The differences between Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence are subtle and they both affect our propensity for success or failure. So let us explore them a bit further.
Esteem or Confidence
What is the difference between the two?
Self esteem is generally determined early on in our lives through guidance we get from our parents, family, teachers and caretakers. Later on in life this may come from our friends, co-workers and acquaintances. In general, self-esteem is built up by what others see in us and how they react to us. Children that have low self-esteem have adults around them that do not show positive reinforcement to the child in general. The child may be put down, or slighted, or blamed for things that are not in their control. Their opinions and actions are not valued or encouraged.
Whereas, children with high self esteem, have supporting adults around them that encourage them to express themselves and value their input.
Obviously as we grow up, we should be able to distinguish the low and high value interactions that we have with others and recognize what is beneficial for us and what is not. Yet frequently we are so dependent on others’ opinion of us especially if we suffer from low self esteem.
Test this with yourself. Is your self-worth dependent on what others say about you. If you surround yourself with people that value you, would that make a difference?
Self confidence, on the other hand, is more of an internal validation for things that a person can do. If you are successful at sinking hoops on a basketball court regularly, you have self-confidence if you join a basketball game with strangers. Self confidence is based on the fact that you have been able to accomplish an act or a task successfully enough times that you don’t have any overwhelming doubt about yourself.
However, developing self confidence needs some self esteem. If self esteem is badly lacking, developing self confidence will be difficult and slow. If there is a good foundation of self esteem, then developing self confidence in different competencies is probable with practise. Having the self esteem allows one to fail enough times to develop the mental or muscle strength to eventually succeed at a particular issue.
On the other hand, if one suddenly loses the ability to do something that he or she was previously very good at due to an unforeseen circumstance in life, like an accident or loss of a loved one, the self confidence may disappear and it may negatively affect the self esteem a person had.
So while the two are related, we can see that differentiating between the two will allow us to better address the issues that affect us internally regarding success and failure.
We will explore other factors and issues related to our success and failure in later posts.