The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
The terms self-esteem and self-confidence are often used interchangeably when referring to how you feel about yourself. Although they are very similar, they are two different concepts. It is important to understand their roles when looking to improve your overall sense of self.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall; how much esteem, positive regard or self-love you have. Self-esteem develops from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today.
Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation. I may have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence about situations involving math (this is true).
When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves, which makes you more confident. When you are confident in areas of your life, you begin to increase your overall sense of esteem. You can work on both at the same time.
What Does Low Self-Esteem Look Like?
A friend told me she has low self-esteem; she constantly feels “I’m not good enough.” This concept has developed over her entire life. She has been in a series of unhealthy relationships, is frequently belittled by her boss, and constantly tells herself “I suck, I’m not worth it.” Recognizing she has this negative script, she is now better able to change it.
On the positive side, she is confident about being an amazing chef, a caring friend, and having the ability to be super-organized. She knows and believes this about herself and feels confident in these areas. By focusing on the things she is confident in and working on changing her negative self-talk, she is improving both her self-esteem and self-confidence.
Ideas for Improving Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
If you are having trouble finding areas you are confident in, try these tips.
- Think of qualities others say you excel in. Even if you believe them slightly, this is a step in the right direction.
- Stop the negative chatter. Shut it up! Start to think of contradictions to these statements.
- Would you say it to a friend? If not, stop saying these statements to yourself.
- Make a list of strengths. Think of what you would say about yourself if you were on a job interview.
The more we recognize our challenges with self-confidence and self-esteem, the more aware we become of improvements that can be made. This is when positive changes occur.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
LPC, E. (2012, May 1). The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2012/05/the-difference-between-self-esteem-and-self-confidence
Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC
this help me so much
Self esteem well, I don’t know what that is but I know it’s what I lack. How do I obtain it?!
Thanks for writing. Confidence is the belief in your abilities and actions. You learn confidence through experience. This is also how self-esteem can be rebuilt. When we take time observing areas that we feel confident in we can build self-esteem. It's also okay to have areas that we feel we could improve on. We have some great articles on how to improve self-esteem and I would suggest identifying a few things a day that you feel confident in doing or observing areas you feel you did your best in.
Let me know if this helps.
Take Good Care,
I'm going to highly recommend this blog!
self esteem is how you feel about you..your inner sanctum....the inner child if you like...
self confidence comes through as your presence in, demonstration to the world.
I recently did a six week Self-Esteem course and it has had a major impact on my way of life. As a highly confident person who leads groups/M.C's/ does P.R interviews as part of my daily life, on the outside I appeared to have high self-esteem. But on the inside I hated myself.
In the Self-Esteem course, I shed many tears and really began to recognise that I was NOT a good friend to myself. I was belittling me constantly. I didn't believe I could ever be anything but a "disappointment and failure" (my own fathers words from my childhood).
The changing point came for me in the Self-Esteem group when we were given a list called the Human Bill of Rights. This list CHANGED me. It is a simple list, but sets out on paper all the rights I have as a human being ~ and I have just as much rights as every other human being ~ we are all equal. I am not inferior or worth less than anyone else. And nobody has the right to stop or take any of my human rights away from me. And I still am a holder and beneficiary of those rights, even if I give them away or neglect to exercise them.
My favourite Human Right from the list are: you have the right to make choices; you have the right to say no; you have the right to ask questions of professionals (health, teachers, lawyers, law enforcement, government) and receive correct and truthful answers without feeling inferior, stupid or belittled.
Thanks for your article, Emily, it is really helpful
Self Esteem refers to how you compare yourself with others or with what is expected from from you by others or what you expect from yourself.
Both of these can be dangerous!
It's better to assess where you are, without condemnation. Then set small goals to accomplish, realizing that reaching the goals might take some time. "Baby Steps"
Have a great day!
Through my years I have managed to learn how to choose those selections life presents you with. Most of these choices made have contributed to a healthy self confidence, however my self esteem has dwindled over the years from living in an unhealthy relationship which I recently ended. After so many verbal beatings I finally had to say enough and act on it. Thank you for your articles, I will continue to read and heal and hopefully have equal self esteem and self confidence.
Very well said. Ur words also resonated with me.
And thank you Emily
Self Esteemer: your response resonated with me. Thank you for that passionate piece. All the best.
i am an iranian psychologist. i live in the south of iran. i read your blog and i appreciate it. i work with ld and adhd children. i need to know more about how can i improve their self esteem. do u have any guideline to send to me please?
I use my parents as an excuse that I can't enter a relationship yet. I refrain myself to get close to guys because I convince myself that I'm not old enough to be in a relationship but the truth is, I'm afraid of commitment. I'm afraid that one day the person I love will see something bad about me and leave me. Because I know that there are plenty of girls who are smarter and prettier. I am afraid that one day they will hurt me aswell. I am afraid that if they fall for me, it's just a temporary feeling. I am afraid that they will abuse me and talk bad things about me to other people.
I'm afraid because I come from a broken family. No matter how good I was in school, no one knows how sad I was at home. While people admired me for my performance, nobody knew how much discouragement I felt at home. I don't want to open up to someone because I feel that they don't care at all since they know me as the strong independent girl in class and can handle my problems and I won't open up because I don't want to bother people aswell. They know me as the girl they can depend on and ask for favors and help. They know me as the ever so friendly friend and was the one who always went first to the teacher's faculty and speak. But they don't how I feel when I look at the mirror and see my ugly skin, color, nose, eyebags, chapped lips, scarred legs, ugly feet, oily thin hair and so on and so forth.
I never felt good about myself. Proud! Yes. I am proud. But not good.
I relate to you so much. Thank you for letting out more tears so I can sleep well and then be okay again tomorrow.