What’s the difference between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence?

What’s the difference between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence?

So, what is the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence? Are you as confused as I was?

I’ll try to simplify it for you in the next few minutes 🙂

Before we get into what’s different between self-esteem and self-confidence, we should maybe first define the two things. What do you think?

What is self-esteem?

You can think about your self-esteem as the ‘big-picture’ version of you: the way you see yourself on the inside.

If your self-esteem is on the low side, it’s like you’re wearing these flaw-magnifying glasses, that only let you notice your faults and slip-ups. 

Noticing flaws in self-esteem and self-confidenceSo, you’re walking around with these glasses on, and everything good about you gets blurred out, while every little mistake or imperfection is highlighted and magnified.

It’s like having a spotlight on all your not-so-great moments and completely ignoring the awesome stuff.

When you have low self-esteem, you might feel like you’re just not good enough. Almost like there’s a tape playing in your head telling you that you’re unworthy or not lovable.

This inner critic becomes your constant companion.

You know how sometimes someone can pay you a compliment, like, “Hey, great job!” or “You look nice today” and you just brush it off, or think they’re just being polite? That’s a classic low self-esteem move.

It’s like trying to enjoy a beautiful painting, but you can only see the tiny smudge in the corner. So, when your self-esteem is low, it’s tough to see and believe the good stuff about yourself, and you often get caught up in a loop of self-doubt and negative self-talk.


What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is all about believing in what you’re capable of. Imagine it as the trust you have in yourself to tackle problems successfully.

It’s like having a sturdy foundation for a house – if the foundation is strong, you feel secure and steady. You’re ready to face whatever comes your way.

Now, picture someone with low self-confidence. For them, it’s like having a foundation that’s built on sand.

They’re constantly second-guessing themselves, wondering if they can really do it. And because of that, they often feel nervous about trying anything new, or taking any risks.

Someone with a low self-confidence will avoid stepping out of their comfort zone, because they fear they’ll fail or mess up somewhere.

Think about it like this: if you’re learning to ride a bike and you believe you can do it, you’re more likely to hop on and just go for it, even if you wobble at first.

Riding a fake bicycleBut if you’re convinced you can’t balance, you’ll maybe never even try.

In the real world, this means missing out on opportunities, or not pushing yourself to grow.

So, having self-confidence is like having that trust in your balance on the bike, letting you ride smoothly through life.


Comparing the two things

Okay, so now you’ve got an idea of what self-esteem and self-confidence are, let’s get into comparing them.

Low self-esteem is like a neglected garden; past experiences sow seeds of doubt, these beliefs shape how you see yourself. if you don’t nurture your inner garden, it struggles to thrive.

To continue with the gardening analogy, low self-confidence, on the other hand, is more like having rusty tools in that garden. You can still use them, but they’re not really up to the task, leaving you frustrated.

It stems from doubting your skills and abilities. Maybe you’ve tripped up in a few presentations, or struggled with certain tasks, and now you’re unsure about your capabilities in other things.

Both issues can hold you back, but you need different strategies to tackle them. For low self-esteem, it’s about nurturing that inner garden—maybe through therapy, self-reflection, or positive affirmations. For low self-confidence, it’s about sharpening your tools—practice, learning new skills, and gradually taking on bigger challenges.

Essentially, self-esteem is your inner critic, while self-confidence is your outward performance.

Low self-esteem and self-confidence can both seriously affect your overall happiness and well-being, but tackling them requires different approaches.


How do I build my self-esteem and self-confidence?

Boosting low self-esteem often means taking a good look at how you view yourself and making small incremental changes.

It’s like clearing out a cluttered attic; you need to sort through old, negative beliefs and replace them with self-acceptance and love. This might involve practices like positive affirmations, counseling, or journaling.

On the flip side, building self-confidence is more about action. It’s like leveling up in a video game by practicing new skills, setting achievable goals, and celebrating small wins.

If you’re shaky about public speaking, for example, start with a small group, get some feedback, and gradually take on bigger audiences.

And hey, it’s totally okay to struggle with these things. We all do at some point.

Reaching out to friends, family, or a professional can make a world of difference. You deserve to feel good about yourself and to believe in what you can achieve.

So, grab a watering can for that inner garden, or a whetstone for those tools—whatever you need to start building your self-esteem and self-confidence.

You got this!


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