • At the beginning of the The Final Days of Superman storyline, Superman asks her to take over when he's gone.
      Superman: You can do this. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Sure, our family shield can be a target. But it's also a badge of honor that I know you wear proudly each and every day.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, when Guy Gardner is trying to talk Kara into leave the Red Lantern Corps, she argues that she can't stop being a Red Lantern, and she doesn't belong anywhere else. Guy replies she can find her way because she's stronger than them and stronger than she thinks.
      Supergirl: But even if I do go... the Ring... I can't take it off. I'm a Red forever. Without you and the others, how will I — What am I supposed to do?
      Guy: You'll find your way. You're strong, Kara. You didn't choose this life, but I've seen enough in our time together to know that you can make something of it. You're better than all of us.
    • The Supergirl from Krypton: Darkseid kidnaps and brainwashes Kara to become his servant. After being rescued Kara fears that her brain-washed, evil self is her real self. His cousin insists he knows that she's a good person.
      Supergirl: Honestly...? I'm... torn. I remember what Darkseid turned me into —
      Superman: ... We've been over this, Kara. Darkseid lives for manipulation. He has magics at his disposal. Hypnotists. Scientists whose only function is to break your spirit. Ask Barda if you want to hear the horror stories she and Scott suffered through. Darkseid IS evil.
      Supergirl: But... Did he influence me... or bring out a darkness that is already there?
      Superman: I already know that answer.
    • In DCU Infinite Holiday Special issue #1, Supergirl must reunite a little girl with her father. Though the man is a jerkass drunk who doesn't want to see his daughter because doesn't want her to realize her father is a screw-up. Supergirl convinces him maybe he can fix things, but only if he tries.
      Supergirl: You know the cliché, Fred. Everyone does. "When you're about to die, your life flashes in front of your eyes." But I've been there, and it's crap... isn't it? You see something, though. You see the holes... the missing bits. And all of the things that would have made your life complete, if you had one more year... a day... a second. I don't know what you saw, Fred, but considering you were in free fall for a solid minute, I bet it was an eyeful. Maybe you are a screw-up. A loser. A drunk. But maybe, the piece you're missing... can make you something better. But only if you go to her, and try. Merry Christmas, Fred. Hope it's a good one.
    • In Injustice 2 issue #26, Damian thinks he's become nothing but a soldier following orders of his madman of a grandfather. Kara disagrees.
    Damian: Kara. I'm... not a good person.
    Kara: Nonsense.
    Damian: You don't know me. You don't know—
    Kara: Your grandfather wants to kill millions. Your father is the Batman— evil incarnate as I understand it. Your mother?
    Damian: She's an assassin.
    Kara: Of course she is. Damian. Your family sounds like pure evil. But I've known you for less than a day, and in that time I've already seen you willing to sacrifice your life for a stranger. You don't have to go back to them.
  • In Brightest Day, Dove tells Boston Brand (the now alive Deadman) this after he deflects her questions about his past life with claims that he wasn't anyone special.
  • I Kill Giants has the central message that "We're stronger than we think".
  • 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.
    • A later issue has Optimus himself suffering doubt about whether he deserved the Matrix, due to a particularly nasty "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Megatron. After two issues of agnonising, he talks with Ratchet about this. Ratchet just smiles and says that if Optimus had wanted to know so badly, he could've asked him.
    • In an issue of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Cyclonus tells Swerve, in no uncertain terms, that he's kind of a dick.note  However, he then notes that when it was discovered that he was locked in a self-imposed Lotus-Eater Machine, everyone came looking for him, so he must be doing something right, even if that something is as simple as "he knows where the keys to the bar are kept".
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Here's an interesting take on it: After Doctor Octopus severely injured the Black Cat, Spider-Man gives the villain the beating of his life. Doc Ock loses his confidence as a result, becoming a cowardly shell of his former self, unable to fight, with a bad case of arachnophobia. Eventually, Octopus tries 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 convinces him to shut the reactor down so that there'd be witnesses to know of his "great triumph". And it works. Ock gains his confidence back, thinking he is letting the hero live with the humiliation by sparing him. (To Spider-Man, pride isn't an issue when the whole city is 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. Some time 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, telling him 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.
  • This from the Mega Man comics, in a shoutout to The Megas:
    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.
  • The Powerpuff Girls #20, "Bow Jest" (DC run) has Blossom's psyche and confidence shattered when she loses her hair bow. Mojo steals it, thinking it possesses some type of power if losing it can turn Blossom into a sobbing mess. Suddenly, Bubbles (of all people) clocks Mojo, slams the bow back on Blossom's head and dresses her down:
    Bubbles: It's just a stupid bow! You're still a Powerpuff Girl whether you have it or not!
  • Justice Society of America did a scene similar to the one from All-Star Superman. When the Superman from Kingdom Come ends up in the main DCU, he tries to leave the Justice Society's headquarters. The Society believes Superman is trying to escape, even throwing off Starman's gravity powers, when in reality he can hear a suicidal teenager about to kill herself. He's not able to stop the girl from jumping off the building, but he does catch her in his arms and tells her it does no good to give up.
  • Marvel has an unusual example in the Red Skull's origin story. Depending on your point of view, the trope is either played totally straight or very darkly subverted. As a young man, before he joined the Nazis, the Skull was a miserable loner who had failed at everything he tried and felt completely worthless, to the point of considering suicide. But then he met Hitler, who saw in him a "man of worth" and persuaded him that the new Germany he was building needed men like him. It was the great turning point of his life.
  • Journey into Mystery has the following exchange between Thor and the mostly-innocent, mostly-amnesiac child incarnation of Loki that came into existence after the old Loki's death during Siege:
    Thor: You are not as wicked as they think.
    Loki: I'd have to try terribly hard to be that terrible.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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."
  • A Bug's Life: Flik's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Hopper doubles as this trope to his colony, and how the ants are not as weak and low-class as Hopper proclaims. In fact, it's because the ants are so much stronger that the grasshoppers depend on them for food in the first place.
    • Earlier in the film, Flik suffers a Heroic BSoD on the circus wagon when he's banished from the colony for having lied about the circus bugs being warrior bugs, lamenting that the fake bird that he and the colony worked together to build was doomed to fail, as was he. Manny's the first to speak up.
      Manny: "You listen to me, my boy. I've made a living out of being a failure, and you, sir, are NOT a failure!"
    • Manny's initial speech doesn't work, and Flik remains deep in his funk. Then, Dot arrives and informs Flik that Hopper plans on squishing the Queen. When she realizes Flik has lost his motivation, she brings him a pebble and tells him to, "Pretend it's a seed, okay?". It works.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin: "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
  • 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."
    • And:
      Hiccup: 300 years and I'm the first Viking who wouldn't kill a dragon!
      Astrid: ...First to RIDE one, though.
  • The main theme and message in Puss in Boots involving the three central characters.
  • In Monsters University, Mike realizes that he cannot overcome his shortcomings, that is, his lack of natural Scarer talent, despite his lifelong love and desire for Scaring. Sulley has this to say.
    Sulley: Mike, you're not scary, not even a little bit, but you are fearless.
  • 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.
      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."
    • "Frozen Heart" at the beginning of the film says as much as well: "This icy force both foul and fair / Has a frozen heart worth mining."
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: Despite successfully earning everybody's trust back in the previous film, Sunset Shimmer needs to be reassured several times by her friends of her worth. Rarity even says "what we needed to defeat [the Sirens] was you" when Sunset undergoes some Heroic Self-Deprecation. It works, since Sunset channels The Power of Friendship through Human Twilight's amulet to enter a Golden Super Mode as Daydream Shimmer to combat Superpowered Evil Side Midnight Sparkle.
  • At the end of The Peanuts Movie, Charlie Brown thinks that The Little Red Haired Girl chose him as their summer pen pal out of pity because he's "an insecure, wishy-washy failure". Linus tells him that he should consider the possibility that he's a good person and people like him. When he finally talks to her about it, she tells him it wasn't out of pity and that's not what he is at all. She wanted to be his pen pal because he's a good, honest, kind, brave person, citing all the things she's seen him do over the school year such as doing their book report by himself while she was away taking care of her grandmother, helping Sally salvage her act at the talent show, and confessing to everyone about the his state exam getting mixed up with Peppermint Patty's.
  • Zootopia: When Nick tells Judy he became a shifty and untrustworthy fox because that's what society expects him to be and there's no point in trying to be anything else, Judy tells him she can see he's much more than that.
  • The song "Through Heaven's Eyes" from The Prince of Egypt is one long version of this, sung by Jethro to Moses to knock him out of his depression.
  • In Moana, Moana delivers one of these to Maui after he explains the story of how his parents abandoned him as a baby, and he feels like he'd be worthless without his powers. She encourages him by saying that the gods must've seen something about Maui himself that was worthwhile, and this marks a turning point in their relationship.
    • She does it again in the climax, with Te Ka\Te Fiti:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • It's a Wonderful Life had this as its central premise, to the point that the plot is often referenced by other works in its entirety.
  • The Muppet Movie: Kermit attempts to convince this of Doc Hopper. It fails.
  • The 2004 Hellboy movie had an exchange between the newcomer to the team, John Myers, and The Empath Abe Sapien:
    Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm: In medieval stories, there is often a young knight who is inexperienced, but pure of heart.
    John Myers: Oh, come on. I am not pure of heart.
    Abe Sapien (helpfully): Yes, you are.
  • 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.
    Kirk: Really?
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: It 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 Xavier intended.
      Charles: There is so much more to you than you know. Not just pain and anger. There is good, too. I felt it. When you can access all of that, you will possess a power no one can match. Not even me.
    • Deadpool: Colossus keeps handing out speeches to this effect almost every time he speaks to Deadpool throughout the movie, but Deadpool is having none of it.
    • While not in those exact words, the spirit of the trope comes up twice in Logan:
      • The first time Charles chides Logan when he swears in front of Laura. When Logan points out that she had just slaughtered several heavily-armed soldiers so should be able to handle a few curse words, Charles retorts that she can learn to be better than that.
      Logan: Better than me?
      Charles: Actually, yes!
      • The second time is Logan's dying message to Laura. He tells her "Don't be what they made you," implying she can be a better person than the cold killer Transigen wanted her to be.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • 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.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
      • Thor puts this into his Kirk Summation aimed at Loki, telling him that his constant betrayals have made him predictable and that he could be so much more than just the God of Mischief. This leads Loki to a Heel–Face Turn when he encounters Korg and his revolutionaries who are about to escape on a ship. He joins the group as their leader and turns the ship towards Asgard to save its survivors.
      • Later, when Thor is losing badly against Hela, he has a Dead Person Conversation with his father Odin. When Thor tearfully says, "I'm not as strong as you!" Odin retorts, "No, you're stronger." This helps Thor get a Heroic Second Wind.
  • The effects are subverted in Dinner for Schmucks. When Tim finally explains to Barry that the dinner's trophy is actually to be awarded to the most pathetic person there, Barry mistakes his You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech as telling him he's failed at being the biggest loser and thus winning the contest.
  • In The Amazing Spider Man 2, when Spider-Man rescues bullied geek Max Dillon at the beginning, Max is amazed and asks why the hero would bother saving a nobody like him. Spider-Man replies that he's not a nobody, he's a somebody. Unfortunately, Max is a stalker, and this furthers his obsession with Spider-Man, having deluded himself into thinking he's Spider-Man's best friend.
  • In The Two Towers, the "Samwise the Brave" scene includes Frodo reassuring Sam that he is an important part of the story.
    Sam: I wonder if anyone will ever say, "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" "Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad?" "Yes, m'boy, the most famousest of hobbits, and that's saying a lot."
    Frodo (laughs): Why, you've left out one of the chief characters — Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam.
    Sam: Now, Mr. Frodo. You shouldn't make fun. I was being serious.
    Frodo: So was I.
  • In Pixels, Violet tells Sam that with his brain, he shouldn't be installing hardware - he should be making it.
  • Greedy: After discovering that Uncle Joe was flat broke, Danny regrets having stooped to his cousins' level for an old man's money. Robin, who left Danny for this reason, consoles him by reminding him of how he felt genuine concern for Joe, when he claimed to be losing his mind. Danny retorts that Joe was putting on an act that anyone would have fallen for. She then asks him:
    Robin: Even your cousins?
  • At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke turns to the Emperor and states "I am a Jedi, like my father before me." You'd better believe Vader heard that.
    • The Force Awakens: Han Solo tries to impart the same to his son, Kylo Ren. This time it doesn't work, and the former Ben Solo gives himself fully to the Dark Side by striking down his father.
    • In The Last Jedi, Yoda's Force Ghost appears to the now-reclusive Luke, assuring him he is always an honorable Jedi.
  • In The Mask, Peggy gives a speech of this variety to Stanley. And despite it immediately leading to her Face–Heel Turn reveal, and it was very likely that she was lying through her teeth the entire time, in the end... She was right.
    Peggy: Look, I don't know what's happening to you, Stanley... but I do know this; that letter that you sent my column? That was from a guy with more guts... and more heart, than any of the creeps that I've met in this city. Whatever that mask is... you don't need it. You, Stanley Ipkiss, are already all you'll ever need to be.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • 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 Quidditch 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.
    • Also happens throughout the series with Neville. When Dumbledore called him brave for standing up to his friends at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and in books five and seven, Neville begins to really come into his own as a wizard and realise that, despite the troubles he has doing magic, he's not a bad wizard or a coward at all. Even the Sorting Hat knew this, and placed him in Gryffindor instead of the less popular Hufflepuff like he wanted.
  • 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.
    • Likewise, Harry spends a good part of Ghost Story trying to convince a Street Urchin that he's more than he thinks it is. He hasn't been back in the series since then, so it's hard to say how well he took Harry's words to heart. Interestingly, the boy has a number of similarities with Harry at that age.
  • 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 an awesome moment:
    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."
  • In the Dale Brown book A Time for Patriots, Ken Phoenix is told that he should stop beating himself up over the violence and deaths caused by Right Wing Militia Fanatics.
  • In the Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady Ralph tries to convince Isabelle of this.
  • 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.
  • The Wheel of Time:
  • In Why We Took the Car, Maik breaks down and tells Tschick just how boring he actually is and how he sees himself. Tschick responds by telling Maik how much of a great person he is, and that the week they spent together was the best of his life, which was something Maik probably really needed to hear.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Kirbie urges this on Alex, to get him to leave Cloak.
  • In Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive), when two bands of deserters are bearing down on her caravan, Shallan Davar—a shipwrecked minor noble girl dressed in rags—rides up to one of the bands and convinces them to defend them instead of rob them, despite having absolutely nothing to offer but her word.
    Shallan: What would you do, Vathah, to erase the past? Would you protect instead of kill, if you had the choice? Would you rescue instead of rob if you could do it over again? Good people are dying as we speak here. You can stop it.
    Vathah: We can't change the past.
    Shallan: I can change your future.
    Vathah: We are wanted men.
    Shallan: Yes, I came here wanting men. Hoping to find men. You are offered the chance to be soldiers again. Come with me. I will see to it you have new lives. Those lives start by saving instead of killing.
  • In The Witchlands, Evraine and Leopold try to tell Aeduen this on different occassion, as he considers himself to be little more than a human-shaped weapon. Unfortunately, Aeduen isn't exactly willing to listen.
  • In Victoria, protagonist John Rumford comforts his old friend and fellow Marine, Gunny Matthews, when the latter feels worthless for giving in and claiming conversion to Islam in order to survive captivity by the radical Islamic terrorists, rather than becoming a martyr. Since Matthews is a very serious Christian, he has very high moral standards for honesty, and becomes despondent having violated them; but Rumford manages to reach through to him and convince him that God still loves him—and that his fellow fighters still need him.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: When she was pregnant, Georgia didn't think she could have a career and raise a child by herself. But Sid was willing to believe in her, and his encouragement helped her self-confidence and allowed her to believe in herself again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Oliver, her father, and finally Laurel try to convince Sara on Arrow that she's not a bad person, but she refuses to believe them until she overhears a cop referring to her as a hero for going into a burning building to rescue a child.
      • When Oliver is skirting the Despair Event Horizon in "Streets of Fire", the penultimate episode of season two, Felicity snaps him out of it with a combination of You Are Not Alone and this trope:
        Felicity: Malcolm Merlyn, the Count, the Clock King, the triad, everyone who has tried to hurt this city, you stopped them! And you will stop Slade.
      • In the Season 5 episode "Disbanded", Oliver has soared past the Despair Event Horizon due to Prometheus' physical and psychological torture in the previous episode convincing him that he's a monster. Diggle refuses to let him wallow in this:
        Dig: You can tell me that you're a serial killer, or that you're crazy, or you're whatever Chase has shoved into your head, but I'm not believing that, even if you do. And that is because I know the kind of man you are Oliver. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I know! And you don't need to punish yourself, or isolate yourself. But what you need to do is stop pushing me away. Because I am NOT going anywhere Oliver! Do you get that?!
    • The Flash (2014): Barry, when he meets Magenta, manages to talk her out of killing her abusive dad and everyone else in the hospital with one of these.
      Barry: This isn't the way. Your foster father never forgave himself for his mistakes, that's why he took them out on you, he couldn't face who he is, he couldn't move forward. But you can.
    • Supergirl has a depowered Kara doing this in order to get a looter to disarm himself during the aftermath of an earthquake.
  • Buffy tells Spike this in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Never Leave Me":
    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.
  • Chuck: Said to Chuck in the second season finale when he feels he doesn't have what it takes to be a spy and save the world on a full time basis:
    Chuck: You belong out there, saving the world. I'm just... I'm just not that guy.
    Sarah: How many times do you have to be a hero to realize that you are that guy?
  • 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. He goes on to do this so much throughout the series that the other characters eventually deem it "the Winger speech."
  • 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...
  • 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't 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.
    • "Listen", where the Doctor gives a quietly rousing speech to a scared little boy about how fear makes you stronger than you could imagine. We find out at the end of the episode that Clara gave him that speech when he was a little boy who didn't have the grades to become a Time Lord, inspiring him to become the universe's greatest hero.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Astos' last words are telling his junior colleague Mabli that she is this.
      "You can do this, Mabli. I believe in you. I always have."
  • Farscape episode 1 has John telling Aeryn that she can be more than just a mindless soldier.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: In "Not With My Pig, You Don't", Phil's mother Patty visits and tells Will stories about "Zeke's" life on their farm in Yamacraw, and Will tells them to a reporter who is writing a story about Phil's life in honor of him receiving an Urban Spirit Award. Phil is angry at him for spoiling his image those embarrassing stories, but Patty overhears them and is furious that he'd be ashamed of his upbringing. At the reception, a depressed Phil goes into the bathroom and Will goes to tell him that some of those stories were really great, such as him being the first black president of the Young Farmer's Association, and he gets him to realize that he had a fine boyhood.
  • 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.
    • In Season 8 Rachel panics during her baby shower when she realizes she doesn't know a single thing about raising a baby, and is worried that she'll be a terrible mother. Ross relates how worried he was when his first child was born and how he was able to grow into taking care of him and likewise quotes this trope word for word for Rachel to tell her she that she's underestimating herself, reminding her of how how she went from being a spoiled Daddy's Girl to an independent woman with a career.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • In episode 3 of The Glee Project, Cameron tells Alex he's proud of him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sherlock: Despite those bloody-awful social skills Sherlock had to tell John twice that he was awesome, and it took a freaking speech for John to realize just how awesome he was.
  • In Smallville, other than the page quote, in Fracture, Clark tells Alexander/Lex's good side that he is stronger than he thinks.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • An ascended Daniel tells this to an imprisoned Jack in "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.
      Jack: You earned it.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In "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, 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.
    • Picard gives a speech like this to Wesley at the end of "Coming of Age" after Wesley fails his Starfleet Entrance exam, going so far as to confide in Wesley that even he didn't pass the first time. More than likely, this conversation went a long way towards convincing him to reapply.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "Hard Times", O'Brien is tormented by memories implanted in his mind of a prison sentence in which he killed a fellow inmate over a petty trifle, driving him to the brink of suicide. When Bashir came to talk him down, O'Brien confided that he felt like he was little more than a violent animal, but Bashir assured him that an animal wouldn't feel the guilt and grief he was feeling.
  • 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.
    • Dean gets this again in season eight, when he insists that he be the one to go through a set of trials to close the gates of Hell forever, a task that he imagines will be dangerous and potentially deadly. His reasoning is that Sam is smarter than he is and more capable of having a normal life, so he's the one who should get away from everything and survive, and that will make Dean happy. Sam tells him he's a genius who should want to live, and that Sam believes in him.
    • Castiel also gets a taste of this in season nine, courtesy of some fellow angels. With the angels locked out of Heaven and multiple factions engaging in brutal feuds with each other, Castiel wants the fighting to stop, but is severely disheartened by the actions of his kin and deeply regretful of his own past actions, some of which are actually being used as the current villains' inspiration. Castiel outright states that he is nothing, and when an angel approaches and wants to follow him, he says he's not a leader. He is told that he is a leader, and more than one angel has shown up wanting to join him.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • Billy Joel's "You're Only Human (Second Wind)". The music video is even more explicit.
  • David Bowie's "Rock and Roll Suicide", perhaps surprisingly given the title:
    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...
  • Invisible by Disciple.
    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
  • "Firework" by Katy Perry
  • "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
  • Another "Beautiful", by Eminem
    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
  • Eminem to Dr. Dre in "I Need A Doctor" by the latter
    Can't make a decision, you keep questionin' yourself
    Second-guessin' and it's almost like you're beggin' for my help
    Like I'm your leader, you're supposed to fuckin' be my mentor
    I can endure no more, I demand you remember who you are!!
  • "Who Says" by Selena Gomez
  • "F**kin' Perfect" by P!nk
    Pretty, pretty please
    Don't you ever, ever feel
    Like you're less than fuckin' perfect
    Pretty, pretty please
    If you ever, ever feel
    Like you're nothing
    You are perfect, to me
  • "I'll Be Your Mirror" by the Velvet Underground.
    I find it hard to believe you don't know
    The beauty that you are
    But if you don't, let me be your eyes
    A hand in your darkness so you won't be afraid

    When you think the night has seen your mind
    That inside you're twisted and unkind
    Let me stand to show that you are blind
    Please put down your hands, 'cause I see you
    I'll be your mirror
  • "Low Self-Opinion" by Henry Rollins:
    If you could see the you that I see
    When I see you seeing me
    You'd see yourself so differently
    Believe me
  • "Kill Your Heroes" by AWOLNATION
    Well, I met an old man dying on a train
    No more destination, no more pain
    Well, he said one thing, before I graduate
    Never let your fear decide your fate.
  • "You're Worth More Than Gold" by Brit Nicole.
  • "Carry You" by VNV Nation
    Truth defined by your adversities will defend you,
    As your powers and all your energies conspire to carry you.
  • "Beautiful Freak" by Eels, in which somebody is comforted for being not like the others, yet that makes him/her great.
    Some people think you have a problem
    But that problem lies only with them
    Just 'cause you are not like the others
    And that is why I love you, beautiful freak
  • "Super Trouper" by ABBA is about urging a friend to stop settling for the easy things in life and stop being afraid to take risks, and start living up to his or her potential.
  • "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles, from Beatles for Sale.
  • "Jojo", a moving tribute by Jacques Brel about his best friend Jojo who died of cancer. He tells him what a great friend he was and adds the iconic message:
    Six feet below the ground, Jojo, you are not dead
    six feet below the ground: I adore you still.
    • Brel would die of the same illness only one year later.
  • "Simply The Best" by Tina Turner about a partner she considers superlative to all the others.
  • What Are You Waiting For? by Disturbed is pulling double duty as this and a Self Empowerment Anthem.
    Don't let them undermine
    Your dreams can never be stolen
    Don't leave them stagnant, rotting on the vine
    Say goodbye to anyone who tries
    To bleed you dry, you will show them
    You're blessed with an unlimited supply

    Leave nothing left behind

    So what you waiting for, tell me what you're waiting for?
    Don't stand by and deny it
    So what you waiting for, tell me what you're waiting for?
    Break new ground and defy it
    Don't let the world outside
    Leave you cornered and alone
    So what you waiting for, tell me what you waiting for
    Let them all be reminded
  • "Porcelain" by Marianas Trench
    You thought by now you'd have it figured out
    You can't erase the way it pulls when seasons change
    It hurts sometimes to find where you begin
    You are perfect porcelain

    The slow and simple melody
    Of tears you cannot keep from me
    It's alright if you don't know what you need
  • Parts of "By Your Side" by Sade.
  • "Priceless" by KING & COUNTRY, a song directed at women who, for one reason or another, feel unworthy of love. Towards the end, it adds in no matter who you are, no matter what your past, you are a priceless and irreplaceable thing of beauty because you are you.
    I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right
    I see a rose in bloom at the sight of you
  • Danny Don't You Know by Ninja Sex Party is largely about lead singer Danny Sexbang providing a motivational speech to his younger self, and has lines implying that he is not alone in his feelings of inadequacy. The music video is dedicated to "all the nerds of the world."
    Danny don't you know that we're all rad as fuck on the inside?!
  • This is such a deeply ingrained and recurring theme throughout The works of Andrew W.K. that it's actively difficult to single out just one example. Andrew really does want nothing more than to inspire you to be the best that you can be.
  • Lorde's album Melodrama features the song "Liability", where she sings about how she's too much for everyone and feels like a burden. Later in the album, "Liability (Reprise)", parts of "Liability" are sung and the end of the song includes this incredibly heartwarming lyric:
    But you're not what you thought you were.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In one story in Norse Mythology, Thor, along with Loki and Thor's servant Pjálfi, are challenged to several contests by the giant lord Utgard-Loki. Pjálfi competes against one of Utgard-Loki's men in a footrace, but only makes it halfway before his opponent finishes. Loki competes in an eating contest where he and his opponent have to start at opposing ends of a long trough full of meat and eat their way to the center, but while Loki reaches the center at the same time as his opponent, his opponent eats the bones and trough as well, so Loki loses. Thor himself has to drain a drinking mug, lift a cat, and wrestle an old woman, but he is only able to slightly lower the capacity of the cup, only manages to lift the cat's paw, and cannot defeat the old woman. Having been humbled, Thor and his companions are treated as honored guests, but the next morning, before they leave, Utgard-Loki tells Thor that while he had wanted to utterly humiliate him, he had actually done much better than he had thought. (The giant lord had used illusions in each contest to fool them; Pjálfi had been racing against the personification of Thought, and Loki had been competing against Fire; the cup that Thor tried to drink from was actually the sea, the cat was actually the Midgard Serpent, and the old woman was Old Age personified. Utgard-Loki admits that the fact that Thor and his companions did as well as they did scared the hell out of him and his court.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, there is a particular Social Charm for the Solar Exalted that acts as a literal gameplay effect of this trope: You Can Be More, allowing a Solar to mend the broken spirits of those around them. With sufficient power behind it, the Charm can even literally cause a mortal to be more by making them become a Heroic Mortal and greatly increasing their own chances to Exalt.

    Theatre 
  • This is the essential crux of the "Starlight Sequence" song in the musical Starlight Express, where the Starlight Express, a godlike entity worshipped by the anthropomorphic representations of the trains in a child's train set, shows up to tell the main character that he can win the race that all the trains are competing in if he just believes in himself.
  • 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!"
  • Anyone Can Whistle:
    Hapgood: I can't stop being crazy. But that's my own affair.
    Fay: No, it isn't. You're the hope of the world.
    Hapgood: I don't think you can possibly repeat that sentence without laughing.
    Fay: You're the hope of the world. You and all the crazy people like you.
    Hapgood: From the first moment, you've been trying to put me on a white horse. Now stop it!

    Video Games 
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora gives this to Riku's replica after slaying Marluxia when he calls himself a fake.
    Sora: Wait! Who cares if someone created you? You are you and nobody else. You have your own heart inside you! Those feelings and memories are yours and yours alone! They're special!
    Riku: Sora, you're a good guy. I don't have to be real to see how real your feelings are.
  • Turning Aribeth back from the dark side in Neverwinter Nights revolves around this trope.
    • There even is a fan-made expansion giving some closure to Aribeth's story in which the first chapter consists almost entirely of this trope.
  • The Jedi Exile can say this to Visas in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. And near the end, after being told by the Jedi Council that they're actually a living "Force wound" leeching power off of their friends who are only there because of the Exile's unusual ability to Force-bond, either Visas or the Disciple (depending on the Exile's gender) will tell them that the Council is full of it and their friends there because they believe in the Exile.
  • 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.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, this is, in essence, the line that definitely snaps Kaori Yae out of her Heroic BSoD, in her mandatory event:
    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.
    • Garrus is another example. When he lets his quest for revenge begin to get in the way of his morals, Shepard continuously tries to pull him back, even standing in between Garrus' sniper scope and his target, essentially implying that he'll have to shoot him/her in order to get his revenge.
    • In the third game, Paragon Shepard 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. Liara and Garrus in particular really try to keep Shepard's spirits up.
      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."
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Blackwall/Thom Rainier is this in spades. Once a well-respected Orlesian army captian, he accepted a bribe from a noble to assasinate one of the noble's rivals...and his entire family. When the truth came out, he ran, abandoning his men to be punished in his stead, and became a drifter until he was recruited by a Grey Warden named Blackwall. Plagued by guilt of what he did to the noble's family, and to his men, he joined up, only for Blackwall to be killed while escorting him to the Wardens for his joining. Since he was afraid that the other Wardens would thing he'd murdered Blackwall, he took Blackwall's identity and became a "Grey Warden" himself, dedicating himself to the Wardens' cause of protecting the innocent. The trope comes into play when the truth is finally let out, as this is one of the things you can say to him after he turns himself in. If you have Blackwall released and pardon him for his crimes, he takes up the trope's banner and travels around Thedas using his story as inspiration for others who also found themselves in his position.
  • The basic premise of Elite Beat Agents is that the titular characters help give people the self-confidence they need to power through a seemingly impossible situation...by dancing. Moments where this trope is most notable include "The Anthem", which revolves around a past-his-prime baseball star trying to regain his spark by fighting a fire-breathing golem in an amusement park. It's that kind of game.
  • 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.
    Lyndon: Seriously?
    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.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable , Arf suggests that Fate might have turned out like her Evil Counterpart, the Ax-Crazy Material-L, if Nanoha and the others had not been there for her. Nanoha disagrees, saying that because Fate has Arf, she is not alone, and she is a stronger person than Material-L. Arf and Fate are touched by hearing that.
  • Injustice 2: Despite realizing the crimes her cousin did as the High Councilor and what drove him to villainy in the last game, Supergirl refuses to give up entirely on Superman, making frequent pleas and appeals to his better nature, but they fall on deaf ears as Superman is still too-grief stricken and cynical to accept maybe he was right the first time, combined with thinking traditional superheroics is fundamentally flawed. He also clings on to I Let Gwen Stacy Die, telling her that heroes' loved ones die if they hold back, but his ongoing disillusionment from losing Lois prevents him from moving on. Even when she sees him sent to the Phantom Zone in the Absolute Justice ending, Supergirl tells him they're still family and she hopes he realizes that someday.
  • Batman, of all people, gives one to Victor Fries/Dr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City. It's made all the more surprising/touching by the fact that Batman has otherwise taken a level in jerkass since the last game.
    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. Jade admits he's learned a lot about humanity by watching Luke grow. Guy declares, dozens of times, his Undying Loyalty to Luke, damn the fact that Luke's a replica. 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."
  • "Devils never cry." A recurring phrase in the games, given to emphasize a character's humanity despite their demonic heritage or creation, and puncutating Trish's Heel–Face Turn in the first game and Lucia's Tomato in the Mirror moment from the second. Even Dante gets a slight variant in the third game, when Vergil is trapped in the demon world.
    Dante: Devils never cry.
    Lady: I see. Maybe somewhere out there even a devil may cry when he loses a loved one. Don't you think?
  • Minecraft: In the ending, the two Entities tell the player "Everything you need is already within you. You are never alone. You are stronger than you know"
  • Should you do a Genocide run in Undertale, Papyrus will try to stave you off your destructive path by assuring you that you're a great person at heart and, if you just try, no matter how little effort you put into it, the great person you are will shine through. Should you kill him anyway, despite his speech, he'll even use his last breath to promise you that he knows you can do better, even if you don't think so yourself. The faith he puts in you has proven to be just as effective as Undyne's and Sans' beatdowns when it comes to making people abort their Genocide runs.
  • Shining Resonance: The bulk of Yuma's character development hinges on the rest of the party helping him to overcome his fear of the Shining Dragon's power, due to a childhood tragedy where he briefly lost control of it and nearly wiped out a village. Agnum, in particular, appoints himself as Yuma's 'big brother' figure and leads him on two training missions to build up his confidence. By mid-game, their efforts pay off, which inspires Yuma to do the same for Marion.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The Subspace Emissary, King Dedede grabs Ness and Peach or Zelda as a matter of convenience due to them already being trophified. However, the one character he specifically seeks out to be his ace in the hole, his last chance backup for when everything goes to crud... is Luigi.
  • In one of the endings of Silent Hill 2 (the "Leave" ending), James is having a conversation with his dead wife, Mary, for the last time. During the course of his conversation, he first states he killed her to end the pain for her.... then states that wasn't quite true; that he also did so because on some level he hated her and wanted his life back. The reply comes:
    James... if that were true, then why do you look so sad?
  • When Hiveswap protagonist Joey Claire travels to the troll planet Alternia and meets Xefros Tritoh, the latter constantly puts himself and his blood caste down due to the low expectations of their end of the Hemospectrum. Regardless, Joey regards him as a brave if humble companion who put himself at considerable risk throughout Act 1 to help her out of her predicament. She then vows to show him what true friendship is and assure him that she's with him in his fight to end the blood caste discrimination.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Old Woman initially tells off Groose, who has just reached the surface for the first time, for thinking he is the one who will save the day by rescuing Zelda instead of Link. Soon afterward, the Imprisoned breaks from its seal and must be resealed by Link, all of which leaves Groose paralyzed with fear as he watches it all happen. He then bitterly concedes that he is a useless coward while Link really is the one who will make things right. As he walks off to mope, the Old Woman states that he will still undoubtedly have some important role to play later.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Navarre delivers one of these to Asahi, who constantly feels like she's just bringing her friends down in her efforts as a Hunter. He especially brings up that there are many who say they would die for a friend, but that there are few who actually mean it, including Asahi, who willingly put herself between Nanashi and Shesha to protect the former from a gruesome death at the hands of the latter and died as a result (though she later got better). Given that Navarre seems to be selectively nonexistent to others, he thinks that she won't hear him at all, as usual. But it's at this moment that she finally notices, and thanks him for his kindness.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: After Yuuya makes several self- deriding comments about himself (if you choose to meet with him at the Shrine in Holiday Star), Hiyoko more or less says this to him word for word.
    "I think you're a better person than you think you are, Yuuya! Sakuya and the doctor are always chewing you out, but you shouldn't let that get you down. Just do your thing and be yourself."

    Web Animation 
  • In the season 7 episode of Arby 'n' the Chief entitled "Greenlit", there's this exchange between Master Chief and a Hallucination of Cortana.
    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.
  • RWBY: In "A Much Needed Talk," Blake, believing that she betrayed her family by leaving them to follow the White Fang's new leader, no longer considers herself worthy of their love. Her father tells her that her eventually leaving and setting herself back onto the right path proves she is a far stronger person than most people ever manage.
  • The nameless, reclining nude person in the memetically weird claymation short "Hi Stranger" (NSFW if your workplace doesn't like nudity, otherwise pretty wholesome, but weird) tells the viewer this toward the end. It's actually quite touching, all things considered.
    Unnamed Character: I've been thinking about you a lot, lately. I see you trying to do so many things at once. Worrying about a decision you made, or worried that you said the wrong thing to someone. You're so hard on yourself. But you're wonderful, and worthy of being loved. You really are. You just have to let yourself believe it. Well, I know you're really busy and probably have to go. But I'm glad I got to see you for a minute. I love you.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • Girl Genius: Agatha accidentally gives Gil such a piece of inspiration when she asks him what kind of power hungry dictator he's going to be is he hasn't built himself an arsenal of deathrays. While she fumes about their current unarmed state Gil wonders quietly in response that he's apparently on track to become a better kinder one than he'd thought.
  • Grey is...: 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
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • 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.
  • Shadow Girls: Becka has to be told this after hesitating to Save the Villain. Which, given that said villain tried to have her raped as a prank roughly a week before (maybe) trying to unmake the universe, says quite a bit.
  • In these two consecutive Megatokyo strips, Piro finally gets some sense talked into him.
  • In Freefall, because Florence is a carnivore, and Sam is a scavenger, Florence thinks that the captain sneaking to steal her food is low-ranking, and she needs to apply this trope.
    • 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 Karkat of 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.
    • When Dirk is feeling down on himself after finding out what an asshole his alternate universe counterpart was, Dave tells him that he doesn't seem like a bad person and that he shouldn't beat himself up over the things his other self did.
  • When a major Wham Episode of Rain hit a little too close to home for some people, the author wrote an apology on her DeviantArt journal, assuring the readers that Rain will make it through this.
    Same goes for you, Rain Beaus. You are stronger than you may realize. Don't let anyone hold anything over you. And if you think you're alone, remember that we're ALL friends here. Myself and 2,000+ other people watching this page want to see you and everyone else here live positively in the way you want to.
  • Zebra Girl: Becky, one of the vampires who turned on Zandra, is undergoing Stages of Monster Grief and wishing she was dead. Zandra notes how some of the other vampires follow her, and tells her she's stronger than she thinks she is.

    Web Original 
  • In the ASMR Video series Sweet as Honey, the video "Why Are You so Hard on Yourself?" sees Honey taking the role of the listener's big sister, telling them not to beat themselves up over mistakes, that they're not perfect, and that they're wonderful in spite of a few mistakes.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
    • 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.
    • Film Brain tries very hard to get the Critic to believe this in To Boldly Flee, but by then the Critic is just too depressed to listen. Not even a "you've evolved beyond my writing" speech from Doug Walker helped. Finally dying did though.
    • More downbeat in the review of Christmas with the Kranks, as Critic talks about people changing sometimes not always for the best, and you'll/he'll fuck up, but don't hate yourself too much.
  • In Worm, Tattletale and Skitter try to convince Panacea of this, unsuccessfully.
  • In episode 44 of WelcomeToNightVale, Dana, or her double, talks about meeting their future self, and expresses disappointment at having to wait until they get older before becoming important. Cecil's response?
    "You have always been important. You have always been something. Age just reveals the facts that always were. Experience uncovers the you that always was."
  • Takotsubo: The story of a superhero is a pretty upfront tagline: Cord Cai is a Chinese-American gangster, who's normally a villain. His backstory is a metric ton of shit: His parents are in prison, he was frequently gay-bashed (which is worse since he's bisexual, not gay), and joined a street gang in high school to cope. While he and his fiance Roland are trying to go clean, Roland gets shot in a carjacking. The Police are Useless, so Cord tracks the carjacker down and shoots him because he feels like it's his only choice. The author's notes state that this is his long journey back from the Despair Event Horizon to acknowledge that he's a superhero.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Beast Machines episode "The Weak Component", Rattrap, feeling inadequate due to his robot mode not possessing any offensive weapons or capabilities (which is constantly remarked to him, contemptuously, by his fellow Maximals) in a moment of desperation, strikes a deal with Megatron, who will give him "noise-makers" in exchange for protection during one night of crucial repairs. When the rest of the Maximals find out about the deal, they confront Rattrap, who they accuse of traitor (not without reason). Rattrap replies by stating that "You never believed in me. Ever" to which Optimus, who just arrived on the scene, replies "I believe in you" and "You don't need these weapons. You're stronger than you know. Stronger than ANY OF YOU know [referring to the other Maximals]". With renewed self-confidence, Rattrap ceases his attack on his teammates and leaves peacefully, having fulfilled his promise to Megatron as the sun rises and he was not touched by Maximal hands.
  • From Justice League:
    • "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.
    • "Wake the Dead": Several bystanders jeer and denounce Shayera for her role as The Mole during the Thanagarian invasion. Green Lantern snaps that she doesn't deserve that, but she sadly says that she does. Then, another bystander thanks her for saving her life, and Green Lantern tells her "You deserve that, too."
  • Two different cases in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002):
    • After Mekanek saves the day by helping defeat Count Marzo after feeling a lack of self-worth over his rather lame powers in one episode, He-Man tells him he's "kind of special", and it helps Mek get his confidence back.
    • In another episode, after Orko causes a rather big accident at the palace, he goes to Castle Greyskull to beg the Sorceress to send him back to his home dimension, where he never made mistakes and was respected. The Sorceress agrees to do so, but while Orko is waiting in the library, he's approached by a mysterious "visitor" (actually the Sorceress in disguise) who shows him several occasions where he's made a difference on this world, including a Shout-Out to his origin in the original series. Later, Orko is able to help defend the Castle when Skeletor uses the Ram-Stone to break in, the pep-talk having worked.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh tries to tell Zuko this, though he's too busy wallowing in his "Well Done, Son!" Guy syndrome to notice.
    • Until his Heel Realization, that is.
    • Also from Avatar, we have two examples from "The Firebending Masters":
    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.
    • And:
    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.
    • Later on, when Iroh tells Zuko he must be the one to become Fire Lord after Aang defeats Ozai, Zuko doesn't think he can because of all the mistakes he's made. Iroh tells him that, yes, he made mistakes, but he battled through his struggles and suffering to find his own path and restore his honor on his own, making him the perfect candidate to do the same for the Fire Nation.
  • In Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, Korra is suffering questioning the necessity of the Avatar and Asami reminds her of all of the important things she did to save the world. When she still has problems, Korra confronts Zaheer, who praises her for her strength and says that Korra has more power than she could possibly imagine, the only stumbling block is her own doubt. This is what finally gets Korra to reach her full spiritual potential and overcome her PTSD.
  • 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.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Bruce Wayne says this to Terry McGinnis at the end.
    "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."
  • South Park:
    • The 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.
    • Played straight in the episode "Tweek x Craig". After the town is convinced the two are in a relationship, Craig comes up with a plan to stage a fake break-up. When Tweek protests that he's a terrible actor, Craig tells him that he is "capable of more than [he thinks]". This ends up working so well that Tweek gets caught up in the act and unintentionally makes Craig look like a manipulative cheater. He later admits that Craig made him believe in himself like he never had before.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, "Superman's Pal", Clark Kent does this to Jimmy Olsen while the latter is suffering from an inferiority complex. At the end of the episode he does it again as Superman.
    Clark: You're selling yourself short.
  • 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?
    Cadence: You stand here for a reason,
    You are gifted and you are strong,
    That crown is upon your head because you belong!
    • Princess Luna needed one as well in "Do Princesses Dream Of Magic Sheep?" - it turns out the nightmare-inducing Tantabus was created by Luna to punish herself every night for what she did as Nightmare Moon, not believing that she deserved forgiveness; that the Tantabus escaped and started giving the Mane Six then all of Ponyville nightmares and threatened to escape into the waking world just made her guilt worse and in turn made the Tantabus even stronger. Twilight points out that all the effort and work Luna's done to try to stop shows that Luna is not the pony Nightmare Moon was, since Nightmare Moon would have gleefully let the Tantabus wreak havoc.
    • This is a recurring trope for Starlight Glimmer:
      • "The Cutie Re-Mark": Being defeated once again, giving up her ideals for good, on top of witnessing the dire consequences of her actions, Starlight is left guilt-stricken and broken. She doesn't know what to do with herself anymore and is ready to face whatever punishment awaits her. Twilight and the others decide to bring her in, so they can show her the true benefits of Friendship. Twilight in particular seeing and noting Starlight's amazing talent and even greater potential that Starlight herself never noticed or realized. Starlight Glimmer is now Twilight's new pupil, effectively becoming a Sixth Ranger to the Mane Six.
      • "The Crystalling – Part 2", Starlight expresses disappointment after her initial attempts to reconcile with Sunburst don't work out and questions whether or not Twilight Sparkle was right in considering her worthy of friendship and giving her another chance as her pupil. Spike tells Starlight she is worth being friends with and encourages her to keep trying to reconcile with Sunburst. Which she manages in the end.
      • "To Where and Back Again", Trixie assures Starlight that she is a good leader, and that she must embrace her talent for it, despite her own fears. This pep talk is enough to convince Starlight to press on with the rescue mission.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Rose's Scabbard", Pearl expresses to Steven that if Rose could see her, she would be disappointed in Pearl for how lost and broken she is in the wake of Rose's death, even nearly letting Steven fall to his death while chasing after her. Steven responds with a brief but powerful one for Pearl, driving her to tears.
      Pearl: Everything I ever did, I did for her. Now she's gone, but I'm still here. Sometimes, I think she can see me through your eyes. What would she think of me now?
      Steven: (giving Pearl a Cool Down Hug) Well, I think you're pretty great.
    • In "On the Run", it comes to light that Amethyst views herself as a mistake and a parasite, due to where and why she was created. After a Verbal Backspace or two, Pearl is eventually able to get through to her (see the quotes page).
    • In "Sworn to the Sword", Connie begins to display the view that as an ordinary human, she's nothing compared to Steven's legacy and power (a byproduct of learning from Pearl, who unwittingly projects her own self-esteem issues onto Connie). Steven shuts that down right away, reminding her how they work best as a team, and how much he admires her.
    • In "Friend Ship", Pearl breaks down and admits to Garnet that she depends on her for strength and that, being "just a pearl", she feels useless without someone else telling her what do. Garnet responds with this:
      Garnet: It's not easy being in control. I have weaknesses too. But I choose not to let them consume me. I struggle to stay strong because I know the impact I have on everyone. Please understand, Pearl. You have an impact too. There are times when I look up to you for strength. You are your own gem. You control your destiny. Not me, not Rose, not Steven. But you must choose to be strong, so we can move forward.
    • In "Too Short To Ride", Amethyst reassures Peridot after the other gem is shown to be insecure about herself and her lack of Gem abilities, saying that they like Peridot for who she is. It's nice because Amethyst's had to deal with the same sort of self-esteem issues herself, and now she's helping others with them.
      Amethyst: (to Peridot) This whole time we’ve been here you’ve just been focusing on what you can’t do, of course you’re not having any fun. You think that all you are is what you could be. But we don’t hang out with you because of who you COULD be! We like YOU.
    • This is a major element of Steven's relationship with Bismuth. When Bismuth first appears, she helps Steven feel better about his worries of measuring up to Rose Quartz. When things turn bad and Steven is forced to fight her, Bismuth acknowledges Steven as better than Rose for promising to tell the Crystal Gems the truth about what happened between them, when Rose had originally bubbled her and hid her away. In a later episode, Bismuth refers to Steven as the leader of the Crystal Gems since he's the one who has kept them together and believing in the future while they have been reeling from learning a shocking truth about Rose.
  • In the Grand Finale of Phineas and Ferb, Vanessa tells her father this, pointing out that he's a decent human being who's terrible at being evil and doesn't need to let his past determine his future.
  • In the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover, Lisa interrupts Meg's "The Reason You Suck" Speech about herself with a very gentle "Shut up, Meg."
  • Gravity Falls Dipper Pines, despite going up trumping supernatural menaces on a weekly basis, has severe self-esteem issues. He's such a bundle of anxiety (Not helped by the teasing he gets) that he thinks of himself as this noodle-armed wimp whose only saving grace is having a Big Book Of Everything. He gets these sorts of speeches from three characters on separate occasions.
    "Dipper, you don't need that book. On your own you defeated a giant robot with nothing but your bare hands! You're a hero whether you've got that Journal or not!" -Mabel, "Gideon Rises"
    "This summer was super boring until you showed up. I have more fun with you than anybody else, and if you ever stopped being my friend, I would, like, throw myself into the Bottomless Pit!" - Wendy, after giving the Better as Friends talk, "Into The Bunker"
    "This is what I was talking about. How many other twelve-year-olds do you think are capable of doing what you've done?" - The Author, Stanford Pines, "Dipper and Mabel vs the Future"
  • Phantom Investigators:
    • At the beginning of "Demon Driver", Daemona downplays her importance to the team as she's the only one without powers. Navarro reassures her to never underestimate her role as the team's leader.
    Navarro: You four kids have a lot of power. Use it responsibly. Help people.
    Daemona: Talk to them. They're the ones with the power.
    Navarro: And you're the brains. Never underestimate your importance.
    • In "Birthday Presence", Casey feels jealous of Brad, who's rich and popular, as he's living a "terrific life". Daemona reassures him otherwise:
    Daemona: All those kids downstairs; those aren't really Brad's friends. They just want to be part of the "in-crowd". You're the one with the terrific life. You're smart and you're kind. You're already doing something with your life that matters. Face it- you rock.
  • Parodied several times in Beavis And Butthead. Many characters, most notably Cool Teacher Mr Van Driesen, thinks that the boys are just "misunderstood" and just needs someone who supports them and believes in them. Unfortunately, they're exactly as bad as they think they are. Butt-head literally makes the world worse just by existing, and Beavis is so stupid he's a virtual blank slate and Extreme Doormat. In fact, in the episode parodying "It's A Wonderful Life", it reveals that without Butt-head's domineering, Beavis would just get bossed around by Butt-Monkey Stewart instead and turn into a carbon copy of him.

     Real Life 
  • You. Oh sure, you faced all of yesterday just to get to today, and tomorrow probably won't be any better. And all you have to do is browse TV Tropes at 3AM. But you're here because you want to know, and learn, and share. And aren't those things worthwhile too?
  • 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 condescending. Or give the impulse to look at the first entry of this page's Real Life examples and ask "why?".
    • But it's also important to remember, as some forget, that a person with a disability is (generally) capable of things that people don't realize they're capable of - that sometimes the person themselves doesn't realize they could do. There are countless examples of people with disabilities breaking through barriers, starting with the Special Olympics and including a Down's Syndrome woman graduating from college, an Autistic teenager writing a book about her experiences, and a kid born without arms growing up to become a motivational speaker. Having a disability usually doesn't mean you can't leave a mark on the world and definitely doesn't mean you're worthless.
  • People often start physical training and the like vastly underestimating their own abilities, especially if their lifestyle doesn't really involve strenuous work. A part of the trainer's job isn't just building them up physically, but showing their client just how strong they are when they're pushed.
  • Herb Brooks's speech to his US hockey team right before the famed "Miracle on Ice" game, when the amateur squad beat the four-time defending champs from the USSR in the 1980 Olympic semifinals, arguably the greatest sports upset ever:
    One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.
  • In psychology, "impostor syndrome" is a feeling where talent outstrips confidence. The so-called "impostor" is somebody who's actually pretty good at what they do, but believes that they aren't really that good. When faced with proof of their success, they protest that it was a fluke, that they got lucky, or even insist that it wasn't them. This causes people who could do better to not seek promotions, pay rises, etc. because they believe that they aren't deserving of such things. In extreme cases, they live in fear that someone will realize they've been "faking it" and fire/leave/abandon them. These kinds of fears are almost never true, and can hold people back from achieving their full potential. A big part of getting through impostor syndrome is being told and shown that "you're better than you think you are" repeatedly, both through concrete proof of accomplishment and positive reinforcement.
    • Children are not immune to impostor syndrome, especially if they've been raised with abusive discipline and punishment. While the conventional wisdom is that kids create an Imaginary Friend to blame misbehavior on, children have also been known to ascribe good deeds, successes and achievements to such non-existent companions.
    • Neil Gaiman famously tells the story of meeting another Neil at a convention for people who had done assorted awesome stuff. Neil was feeling like quite the impostor when the other Neil mentioned that he felt like an impostor since he never really did anything special. Gaiman was shocked because he looked up to Neil #2, the first human being to set foot on the Moon. Neil Armstrong downplayed his achievement as no big deal.

Alternative Title(s): You Are Better Than You Think

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