a year ago – by Lisa Marlin

The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Confidence — Plus How To Get More of Both

6 min read
What’s the difference between self-esteem and confidence? These two are not exactly the same thing, and knowing the difference will help you to get more of both!
  1. The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Confidence
  2. How to Get More Self-Esteem and Confidence
  3. The Best Way to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem

People tend to use the words self-esteem and confidence interchangeably. However, while the two are related, they are not exactly the same. It’s important to know the difference between self-esteem and confidence in order to develop both.

Just about everyone struggles with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence at some point. In this article, we’ll aim to deepen your understanding of self-esteem vs self-confidence. We’ll also share some essential tips to help you increase both.

The Difference Between Self-Esteem and Confidence

To truly understand the difference between self-esteem and confidence, you need to consider what each of these terms mean. So here’s what the two mean in a nutshell.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem boils down to your opinion of yourself. It revolves around how you feel about yourself as a human being. Self-esteem is whether you think you’re a valuable member of society or not. In simple terms, your self-esteem depends on whether you accept yourself as you are.

Esteem essentially relates to value. So if you place a high value on yourself, you will have high self-esteem. On the other hand, if you think you don’t have much value as a person, you will have low self-esteem.

What is Self-Confidence?

Confidence, on the other hand, relates to the faith we have in our abilities or different spheres in our life. For instance, you may be very confident in your skills as an orator. Or, you may have confidence in your work life and know you’re a good employee.

Confidence in specific aspects of their lives also makes people more willing to face challenges in those areas. It can also increase our drive and desire to take on more responsibilities in that field.

Self-Esteem vs  Self-Confidence: Are They the Same?

In essence, self-esteem relates to you as a person, and confidence relates to your abilities. Therefore, by definition, they are not the same. 

How often do we see celebrities, from movie stars to famous athletes, dealing with their own self-esteem issues? That just goes to show that regardless how good you are at something, you can still have low self-esteem if you don’t fully accept yourself.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to excel at something; working towards any goal is always admirable. 

However, basing your self-esteem on such accomplishments can be problematic. Therefore, it is essential to take proactive steps to cultivate self-love and self-compassion.

How to Get More Self-Esteem and Confidence

Even though there’s a difference between self-esteem and confidence, this doesn’t mean you can’t improve them simultaneously. The mistake that people most often make is that they think focusing on one specific area will enhance their self-esteem.

However, it is essential to focus on overall improvement so both these elements can grow hand in hand. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

1. Use Positive Affirmations in the Right Way

Positive affirmations can have a profound impact on your self-esteem when you use them correctly. Typically, if you suffer from low self-esteem, an affirmation like “I will be successful” will not have an impact. Why? Because it is too different from your actual opinion of yourself.

The right way to use positive affirmations when you lack esteem is to make them realistic and approachable within your current mindset. For instance, say something along the lines of “I will work hard until I succeed”.

2. Work On Accepting Compliments

People with low self-esteem are often the most resistant to praise. If you feel the same way, make it a habit to graciously accept compliments, even if doing so makes you uncomfortable. 

This ‘fake it til you make it’ approach is an important part of building a more positive self-image that is closer to how others see you.

To avoid rejecting compliments as a reflex, put together a set of simple replies. Then practice using them regularly so they become an automatic response. When you reach this stage, you can be sure that your self-esteem is improving.

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

The way you treat your physical and mental health has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. So a healthy self-care routine will automatically boost your confidence. Here are some simple tips you can incorporate to improve your self-esteem and confidence:

●   Diet: The food you eat directly impacts not only your health but also your emotional wellbeing and, in turn, your confidence and self-esteem. By eating a healthy, balanced diet you will be healthier, stronger, and more energetic, which will make you feel good about yourself.

●   Exercise: Studies have shown that physical activity can significantly improve confidence and self-esteem. A healthy and fit physique improves your body image, which makes you more confident in yourself.

●   Meditation: Yes, meditation isn’t merely a way to calm your mind, but it can also increase your confidence. First off, mediating will help you understand and embrace yourself. Simultaneously, it will teach you how to avoid negative self-talk which can be very damaging to your self-esteem.

●   Journaling: Journaling is essentially a creative form of mediation that helps you to build self-esteem and confidence. If you’ve always wanted to establish a journaling routine but aren’t sure where to start, or want to kick your journaling up to the next level, Betterly’s Art of Journaling series can help!

●   Sleep: Healthy sleeping patterns will have you feeling fresh, optimistic, and ready to face the world. However, irregular or insufficient sleep can negatively influence your emotional state and self-esteem.

4. Follow Through on Goals and Promises

Setting goals is easy, but following through on them can be much more challenging. However, if you endeavour to pursue your goals, you will have more respect for yourself when you reach them. 

Even if you fail, you’ll be satisfied that you gave it your best shot. This will also help you cultivate a stronger sense of self-belief and reduce your fear of new challenges.

Apply this to promises you make to others as well. That way, not only will you respect yourself for keeping your word, but others will respect you too. Doing so will have the additional benefit of deepening your relationships as well as increasing your pride in yourself as a reliable person.

5. Track Your Progress

A good practice for achieving your goals is to break them down into bite-size objectives and track your progress through these mini-goals. It helps to make these objectives quantifiable. For example, rather than saying ‘I want to exercise more’, say ‘I will exercise for 30 minutes every day’.

You can then easily track your progress and see if you’re meeting your goal. This makes it so much easier to stick to your goals. At the same time, it will increase your confidence as you witness your progress over time.

The Best Way to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem

Confidence and self-esteem issues are not uncommon and they can crop up at any time in your life. However, both can be addressed with the right approach. Of course, knowing the difference between self-esteem and confidence is critical to improving both.

Before anything else, take some time to identify whether your problems stem from low self-esteem or low confidence. After that, you can set on an appropriate path to improving yourself.

If you want to start your journey to improve your self-esteem, confidence, or both – take a look at our Art of Journaling series and other subscription boxes.

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