Is there a difference between self esteem and self confidence?

Self confidence and self esteem are linked but they’re not the same thing.  Sometimes the two do get confused. Your self esteem is how much you like yourself, how you see yourself.  What we see when we look in the mirror. Self esteem is somewhat passive and isn’t something others can observe in you.

By comparison, you can see how self confidently  somebody (or even a group such as a sports team) is acting.  Self confidence is more active, and describes our abilities and willingness to interact with the world around us.

Does having great self confidence go hand in hand with having great self esteem? Not necessarily. Someone can appear and act very confidently, but have low self esteem. You can be very self confident in you ability to do things, but be full of self loathing. Celebrities such as Princess Diana and Elton John have all fitted this category at times.

The initial focus of this blog was self confidence. Partly because as an Occupational Therapist rather than Psychologist I focus on “doing” and “function”, activity rather than talk and analysis. For most of us working on and building self confidence, our inner view of ourselves – our self respect – should improve as well.

However, there are times when I will specifically focus on self esteem issues, recognizing that is the direction some people are coming from. There are also different cultural interpretations and usages of the two phrases, so I won’t get too pedantic in separating them.

Christina July 22, 2009 at 7:31 am

I always say I have no confidence in myself,,yet I achieve so much and know that im good in my job, im educated,im an awsome mother,friend and in general a great person,, but im not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror its the physical about me that I don’t like( even though I get a lot off compliments and dates,funny how the mind plays with you)so when I read this I realized my issue isn’t that I have no confidence its my self esteem that’s the issue..thanx

Abundance January 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm

We may become aware of our own capabilities,but we will never possess an unbending self confidence. As you have said, confidence comes from learning: the more we open ourselves to learning, the better we get.

Dartainion July 26, 2012 at 3:00 am

Love the post. And I’d like to add a bit of stuff on that. I agree. Self confidence can be demonstrated in certain situations. More importantly in places or things that you are familiar or comfortable with. It feels like home during that confident state of mind.

On the other hand, self esteem is about self respect. If you have self respect, self esteem you feel good about yourself. And this positive feeling of emotions has a domino effect on your thoughts in positive ways. Unlike confidence, which gives you the assurance in certainty, self esteem gives you assurance even in times of uncertainty because it can be generated any time you desire.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: