What is the Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence?
Self-esteem refers to the way you feel about yourself, it means to have an appreciation for and how you view yourself in the world. Self-esteem is developed from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today. “If you have high self-esteem at work, you probably have it in other areas of your life too, because this is a reflection of how you see yourself. People with high self-esteem tend to see the universe as a pretty friendly place.” (Kay, 2014)
Self-confidence is your self-belief and how you feel about your abilities to handle any situation and the belief that you can succeed no matter what, it is related to an action. It is the ability to make decisions and trust that those decisions are for your highest good. You trust your own judgment; your own abilities and you exhibit self-reliance. This is one of the most imperative characteristics of successful people. People with little self-esteem and low confidence may find it difficult to find a level of success because they let fear stop them from realizing their true potential. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“There are two main things that contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem. We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves (and others similar to ourselves) mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. This is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we’ll succeed; and it’s this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persists in the face of setbacks.” Mindtools(2016).
Self-Doubt Is The Thief Of Happiness.
Doubt is that insidious thing that we all face from time to time, it’s the sub-vocalizations in the brain that try and keep you living out your limits and not your true potential. It says things like “you can’t, you aren’t good enough, you aren’t pretty enough, you aren’t smart enough, don’t even try, you are going to look foolish when you fail.” These gremlins and voices in your mind aren’t even real, this is called resistance and another word for it is FEAR. The Ego’s job is to keep you safe, in your own limited world. But that’s not where the magic exists now is it?
Self-doubt certainly has a way of getting under your skin. Especially if you believe the voices in your head to be true. The beauty about human beings is that you don’t have to believe every thought that crosses your mind. You have the true privilege of CHOOSING your what you are going to believe and then acting on them. I know, the irony is killer! It is one of those pivotal moments where you get to choose. You can 1. Believe in yourself or 2. Get sucked in and seduced by your own self-pity.
Unfortunately, when we get sucked in by our limited mind, we are more prone to holding a low opinion of ourselves because we believed those gremlins and that inner critic to be true then we act in accordance with those gremlins and we start doubting our self-worth and our own capabilities. Then we falter and make a mistake or NOT get our goals and we say “see, I am a failure, I knew I couldn’t do it.” And then we identify ourselves with that mistake as if WE ARE THE MISTAKE, but in actuality, you are NOT your mistakes.
When you strike out once, and you feel defeated. Get back up and try again. Don’t quit now, you are just getting started. Sometimes in life, things don’t always go according to plan, in fact, more often than not, it WON’T go according to plan. Be flexible, change your strategy and trust that you can get it together and stretch yourself to the possibility that things can get uncomfortable. Growth and comfort cannot exist together. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and know that this feeling is overcoming your fear and, it is you gaining dominion over your mind.
Fear is a roadblock to confidence; fear of love lost, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of heights, fear of success, fear of going overseas, fear of taking risks and trying new things and the list is endless right? Fear has an insidious way of controlling us and holding us back from truly expressing and living out our greatness and our unrealized potentials.
Don’t let doubt thieve away your ability to be happy and confident. Doubt is subtle and its cunning and you must protect yourself from it.
Resistance shows up in many different ways and fear does not want you to let it go so easily. Resistance in self-doubt would have you believe that getting angry will solve the problem, that gossiping will make you right and feel righteous, and have you making up lewd stories to keep you limited and stuck. Resistance is like anything else, it can be beaten and you have the ability to do that, beat it, and when it shows up again, you will know how to handle it and choose the path to overcome it. Resistance loves drama and all the things that come with it, you have all the tools to do it but you have to CHOOSE it.
You CAN Overcome The Inner Critic.
It is a lie to think you are not good enough and not worth it. But you will never be good enough when you have false ideals. But you can defeat the inner critic and the inner war against self-doubt. Step-by-step. Bit by bit. When you decide on WHY you will succeed and continue on that trajectory, you can put that inner critic on mute and shut it down. You MUST stop carrying around with you like it is part of you, the idea that you are less capable than anyone else. You ARE capable of anything you set your mind to. We all fall, we all fail at times and we all falter. That is just part of life.
The confident person will LEARN from their mistakes and celebrate their successes and their victories, small or big and forget about their mistakes but gain WISDOM from them. Use your errors to your advantage, learn from them and then dismiss them from your mind and from your heart. Us humans have this innate ability to remember mistakes and replay them in our minds much to our detriment and demise. This quality will keep you stuck, frustrated and continue the perpetual nature of self-doubt. It doesn’t not matter how many times we fail and falter, what matters is that you continue to make attempts which should be remembered. When you miss the mark, know that it is not YOU who is a failure, and not let your self-esteem be compromised because of it. You must be willing to miss the mark many times in order to succeed.
Learn to playback your successes, elongate those thoughts and those feelings and impress them into your mind and celebrate them. Setting daily goals helps with this feedback loop. Set micro goals for yourself, achieve them and continue to gain confidence by doing that. “Rome was not built in a day.” Set yourself up for success. Things don’t always go your way, but when you have the confidence in yourself, you will learn to become more resilient and when you do falter, you pick yourself back up, you make a different decision and your keep moving forward. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison.
Most of us destroy our confidence by remembering past failures and obsessively playing them back in our minds when what we need to do is forget them. When we do this, we condemn ourselves to live out our failures as if we were a failure. This is a way to self-resentment and self-condemnation.
When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves which makes you more confident in all areas of your life, you begin to increase your overall self-esteem. Roberts (2012).
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others.
One of the first steps of becoming mentally stronger is realizing that you and me, we all have weaknesses and are NOT perfect. We have to really know this to understand it. We are ALWAYS a work in progress. You never just really get it or get to that elusive place we all believe is real, that point in some future time. We are never going to hit the mark every single time. We are always learning, growing and expanding our knowledge base and we never really arrive at some point called “PERFECTION.” Your life, and my life is not a static point in time, it is dynamic and it is always CHANGING.
Self-esteem means to “appreciate the worth of. ”If you are constantly judging, criticizing or comparing your life to others, you will never see the true greatness of your own life. These limited mindsets prevent you from really SEEING your own value and your own worth. Too often we judge our greatest failures to others greatest successes. That is a really bad habit and needs to stop if you want to achieve peace of mind and contentment in your life.
When you constantly compare your life to others, you will never see the true greatness of YOU in your own life.
It doesn’t serve you to constantly compare yourself to others because you are uniquely YOU. You are inherently different; you have a different set of values, beliefs, opinions, wants and desires. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and every one of us is different and that is the beauty of it isn’t it?
If you keep comparing yourself to others, you don’t have the confidence to accept that you and that your life is good enough and nothing will ever be good enough. So cease it immediately, if you want to be happy and free. If you keep comparing yourself to others, you will always feel inferior and it will NEVER work to get you to that place of self-worth.
Stop Rejecting Yourself.
Women are notorious for comparing themselves to the standards of others and to an artificial standard, especially when it comes to BEAUTY.
Beauty is an elusive word within itself. Your definition of beauty is different than my definition of beauty, and it’s different still, from the definition of beauty than that of a model that graces the front cover of Vogue or Cosmopolitan. So then, it begs the question, whose definition of beauty is correct then? Self-Rejection is a way to keep you limited and a way to demean yourself. When you have an artificial standard that you are identifying with, you will never feel secure about yourself. When you continuously compare yourself to the cover of a fashion magazine or look the way they do or want to contort your face with surgery to become somebody else, you are seeking the approval of an artificial standard that will NEVER be met.
If you feel ashamed to be you, and hate that you are not perfect like they are, you may have a warped sense of self. This causes a lot of anxiety and stress because you aiming for a popular ideal and then you don’t like yourself because you aren’t “like them.” Some examples of these limiting beliefs go like this; “well, I’m not as thin as she, then I’m nothing, if i don’t get their approval, I must be worthless, I need to look that way or no one will like me.”
But guess what? Most of us aren’t supermodels that are 6 feet tall and super skinny, and we must find that place of acceptance for ourselves and reject the artificial ideals of popular culture. WE are all BEAUTIFUL, every single one of us. You don’t need designer magazines to show you or tell you what their definition of beauty is, that is just good marketing and advertising, and you don’t have you bought into their story of what beautiful means.
Don’t be seduced or hypnotized by the media’s version of beauty. That is another ploy and tactic to BUY what they want you to. When you learn to become immune to media manipulation and live your own version of your life, you will be free of the burden of self-rejection. Neurotic people aim for perfection, perfection is an illusion of the mind and is resistance at its finest deterring you from seeing the truth of what really IS. Fanaticism and perfection will always lead to disappointment and misery because these people are operating in reality while representing false ideals and hiding from their authentic selves. Don’t live your life as a fictitious person, you will never be happy, confident or fulfilled.
You DEFINE your own life by just being you. No one can stand in the way of your own unique greatness and it is up to you to decide.
Instead of rejecting yourself, try accepting yourself. Your life is a reflection of everything that you are made up of, your strengths, your weaknesses, your attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, your knowledge, your mistakes and your unrealized potential and guess what, so everyone else’s life is made up of much the same.
Stop turning your back on yourself and engage in self-improvement. You cannot realize the beauty and the magic of yourself when you keep rejecting it and comparing yourself to false idols and false expectations. Your ability to accept yourself is one of your greatest allies and it will serve you greatly in your life.
You MUST learn to tolerate and accept imperfection in yourself and in others. You, me and everyone else are NOT perfect, and that is a fact. Don’t hate yourself because of human error, self-loathing is not a virtue. When you miss the mark, make sure you learn from it and grow in some way, don’t make the same mistake again, learning from our mistakes makes them that much more worthwhile wouldn’t you agree? Mistakes, bloopers, and blunders are just part of the journey, that’s what colors your experience of life. The more you pretend that you are impervious to folly, the more you resist the evolutionary process of learning and growing. Don’t pretend to be perfect, vulnerability is a virtue and should be embraced.
Use Discernment When Listening to Others.
People are notorious for voicing their opinions, it is their right and you have the right to listen to them, OR not. When someone offers you THEIR opinion and their viewpoint, you have the right to reject it and not take it on. But when we are vulnerable to the opinions of others and we seek to be validated, we WANT other people to accept us and when or if they don’t a little bit of self-doubt may creep into our minds. A healthy amount of skepticism is okay.
But somewhere along the way, we stopped trusting ourselves and started measuring our self-worth by other people’s standards and opinions and seeking their approval before acting on something important. You will never be confident if you attempt to please everyone else and live life to another person’s standards. When we are not using discernment, it keeps us from seeing our true selves and keeps us from observing the greatness in our lives.
Don’t just believe everything that you are told or take on someone else’s opinion of you, doubt and a healthy level of skepticism are okay but when you don’t trust your own judgement and trust your own inner voice, you may be subject to another person’s viewpoint so much so that their voice overrides yours. This within itself can be a downright complicated mess. But if you take control and be confident in you and stop comparing yourself to everyone else, and letting their belief’s infiltrate your mind. It is a lesson in futility at times. If you don’t believe in your worth then who will?
It is good practice to exercise caution and discretion on whose opinion that you choose to listen to. It is your responsibility alone on whose voice you are listening to. You have the ability to discard what has been said or determine whether or not resonates with you and connects with a new possibility that may awaken a “sleeping giant” to help propel you to the next level and help you gain confidence in yourself .
Trusting in yourself takes strength and courage. When you find and unleash the wisdom within, you will know your worth and live according to your own standards of what truth means to you. Trust in yourself is the undercurrent of confidence.
Self-Esteem’s Greatest Weapon.
Self-love and self-acceptance are the greatest weapons of self-esteem. When you can truly appreciate yourself you will inevitably appreciate others and accept them for who they really are. Each one of us is different and unique and is allowed to live life on our own terms. When you can accept that, you will free yourself of the burden that they “should” be a certain way.
Acceptance is the mark of someone who exhibits self-confidence. Self-esteem is not directly derived from the things that you have accomplished and all of your successes, self-esteem is the ability to value yourself and value the others. Appreciation of others is a direct reflection of a deeper kindness and a deeper appreciation of yourself.
People with adequate self-esteem and a high level of self-efficacy, don’t feel intimidated or inferior towards others and SEE facts more clearly than their counterparts. We view the world through the equivalent way that we view ourselves. If we hold a low opinion of ourselves, we will view the world through the eyes of that perception and if we hold a high opinion of ourselves, we will perceive the world through the eyes of confidence.
Success breeds success, so the term goes. If we hold a low opinion of ourselves, we find it hard to achieve goals and a sense of fulfillment, it is not a characteristic of the wise to hold a low opinion of ourselves, it is quite the contrary.
A virtuous person who has cultivated and practiced the art of self- confidence has achieved small but measurable goals. Remember when you learned to ride a bike or drive a car, you did it enough times that you embedded it into your subconscious mind and you were able to repeat it without even thinking about it. These types of goals are all stepping stones to greater goals. Overcoming your fears like public speaking, asking someone out on a date, making that sales call when you are deathly afraid is the true mark of confidence.
Just as success breeds success, confidence begets confidence and the more you are equipped and prepared to face larger challenges in your life when yo are equipped with the tools to do so. Yes, it can be heart wrenching, fearful and difficult, but the more times you overcome that in yourself, the more you are equipping yourself for future successes.
When we compare ourselves to false ideals and when we have a false sense of perception, we tend to murder ourselves with self-destruction. The most miserable people who are suffering are the ones who try and convince themselves that they are not who they really are. They WANT to be someone else or like someone else. How easily we forget that we are truly one-of-a-kind and no two people are alike but in our aims to be “normal” and “fit in,” we are discarding ourselves and our confidence diminishes. We play small and make small-minded decisions because our viewpoint is marred with false pretenses. (Maltz, 2002).
You will always be disappointed and frustrated when you attempt to live life under a false set of ideals.
When you are truly willing to accept yourself, you will give up all the pretenses and notions that you aren’t meant to be the way you are.
When we really begin to strengthen ourselves, most of us are far more competent, stronger and wiser than we give ourselves credit for. You and I are somebodies. We ALL MATTER. Self-acceptance is really about adjusting that mental image we have of ourselves in a more enlightening way and to stop diminishing ourselves.
Self-acceptance is far easier to digest when we realize these things belong to us but they are not us. You can make a mistake, an error or even fail at something but it doesn’t mean you are a mistake, you are an error or you are a failure. You must stop identifying yourself with your mistakes and the times when you missed the mark, it is ok to miss the mark, and fail, as long as we learn something and gain wisdom from our experience of it.
True self- acceptance means coming to terms as you are now with all of your faults, your weaknesses, and your limitations, but that’s what we all face now isn’t it? But how we forget to measure our strengths, our best assets and our willingness to look outside ourselves in order to become better. Color your life with a myriad of experiences that will harness your individuality and inner strength
Here are Some Easy Tips to Improve Your Confidence.
- Negative chatter is just a part of life but yo can learn to ignore it, we as humans have the unique ability to observe our thoughts but choose not to listen to them, its called meta-cognition. Ignore the gremlins and empower your decision-making muscle to empower yourself.
- Write down your strengths and put them somewhere you can see them everyday.
- Feed your mind with positive news, media, books, audio and videos.
- Appreciate the good in other people.
- Write down your WINS, big, small, all of them and track your progress, if you don’t track it, you will never know how far you have really come. “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Change and improve your own mental picture of yourself so you don’t miss the mark in your own life.
You deserve a happy and confident life and YOU are going to have to choose it for yourself.
Kay, K. (2014). Confidence vs Self-Esteem. [online] Available at: http://theconfidencecode.com/2014/03/confidence-vs-self-esteem/
[Accessed: 7 July, 2016
Maltz, M. (2002). The New Psychocybernetics: How to Use the Power of Self-Image Psychology for Success. Macmillon Audio.
Mind Tools. (2016). Building Self Confidence. [online] Available at: Mindtools.com/selfconf.html
[Accessed: 20 April 2016]
Roberts, E. (2012). The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence. [online] Available at: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2012/05/the-difference-between-self-esteem-and-self-confidence/
[Accessed: 7 July, 2016]
Knox Richardson says
This is truly one of the best articles on this topic I have ever read. It is spot-on. I suggest rereading it. Several times. I am a writer of fiction and personality and character development are critical to the story. I read this for my characterizations but I am applying it to myself.