Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

email me

What is the difference between Self-esteem and Self-confidence?

by Samantha De Bono

Self esteem is the core belief you have about yourself. It's about how much you value yourself and how important you think you are, whether you think you 'count' in the grand scheme of things. Accepting, respecting and believing in yourself is self esteem.

Self confidence is more about what you DO with that self esteem. It means that you believe in your own abilities, for example, you want to change your job – You believe that you can and will, because self confidence is all about feeling self assured. Self confidence comes because you have self esteem, you believe in yourself, so you believe in your abilities, you feel positive, you are able set goals and strive towards them.

So how do we build our self esteem?

Ok, this is a bit more in depth. Self esteem, as I said, is the core belief you have about yourself and this has been built up over time. Most self-esteem problems start with an early experience (which could be as late as teenage years) of either failing at some highly valued task, or being told that you are not measuring up. Many clients I have worked with, have told me stories about their school years where they were repeatedly told, or made to feel, useless – the more useless they felt, the less they were able to achieve and so the cycle continued. Recognising this is valuable and might be helpful for putting the experience into a more realistic perspective.

Unfortunately a vicious cycle means that the more down you feel, the more you beat yourself up, so it's important to stop that in its tracks right now! Listen to what you are saying to yourself. You feel incapable of doing something and so you say "you're so pathetic, this is stupid, everyone else can do it". Now imagine you were saying that out loud to your son or daughter, a learner driver, a colleague, a friend, your next door neighbour – see where I'm going with this? You cannot keep doing this to yourself either.

Change that self-talk: Think how easy it is to make yourself feel bad. Now, if I say, tell yourself every morning how great you are, you will laugh and say "that's not gonna work". BUT, it does! Picture this, you are at work, or in the kitchen, when something goes wrong, what do you say to yourself? I'm guessing it's something like "you idiot, you've ruined it now, what is wrong with you?..." . Now think of someone you know who is cool, calm and collected, whom you consider to have high self esteem. Do you think they would berate themselves like that? Probably not. I'm not saying that if you drop a box of eggs on the floor you whoop, punch the air and say "Wow! You're awesome!" but what I am saying is, stop with the negative speak – instead say something like "it's okay, no problem, anyone can make mistakes, I'll sort it out" and see how much quicker you calm down and feel better about yourself.

Give it a go, what have you got to lose?