People are always talking about self-confidence and self-esteem – what with “you’re extremely self-confident” or “you have a high/low self esteem”. But some questions many still ask are…what is self-esteem? What is self-confidence? Are they the same thing, or are they different? What does having a high or low self-esteem mean? Most importantly, if you have no self-confidence and a low self-esteem, how can you raise them?
Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. Having a high self-esteem means you have a high opinion of yourself, while having a low self-esteem means just the opposite. However, having a high self-esteem can be dangerous without having self-confidence. Ann Bernard, president and founder of The Loop of Confidence, a consulting company that helps people to raise their self-confidence in work and at home, says, “It’s important to have self-esteem but extremely dangerous to have self-esteem that hinders your growth and potential” (from Benefit of Self-Confidence, The Pitfall of Self-Esteem). Someone with a high self-esteem “perceives themselves as being smart, talented, well adjusted, and overall good to go. It’s very likely that a person with high self-esteem doesn’t want to rock the boat. Meaning, they don’t want to find out they might not be smart, talented or whatever else it might be as what they thought they were” (from Benefit of Self-Confidence, The Pitfall of Self-Esteem).
Self-confidence is an attitude. It allows individuals to have positive views of themselves and situations they are in, yet still keep those views realistic. It also allows individuals to believe they are capable to achieve anything they want in life. “Self-confidence gives you the freedom to be yourself, to not care what other people think, say and do. It gives you a voice to stand up for what you believe in and the courage to open your mouth and take actions when necessary. Self-confidence allows you to compromise but not be a doormat,” Bernard writes in her article, “Self Confidence To Be Yourself”
Increasing your self-confidence doesn’t happen over-night – it’s a life-long process that anyone and everyone can benefit from. One way to begin increasing your self-confidence is to stop comparing yourself to others and also to stop listening to what other people think about you and be the person you want to be. There’s no reason to pretend to be someone you’re not to be suitable to what others want. You can also set some realistic goals for yourself – ones you know you can achieve; not an easy one you’ve already completed and not an impossible one you never will. If you fail, remain unfazed. Get right back up on that horse and try, try again!
Once you have self-confidence, self-esteem comes naturally. You understand yourself, your talents, and skills, and you won’t let anyone put you down or tell you differently. By doing so, you are able to make realistic goals you can achieve that will make your life even better.