How to Differentiate Self-Esteem and Confidence

Both are important, and both need boosted occasionally. But, it shouldn’t have to be difficult!

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Self-esteem and confidence are two things that are often confused with one another, so what are they, and what makes each of them so important? Each is different in several ways, but they also can connect back to one another. Let’s dive into what makes each of them vital and how they can be improved daily.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. This includes your identity, what and who you see yourself as, your feeling of security within yourself, and this encompasses your self-confidence. Self-esteem is often determined by outside factors, such as the way that others treat you, the way you think others feel about you, and situations you are put in, even though these things cannot cause your self-esteem to be better or worse, your mind creates a vision of what you believe to be true, and this is what self-esteem is made up of. 

How to build self-esteem

Begin by challenging yourself to get rid of your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This practice can be beneficial in your life no matter what it is you are trying to accomplish. Shift your mindset to a more positive outlook. This is easier said than done, but once you start doing it, it gets much easier. Next, take a step back and look at the positions you have put yourself in and the things you have experienced. Pinpoint where the trouble spots were and where things could have been better. Now look at your present and future, and decide where those same lessons from your trouble posts can be applied. Try looking at your situation from an outsider’s point of view. This is going to be the best way for you to shift perspective, and to build self-esteem quickly and efficiently. 

woman in a gray sweater sitting on a couch, laughing

Confidence is the belief in oneself and knowing that you have the ability to succeed. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

What is confidence?

Confidence is belief in oneself and the idea that you, as a person, have the ability to succeed. Confidence is the feeling of security within yourself, and knowing that you are good at whatever it is you do. 

There are two separate types of confidence– social confidence, and epistemic confidence. When most people think of confidence, they think of social confidence. This is the way that a person feels when they are in a group and meeting new people. This type of confidence is often correlated with anxiety, and social anxiety. Epistemic confidence is your confidence in what you know, or what you believe to be true. This is sometimes the more difficult type of confidence to understand, yet it is the confidence that is the easiest to maintain.

How to build self-confidence

Contrary to popular belief, confidence is a learned skill that when practiced, can be improved easily. When thinking of building confidence, most people are thinking of social confidence. They want to know how they can decrease their social anxiety in order to be more confident in public– whether that be for the use of public speaking, or just meeting people in general. 

To build self-confidence in social confidence, you just have to get out there and meet people. As easy as that may sound, this is actually the most difficult part. Once you put yourself out there, everything after that is a piece of cake. You have to be willing to talk to people and make friends to be socially confident. If you are not quite at that level yet, you can fake it ‘til you make it. Although some may see this as a cop out, it is definitely not. You have to envision yourself as the person you want to become before you can become them. Getting over that social anxiety, even if it means just keeping those emotions on the inside and processing them later, can make all the difference in creating confidence within yourself. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is important. 

On the other hand, self-confidence in epistemic confidence is much easier to build. You do this by practicing your craft, learning, researching, reading, and becoming the best version of yourself in your ideas that you can be. This will build your confidence in your abilities, and after building the habit, you will not even think about your skill level when you are performing the task. 

woman in an all black outfit and white sweater tied around shoulders, standing in front of a wooden wall

Self-confidence directly affects the way you see yourself, therefore it directly affects your self-esteem. Image courtesy of Unsplash

What is the correlation between self-esteem and self-confidence?

Self-esteem can be negative or positive, whereas self-confidence can only be positive. Your self-confidence directly affects the way you see yourself, therefore it directly affects your self-esteem. Achieving confidence will not improve your self-esteem, and vice versa, so to be good in one category, you ultimately need to be good in both. Self-confidence relies heavily on your skills, therefore a person who has self-confidence will feel more like they have their life in order and under control. Generally, low self-esteem equates to low self-respect, whereas low confidence does not. 

Is one more important than the other?

Confidence and self-esteem are not always a package deal. This means that whichever one is important for one person will ultimately be less important for another person, because everyone is working at a different pace and on their own journeys. Due to this, the question of which one is more important is subjective. This is another spot where you will have to look inward to find the answer, and to figure out which is more important to you personally. 

man in white shirt standing in front of a red wall

Having too much confidence and self-esteem can easily be seen as self-centered and arrogant. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Is there such a thing as too much self-esteem or confidence?

Yes, there is such a thing as having too much self-esteem or self-confidence. You will often hear the terms self-centered, arrogant, or entitled. This can come from someone having a sense of superiority over others, which is just as bad as having no self-esteem or confidence at all. One big thing to remember when working through your confidence journey is to remain humble, no matter what. You can love yourself and be confident without putting others down and making them feel bad in the process. Everyone is on their own journey, so once you feel as though you have found the answers on how to be confident and bring up your self-esteem, there is no reason to make others feel as though they will never find the answers. 

man in black sweatshirt standing in the woods

The first step in this journey is realizing where the change needs to happen, and then acting on it. Image courtesy of Unsplash

The great news is, reading this article and seeking out something to help you build confidence or self-esteem is the first step in getting better. You want better for yourself, and you are taking initiative to change your mindset and your life. That is what is most important. Giving yourself the space to do that without judgment can be difficult, but it is necessary to improve your mental wellbeing.

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