While self-esteem is your belief in your value/worth, self-confidence is trust in your judgments and abilities and having control of your life. It can be a general feeling of trust or context dependent.
Both rely on the other (developing confidence can boost self-esteem).
Your natural personality might make you think more positively than others, and vice versa.
Growing up, other peoples’ opinions, trauma, stress and not fulfilling expectations may have caused low self-esteem, which then led to low self-confidence.
Why Should you Care?
Low self-esteem can cause: negativity and self-criticism, physical and mental health disorders, educational problems and
unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Low self-confidence can make you avoid: challenges,.social situations, new experiences, taking risks and expressing opinions/ideas.
Healthy self- confidence and -esteem means a positive outlook, the ability to handle life’s difficulties, more motivation and greater professional and personal success.
How to Develop Confidence/Self-esteem
Despite the past, you can grow and change how you see yourself today and improve confidence in general or a specific area.
Exercise to release endorphins and neurotransmitters that make you feel positive. Eat nutritious food to feel energized, healthier and stronger. Diet and exercise can helps you lose weight and gain muscle to form a positive body image.
Don’t abuse yourself. Practice daily hygiene; treating your body right translates to positive thoughts about your whole self.
Good smells are attractive to ourselves and others; consider cologne/perfume.
Sleep helps with anxiety and depression; lack of sleep can cause negative emotions.
Wear clean clothes and dress for success (e.g. wearing a suit to an interview or work makes you look and feel successful).
Though tastes vary, upbeat music can help you feel energized and positive.
Stand up straight, maintain eye contact and smile when talking to someone; this will make you appear friendly and outgoing.
When you notice negative thoughts, write them down and brainstorm ways to prove them wrong. For example, if you think you’re unqualified for a job, note your achievements at your current job or school. Recall positive comments from others and write down further good qualities about yourself. Look at these words frequently or when feeling down.
Positive self-talk also helps. Think “I can do it” or “I’ll give my best” instead of “I can’t do this.”
Talk out loud in second person perspective; using the word “you” sounds like you’re getting encouragement from others.
When facing setbacks, foster a gentle attitude towards yourself. Instead of “I’m a failure,” think “Next time will be better” or “Mistakes will help me grow.”
Doing activities you’re good at boosts self-confidence and mood. Recognize your strengths and practice them regularly to become even better.
Do research and set realistic goals. Achieve them to destroy self-doubt.
Nervousness/anxiety is normal when trying new things; start small and overcome self-doubt.
Don’t put off tackling what scares you. The more you expose yourself to your fears, the more comfortable you’ll get and learn from any mistakes.
Making comparisons to others might make you jealous and self-doubtful. Stop negative thoughts and recall your own strengths.
Surround yourself with people that make you feel good and accepted and offer sound advice. Avoid the opposite or talk out your issues with them.
Watch those who act assertively and copy their mannerisms. Being assertive means respecting others’ opinions and expecting them to respect yours.
If certain activities make you feel worse, don’t do them. Set boundaries (physical, emotional and social) to feel in control and safe.
Meditation helps you relax and know your inner self. It helps you recognize negative thoughts and understand “your “thoughts aren’t you.” Disconnect from them, focus on the present and take action.
Keep a “gratitude journal” and write down everything you’re thankful for. Refer to it when things don’t go your way.
Seek therapy, counselling or a life coach to get you started on your journey. A therapist can help you work through past traumas.