Self confidence vs. self esteem: understanding your current mindset
It’s important to understand the difference between self confidence and self esteem, if you want to improve either. Both self confidence and self esteem relate to how we perceive ourselves, or our mindset about ourselves. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Self confidence is how we perceive our capabilities, such as our ability to perform a task, communicate with others, or reach a goal. Almost everyone struggles with self confidence issues at some point in life. If we have high self confidence we think “You can do it! Piece of cake!” Self esteem is how we perceive our overall value, or how we think of our self worth. If we have high self esteem, we think “You deserve it! You are worth it!”
Low self confidence is when we think we lack ability to succeed at a task or in some situation. Low self confidence and insecurity are synonyms in this sense. Low self esteem is a negative belief about who we are as a person: the feeling that we lack value or inherent worth. Low self esteem can be especially damaging to almost every part of our life. It can trick us into thinking we don’t deserve a great life, and keep us from reaching our highest potential.
The first step towards improving either self confidence or self esteem is understanding your mindset. On a spectrum of low to high, where do rank yourself? Note that the two don’t always match up. For instance, the perfectionist mindset often combines high self-confidence (“I know I excel in both academics and sports”), with low self esteem (“I will never be good enough”). The opposite combination is also possible. Someone can have high self esteem (“I’m smart, funny, and a good person – I know I’m a great catch”), but low self confidence (“I have no confidence when it comes to actually asking someone out”). These are highly oversimplified examples, but many of us can relate to one of the two.
Your coach can help you identify your personal beliefs and how they relate. Without this clarity, people often end up setting confusing or unfocused goals. that fail to improve either self confidence or self esteem. Once you’ve identified your current mindset, the next step involves digging deeper to understand how to change it.
Get to the root cause of your struggle
Figuring out the underlying cause(s) of low self confidence or self esteem can be extremely difficult because these feelings often compound each other, and build on themselves over time. For instance, having low self confidence in our ability to make friends may lead us to avoid social situations, which makes us less likely to develop new friendships, which reinforces our low confidence in our ability to make friends.
We often unconsciously fall into these patterns and allow them to repeat for years. The right coach can help you first identify your patterns, and then uncover how they may have reinforced your feelings of low self confidence or self esteem over time. Sometimes these feelings can even be traced back to a precipitating event or time in our childhood, something that at an early age shifted our perception of our ability or inherent worth. This process of self examination and discovery can be tough but life-changing, and your coach will be there to support you all along the way.
Often we reinforce the same patterns for so long that they become second nature and seem an unchangeable part of us. Your coach can help you challenge the notion that these patterns are a part of who you are, and think of them as opportunities to make a new choice or take a different action. Together with your coach you can create an action plan for the next time you notice yourself about to fall into an old pattern. Each time you notice the old pattern, you will have a new opportunity to respond, and grow more confident in your ability to break the pattern in the future.
The beauty of this method is that it can be applied across many areas of life, whether personal, professional, relational or financial. Just knowing that you are going in the right direction will give you greater confidence, and thereby increase your ability to create the change you want.
As Henry Ford said “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” But shifting your belief doesn’t have to happen overnight. Sometimes the smallest incremental changes can make the greatest impact.
Give it a try
You can start your LiveCoach free trial today and interact with coaches for free for 7 days, to find a coach that can help you create the change you want. If you don’t know what you want, a good coach can help you figure that out too. You can check out this post that talks about practices you can do to envision the future that will make you happy and fulfilled.
As always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have.
The LiveCoach team