Have you ever wondered what the difference between confidence and self esteem is? If you have, look no further as in this post I’ll be talking about self esteem vs self confidence, and what you can do to increase the levels of both these traits that are crucial in living a long, happy life.
Self confidence is mostly behavior-based, and it’s all about knowing what your abilities are and trusting them, while self esteem is more mind-based and it’s about how you perceive yourself. These 2 notions are not always positively correlated. For example, you can be good at something and trust your skills (self confidence) but still perceive yourself as a loser (self esteem).
Let’s explore both these notions and see how you can increase them to become a better version of yourself.
How To Assess Self Confidence
Self confidence is about trusting your abilities and also trusting your own judgment and decisions. People with low self confidence will judge themselves by their actions or what they are incapable of doing. When you experience low self confidence, you will most always be able to see the gaps in yourself.
To assess the confidence (or the lack of it) you have in yourself you can start with checking the statements below. Check all that apply to you (the more you check – but be honest about it – the lower your self-confidence is):
- I do what is expected of me even when it doesn’t necessarily feel right
- I often feel sad and discouraged about my life
- It’s hard for me to handle change
- When something looks hard, I usually don’t even try it
- I rarely set goals for myself
- I rarely find solutions to my problems
- When I receive feedback, I often feel hopeless
- Obstacles are failures for me
- I can’t list five of my qualities right now
- I feel like I don’t have the abilities, resources, and skills to accomplish my goals
- I rarely take a risk because that often means failure for me
The more of these statements you have checked, the more you need to work on your self confidence. And one of the easiest ways to do this is by assessing your level of comfort at accepting compliments from others and correct it.
How To Boost Self Confidence
How do you react when someone gives you a compliment or positive feedback? Most people who struggle with this type of reaction typically suffer from low levels of self confidence. Are you one of those persons who don’t know how to, or don’t feel comfortable when they’re complimented? If so, there’s something you can do about it.
Correcting this is as simple as responding with “Thank You”. Just stop making excuses for once and simply say “thank you” when someone congratulates you! That’s all you need to do. This will improve your relationship with others and with yourself. If you can’t accept compliments from others, how can you expect to recognize your own qualities? (And the opposite is true, too: if you can’t recognize your qualities how do you expect to react properly when someone pays you a compliment? Both of these situations are closely related to how much of a confidence – or lack of it – you have in yourself).
Start by showing a different behavior in your external world and the inner world will positively change over time.
Another way to build confidence is to strengthen your self esteem, which – as I’ve mentioned above – is all about how you perceive yourself. Improve your perception of yourself, and you are less likely to see the gaps in your behaviors.
Let’s take a look now at how you can deal with low self esteem.
Self Esteem Assessment
Simplified, self esteem is how we see ourselves. It is the way we perceive or evaluate our worth and it’s the ultimate belief we place in ourselves. People with high self esteem tend to be more comfortable with their true selves and demonstrate a lot more integrity. When we regard ourselves highly, we respect our true selves.
On the other hand, people with low self esteem will often stop themselves from doing something or from expressing who they are because they fear that they will not be accepted and loved for who they are. Our fear of being judged often leads us to behave in a way that is not aligned with what our heart wants because we want to feel accepted and loved by others. To get over this fear, we have to let go of the need for approval from others slowly.
A good way to improve our self-esteem is by taking the time to accept ourselves first, and then express who we are without feeling like others will judge us. Again, let’s evaluate your level of self worth by looking at the statements listed below and checking all that apply:
- I am comfortable and happy to be myself
- I recognize my qualities and skills
- I have a lot of respect for who I am
- I can be as valuable as any other person
- I enjoy being myself, as opposed to a persona that always tries to please others
- Failure is not something I see in myself. Instead, I see failures as opportunities to better myself
- I feel that I am worthwhile
- I can look at myself in the mirror and feel comfortable and loving toward myself
- I don’t expect everyone to like me and that is OK, I don’t feel the need to change for them
- I’m always open for growth and yet, love and accept myself as I am
- I can be my biggest fan
The more answers you’ve checked, the higher your self esteem is.
How To Increase Your Self Esteem
To increase your self esteem, you can take the following steps:
Appreciating yourself means that you are OK with who you are and enjoy being by yourself. Have the goal of becoming your best friend. Take some time to hang out with yourself once in a while (in your own mind, obviously. Whatever happens to the human being – good or bad – has deep roots into our psyche and if we want to change that we must mentally deal with it first). It will help you build a level of comfort in being by yourself. Add some self-care during those moments; it will help you increase respect for your own being.
Be Proud of Your Accomplishments
We’ve all accomplished something in our lives. It could be as simple as completing elementary school or getting that job we have applied for. Whatever it is that you have accomplished, take a few moments to write it down on a piece of paper, even if all you did was making your bed, or making yourself a sandwich.
When you write all of these things down which – believe it or not, as simple as they are, people still have a hard time doing – you will remind your brain that you are very apt at doing things (because you have already done them), and you will subsequently begin to gain respect for yourself and see life with different eyes.
This method has worked for 100% of the people who have done it, so give it a try!
Recognize Your Skills
Everyone of us is good at something. If it’s hard for you to identify what you’re good at, ask someone around you to help list a few abilities that they have seen in you. It can be hard skills like carpentry, drawing, or cooking, or it could be soft skills like listening, compassion, or empathy. It doesn’t matter what they, or yourself see in you because everyone has something good to offer.
Learn to Love Your Body
Learning to love our bodies is probably one of the most significant accomplishments we can make in our life. Studies show that 40% of men and over 90% of women are unhappy with their bodies. That is almost unreal! Why? Well, think about how many times you have seen someone and wished you had his/her body.
Ok, this might not have happened a lot of times, but I can bet you that most of the time when you spot someone you envy them for their physical appearance than when you spot people who you pity instead of envying. And yet, a good majority of us wish they had a different body despite of the fact that others wish the same about ours. See how this works? This is all the (low) self-esteem’s doing.
Loving our bodies is about self-talk, but also about self-respect. Be your best friend and treat your body the same way you would treat your child or best friend and your self esteem will slowly but surely get a well-deserved boost.
Be Kind, Compassionate, And Supportive
You might be wondering “what does self esteem have to do with being kind and compassionate?”
And I’d agree that, at a first glance, these 2 have nothing in common. However, indirectly, compassion towards ourselves and others will oftentimes lead to better self esteem, and higher self confidence in general.
How, you might ask? Well, humans have been designed to be sociable, and to react positively (to feel rewarded) when they make good deeds. And because of that, helping others instantly rewards us with feelings of accomplishments, which in turn helps us increase the respect we have for ourselves and subsequently boost our self worth because it makes us feel important and valuable, which is exactly what self-esteem thrives on.