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What’s The Difference Between Self-Esteem And Self-Confidence?

How do you define self-esteem, and how is it different from feeling confident of your own abilities?

The words themselves provide clues: do you esteem yourself because of what you can do (i.e., confidence in your abilities) or because of your inherent value as a person?

It’s not so much an issue of self-esteem versus self-confidence, because they’re not at war with each other. But self-confidence is no replacement for self-esteem, though it can remind you of why self-esteem is important.

It can also remind you to be grateful not just for your accomplishments but for your inborn potential and value as a person.

No one is insignificant. And no one can say their worth is greater than someone else’s because they’ve done more or because they’re more “able.” Because while you can build self-confidence by accomplishing things, your self-worth doesn’t depend on what you do.

It depends on who you are — even before you’re capable of doing things. Because you are much more than your abilities.

Why Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence are So Important

It’s important to take pride in a job well done or in the creation of something good. Once you learn how to do something — and to do it well — it makes sense for your confidence in that area to grow.

But self-confidence isn’t enough by itself.

And while self-confidence can make you feel more energetic and unstoppable, studies have revealed a causal link between healthy self-esteem and better brain function. In other words, self-esteem makes your brain better — and that alone contributes to better mental and physical health.

Beautiful woman looking straight at camera, self esteem and confidence

With a healthy degree of self-esteem, you fear failure and rejection less than if your self-esteem is less than it should be.

The truth of who you are demands a proportionate degree of self-esteem; thinking less of yourself than the truth demands (i.e., having a low self-esteem) is literally self-destructive.

If you value yourself as you should, though, you’re more likely to try new things, because your value doesn’t depend on the outcome or on how well you do them.

Related: 9 Tips To Build The Skill Of Reading People

If your self-worth depended on your always doing things — and doing them better and better (i.e. getting closer to “perfect”) — you’d never have the self-esteem that is your birthright.

But when you esteem yourself as you should, not only does your brain function improve, but so does your physical health and longevity. And you’re far more likely to enjoy every day you have and to make the most of it.

What is the Difference between Self-Esteem and Self Confidence?

If you feel better about yourself because of something you did (or because of how well you did it), that’s self-confidence. And if you look at the task ahead and feel certain of your ability to do it well, that’s also self-confidence.

Wondering about the self-esteem meaning for you and your life? Here it is: If you feel good about yourself because you’ve embraced the truth of your inherent value and worthiness as a human being, that’s self-esteem.

Self-confidence is something that can easily be disrupted or sabotaged — by a mistake, by harsh criticism, or by negative self-talk.

Self-esteem can also be eroded, but since it doesn’t depend on what you do or how well you do it, you can rediscover and rebuild it more easily. And once you have, it’s far easier to also rebuild your self-confidence.

Related: Building Self-Esteem: 5 Simple Actions To Embrace Your Own Awesomeness

In other words, the more you accept that you are a worthy person, flaws and all, the better you can determine what you should do to be happy and successful and learn how to do it well.

And the less afraid you are of failure or criticism when you make another attempt at something.

So, if you’re struggling with both right now, you’ll get a better return on your investment if you focus on building healthy self-esteem first. Once you have that foundation, you can work on increasing your self-confidence.

So, now what?

Right now, you may be asking, “So, how exactly do I build healthy self-esteem?”

The good news is there’s plenty you can do. Consider the following options, for starters:

  • Pay yourself three (genuine) compliments every morning.
  • Write the words “I am enough” on your bathroom mirror (Thank you, Marisa Peer).
  • Practice mindful self-care every day.
  • Acknowledge that it's OK to be imperfect and that your worth isn't defined by your flaws.
  • Change your story. Switch out the negative narrative about yourself for a more positive one.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others (and take a break from social media to help with this).
  • Don't allow your circumstances to define you. You aren't your circumstances.

Once you practice these skills and know how to build up your self-esteem, you can help others to build up theirs.

While self-confidence has more to do with what you can do than with who and what you are, it ties into self-esteem because what you do (especially if you make a habit of it) becomes part of who you are.

blond woman posing looking straight at camera, confidence and self esteem

The words you tell yourself every day become part of how you see yourself. So remember to build yourself up with kindness, encouragement, and praise.

Become your own supportive best friend. Tell yourself the things you wish others who love you would say.

When you hear those words every day from your own mouth, it becomes part of you, and it changes how you relate to others, too. And when you find that you are capable of growth, however long it takes, you learn that you’re also worth the effort.

Self-Esteem Vs. Self-Confidence (The Must-Know Differences). Click To Tweet

Don’t forget to show yourself (and others) the compassion that takes this truth into account: Everyone who wants to grow and who values their ability to do so is a work in progress. Celebrate every step, and be as patient with yourself and others as you want others to be with you.

You deserve to know and to experience the truth of who and what you are – and to receive every new discovery with joy. So, let your compassion and your hunger for growth influence everything you do today.

One positive way to support others struggling with these issues (and make yourself feel good) right now is by sharing this post on your favorite social media platform. May your kindness return to you a hundred-fold today!

Did you find any value from learning the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence?

Would you be willing to send out some love to your friends and family? Please share this post on your preferred social media platform.

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  • Nichole | Wildly Alive

    Thank you for this article. The tips you’ve mention are really helpful. And reminding us of how important self love and self esteem are, so thank you for that. People need to know first what self esteem means so that they can help themselves admit and eventually overcome by it.

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