Self confidence is a feeling of trust in your own abilities, qualities and judgment. For example, knowing you can ace an exam or job interview. Related, but slightly different, is self esteem: a belief in your own high intrinsic value. For example, thinking you are loveable despite your human imperfections.
It’s possible to have high self confidence and success in certain areas of life, but low self esteem. In fact, many type A, high-achievers are familiar with this imbalance. This can result in feeling inadequacy and less-than-healthy coping strategies. It can mean you’re highly motivated to work (or date), but primarily to prove you are good enough, rather than to add something to other people.
I’ve personally been surprised that the most successful, beautiful and wealthy people I know often don’t love who they are deep down.
Healthy self confidence and esteem can support productive levels of assertiveness, autonomy and resilience in challenging situations. Research also suggests benefits for our relationships. Low self esteem makes us more likely to put others down in an attempt to feel better about ourselves!
Buoyant self confidence can make the winning difference to the outcome of a client meeting or date. Also to trust yourself to make good decisions under pressure. Studies have shown that high self esteem also positively correlates with reported happiness levels.
Being honest with yourself to recognise any self confidence or self esteem issues is a first step to improve. You can achieve this by speaking to a mental health professional; asking honest feedback from those you love and trust; or journaling and meditating on this. Most of us have some improvements we could make in this area of our lives.
My hope is that with better self esteem, we can learn to treat ourselves better. This can, in turn, improve how we let others treat us; as well as giving us capacity to nurture those around us from a stronger and more empathetic place.
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