There are usually some confusion with self-esteem and confidence, especially when it comes to their applications to life. For some people, although these two words are spelt differently, they mean the same thing.
My focus isn’t a debate on their definitions. I think a dictionary could help you with that.
Here, I want to show you how the way you see yourself (self-esteem), and the feelings of trust in your abilities, qualities, and judgement of self (self-confidence) can be better balanced for the benefit of your life.
Like I shared last week, self-esteem is mainly about the opinion you have about yourself. It is how you see yourself, over all. Sometimes, having a low self-esteem isn’t because you do not have abilities, or that you lack any talent; it is more of a cognitive issue. It’s usually deeper than the presence or absence of any of these.
Self-esteem is the total emotional appraisal of your own worth. It is in essence, your estimation of yourself in the light of you, others and the environment. You can read my last post about self-esteem here
Confidence on the other hand is mainly about your abilities. It is based on what you can do, or not do. Ability is the stimuli for confidence.
If you feel you do not have the ability for something, then your confidence in that ability may be low. The more confidence you show at a skill, the greater your chances for success in that skill. This successful turnout also increases your level of confidence, in turn.
Is self-esteem and confidence the same?
You may have the ability to sing, and see yourself as a pretty damn good singer (good self-esteem), but lack the conviction to go out there and face the crowd singing your song (lack of confidence). They are two different things. For one, you have the good opinion about being able to sing. You see yourself as a good singer, but when it is time to actually showcase this ability, you are not sure enough to do it in front of people. This lack of confidence may be due to many factors. You could have a good self-esteem, while you lack the confidence to actually carry out this ability. And vice versa.
Confidence can vary with situations though. You may be confident about singing, but lack same in cooking. I love to express my thoughts in words through writing. I do not think I have perfected this skill yet, but I am confident about my writings. This confidence is what makes me want to write every time, whether through authoring books, keeping notes in my diary, or postings on my social media platforms. I enjoy the inner thrill writing brings to my life. And have made it first in the list of my hobbies.
But I am not a confident singer, although I love good music. I would rather pride myself in my ability to visualize the lyrics of a song while enjoying the melodic beats at the background than open my mouth publicly singing along with the artist. Unless it is with my bathroom audience, of course!
Self-esteem can be likened to the foundational structure of a building, it is what may determine how long the entire design would last. It is either you have it, or you don’t at all. However, with self-confidence, you may falter, depending on the circumstances you find yourself, at particular times.
A healthy self-esteem can help protect your confidence during the tough times.
It may be easier for one to have a good self-confidence than a healthy self-esteem because of how confidence is mostly based on the show of abilities. Confidence is based on whether you trust yourself enough to get the deal done. Confidence can be improved through the sharpening of your skill by practice.
However, self-esteem has a lot more to do with our past, upbringing, family background, and the environment we grew up in, than in our mere physical possessions and achievements; which can help for our confidence.
Self-esteem is deep rooted from within us, and have more to do with how we see ourselves. Something the entire worldly possessions may not really help us with. You may try to quench your thirst for more value of self by indulging in more works, maybe in winning more medals, awards and reward acquisitions. But the more you get these; the worst you even feel after the momentarily euphoria they bring you. This is where some celebrities begin to use drugs and abuse substances in their attempt to fill up that inner void after the excitement of their shows have waned out.
Achievements and possessions could help with your confidence though. But never a replacement of your self-worth. To get that one right, you must through an awareness of self, work it inside out. Your self-esteem will be determined mainly by how much you love yourself; which is also a factor of your acceptance of self.
While we may try to use many external factors such as status, possessions, prizes, and all of those achievements we have to boost our self-confidence, self-esteem on the other hand, cannot be bribed into existence with these same things.
Have you ever wondered why some “successful” people commit suicides, and abuse their beautiful bodies with substances? I did. As a matter of fact, my reflections on such similar acts was part of what awakened my inner thirst for more meaning to life. I used to wonder how someone so loved, could feel hopeless about life to want his own breadth ended? My random thoughts though!
I found out people with good self-esteem may have less chances of hurting themselves, or acting intentionally in ways to damage themselves, or others.
A good self-esteem can help you love life, and develop resilience in overcoming even your most troubled seasons. It is an important trait for a sound emotional survival in an unpredictable world like the one we live in. Thus helping us develop the type of confidence that works from the inside.
Having a healthy esteem of self would not make you disrespect yourself to stoop so low at accepting maltreatment and abuses of yourself from other people. In other words, people who have a good self-esteem treat themselves and other people right.
A geometric progress in one’s self-esteem level can be an optimum boost in their confidence.
You must understand that your self-esteem has more to do with how much you have accepted yourself innately; with all your imperfections, mistakes, and with all your goodness and graciousness than whatever you think you might have achieved here on earth in terms of possessions.
I would that you understand you are not your possessions, neither your accomplishments. Though they matter. But, they do not define your worth; because in the absence of these things, your soul still remains intact. Therefore, you must not allow these things to take ownership of you. You are what you think you are, with, or without any or all of those things you possess. Feeling worthy in nothingness is the summary of a healthy esteem of self.
It will be dangerous to have a confidence that is built on your achievement alone, without a proportionate right belief in your worth by virtue of being a human being, and the value you bring to the world from within. You don’t want to be seen as confident and all well, while being rotten and dying inside like a timed bomb capable of explosion any moment.
What should you do to balance things up?
Love yourself. Embrace your authenticity. Accept who you are, and allow yourself be you. Accept people’s opinions of you, as only an opinion, without a personal interpretation to their meaning. Forgive your past, and move on. Listen to your doubts, and accept your mistakes without any more regrets. See yourself as human, and bound to fail, to fall, and even to make mistakes. Take out time to listen to what your inner soul is saying about your past, the present, and the future. Forgive yourself, and everyone else who might have contributed to whatever trauma you had experienced in the past, and release your heart to move on. Enjoy your presence. Live life. In other words, love yourself.
When you experience a growth that is rooted from the inside worth of who you truly are, it helps make the outward fruits of your possessions gain stability like the house built on a rock which cannot be moved when the storms show up. Because life does happen.
This is how to have a confidence that is intact, and not so dependent entirely on your achievements alone, but more from who you are; with a self-esteem devoid of any colossal fall at the instance of any trouble, because its roots are well structured in the good ground of your soul.
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To your evolving life.