Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem – Any Difference?
There is a difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. If you have self-confidence, you believe in yourself and your ability to do and become more. Your self-esteem speaks to if – and how much – you value yourself and appreciate who you are. The former refers to DOING. The latter refers to BEING.
While it is easy to confuse the two, (and many people do), this article will serve as a guide for you to help you better understand how to identify self-confidence and self-esteem. When you can define what each one is and the different impact they may have, you will better understand what to do to improve in these personal areas.
One thing is certain, however, to succeed and excel in life, you need both. The stronger and more developed they are in you, the more effective you will be and the greater your chances will be of creating the life and lifestyle that you desire.
1. They Are Both Nouns
They are both nouns, (things), which means that they are tangible. As nouns, you should be able to see and feel them. I have often heard people say “When you see it, you will know.” in reference to these 2 important attitudes. That is how I choose to describe them, as attitudes.
Almost as soon as you start interacting with someone, you can get a sense of their self-confidence and self-esteem. They are evident in the way they walk, talk, stand and interact with others.
The value you have for yourself, (your self-esteem), is usually demonstrated in the way you do things and your willingness and approach to what you are doing (self-confidence).
Neither one is present in self-guessing or insecurity. There is a knowing in your ability to push forward and this is easily visible to others. If you are unsure, you waste no time in learning or going to a source that would be able to help you.
Your focus is on getting what you have to do done.
2. The Chicken And The Egg
So, that being said, which one comes first? Self-confidence or self-esteem? This is a question that I am asked very often, along with:
- Does one cause the other to happen?
- If I become better with one, will it also make the other improve?
- Which should I work on first?
- Can you have one without the other?
Technically, I would say that the more self-esteem you have, the better it is for your self-confidence. However, you can be lacking in self-esteem and still be confident about your ability to do and achieve. And, therein lies the disconnect.
One industry where this is evidenced and often exaggerated is in the Arts. It is common to read and hear about great actors, singers and musicians who are brilliant, confident performers for their audiences. Behind the curtains though, there is a different story to be told.
Their low self-esteem plays out in their personal life dramas leading many of them to live lives riddled with addictions and violence.
3. One Hides The Other
So, one of the ways I like to bring self-esteem and self-confidence alive is by using a behavioural model called, Psychodrama. The founder of Psychodrama, Jacob L. Moreno, described it as the “scientific exploration of truth through dramatic method“. It is an active model that uses creativity, spontaneity, group dynamics and role theory to initiate mental emotional and behavioural responses.
The setting for psychodrama and its organisational model, Sociometry, lies in the construct of the stage. There is a backstage that the audience does not see and the front stage where the actions are played out for the audience.
Self-confidence is the curtain for self-esteem.
Have you ever been backstage for a performance? It is one of the craziest places that you will ever experience. People running around, screaming, shouting and looking for needles in haystacks! Trying to measure the quality of the performance from what goes on backstage would be impossible, to say the least.
But, when the curtain opens what the audience experiences is a performance worthy of applause.
4. Criticism Can Hurt Them Both
The “self” in self-esteem and self-confidence means that interactions and experiences with others can have a major impact on both of these especially if the foundations are weak or lacking. If this does not make sense, allow me to explain.
Criticism is one of those abused descriptors. Many people are not aware that when they criticize they are doing so in a vacuum and without consideration for the Receiver’s ability to withstand what is being put forward.
Without a strong sense of self, whether it be confidence or esteem, being hit with faults and judgment and having to function in environments that highlight your weaknesses, failings or inabilities erodes both inner courage and strength. You never know what internal challenges and battles are being managed or contained.
Learning to give feedback constructively and in a supportive way can be a game-changer for someone.
5. They Are Built On Failings
You are not a failURE until you give up failING. No one is perfect and no one gets it right every time or even the first time. Understanding this significant difference is important because self-esteem and self-confidence are built on failings.
Sounds ironic you say? Not when you think about it really.
To become good at something, you have to start somewhere and that somewhere, more often than not is point zero. You start from the point of knowing little or being able to do little of the subject matter.
Did you always know how to ride a bicycle or drive a car? No. You had to practice over and over again until you got the confidence to take your bike or car onto the streets. In the process, you may have fallen off your bike dozens of times.
The more you DO something, the better you become at it, the better you feel about yourself and the more confident you become.
6. You Have The Power To Change Them
Wherever you are on the self-esteem and self-confidence continuum, you have the power to change. There is a saying that I embrace often. It is a reminder that I am in control of my thoughts and feelings and only IF I allow someone the opportunity to negatively impact me, will they have the opportunity to do so.
Today, you may be low on self-esteem and self-confidence but it does not have to stay that way. Although this may be easier said than done, there are things that you can begin to help you find inner strength and courage to change yourself for the better.
One of the most effective techniques to improve your self-esteem and self-confidence is talking to yourself, better known as affirmations. There is truth in “what you say you believe and become”. There is also a lot of truth in Napoleon Hill’s quote:
“Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.”
My Closing Thoughts . . .
Like many, if not most of you, self-esteem and self-confidence did not come early or easily for me. I had to learn how to plant self-esteem and nurture it for it to grow and become strong inside myself. It was as a result of many failings that I made the decision one day to change my life script.
There were not many healthy role models, (people I could learn from and emulate), around me either so I had to reconstruct my personal network. At a time when it seemed that my life had fallen apart, I discovered Psychodrama. Through many days and nights of dramatically confronting what had contributed to my low self-esteem, I started to rebuild.
As I was rebuilding, I started to explore new things and enjoy new experiences like white-water rafting and bungy jumping. Those extreme and bold actions thousands of miles away from my birth land, allowed me to reconstruct myself and discover my inner truths.
Those truths in turn allowed me to find the courage to strengthen my self-esteem, develop firm and healthy self-confidence and live authentically.
You Deserve To Live Your Best Life
Those words have become such a cliché these days. In spite of that, I do think that they remain true and perhaps more relevant than ever. We are consumed by social media that, if we allow it to, will make us question and second guess so many aspects of ourselves.
It becomes easy to compare yourself and your life to others. That may cause inner feelings of inadequacy. Those feelings, if allowed to fester and grow, will weaken your self-esteem and lower your self-confidence.
Starting from the point of truly believing that you deserve to live your best life opens the doors, (and windows), for you to begin a journey of self-discovery which allows you to embrace your power to
Change Your Script.