How to Gain Self Confidence and Build Self Esteem
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Although the terms Self Confidence and Self Esteem are often used interchangeably, they actually describe two quite different concepts.
A dictionary defines...
- Self Confidence (and its synonym Self Assurance): a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment.
- Self Esteem (and its synonyms Self Worth, Self Respect, Self Love, and Self Regard): a healthy belief in oneself and respect for one's worth as a person.
Thus Self Confidence is about one's abilities, while Self Esteem is about one's sense of worth as a person. Let's look at what this means through an example...
When you go for a job interview, self confidence is the quality that causes you to believe that the interviewer will find you qualified, and offer you a job. Self esteem is the quality that causes you to believe that you are a valuable person whose life is important -- regardless of the opinion of the interviewer and of whether you are offered the job.
Self confidence and self esteem overlap in that both qualities will tend to get you to apply for the job, and to show up smiling and well prepared for the interview.
If you get offered the job, both qualities will tend to continue to support a positive attitude and positive actions in your life. However, if your job application is declined, your self confidence is more likely to be undermined than your self esteem.
Self confidence depends upon frequent success for reinforcement. If you apply for ten jobs and are turned down ten times, your self confidence is likely to be greatly diminished -- or perhaps shattered. To gain self confidence again, you would need to make some external change. For example, you might apply for a different kind of job, or search in a different city. If you inflate your self confidence solely through internal means - such as repeating, "I will get this next job. I will get this next job." - you will have created a false self confidence, and are likely to be disappointed by job interview number eleven.
Self esteem, in contrast, is solely about your internal state, and does not require external reinforcement. A strong sense of self worth (self esteem) could easily survive a hundred job application rejections. With a belief in your self worth, you might continue to show up smiling and well prepared for job interviews, or you might start your own business, or you might move in with a friend and help with the housework. In any case, you would continue to have a positive attitude, value yourself, and welcome the world with a smile.
How to Gain Self Confidence
Those who believe they can do something
and those who believe they can't
are both right.
- Henry Ford
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- Winston Churchill
- Choose Your Battles: Match your talents with your goals. If you have a degree in nursing, apply for jobs in nursing. Applying for a job either as a surgeon or as a floor sweeper will end up harming your self confidence.
- Build on Success: Create small successes, then build upon those successes to gain self confidence, and move on to larger accomplishments and successes.
- Be Objective: Knowing your limitations is not an obstacle to self confidence. Rather, having a realistic assessment of what you can't do, as well as what you can do, provides a sound basis for self confidence.
- Expect Some Failures: Babe Ruth set records for strikeouts as well as for home runs. Keep a long term perspective, and avoid reacting emotionally to failures -- even a string of failures.
- Be Persistent: As long as you have chosen your battles wisely and you know objectively that your abilities are well matched to the tasks you have set for yourself, have determination and patience as you work toward success.
- Celebrate Every Victory: Whenever you have a success - even a small success or a partial success - celebrate that success. Celebrating success creates a mindset for further success.
How to Build Self Esteem
Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
- Judy Garland
He who knows others is wise.
He who knows himself is enlightened.
- Lao Tzu
- Trust Your Own Value System: You can't please everyone, and you will make yourself miserable if you try. Define your own life purpose. Establish your own metrics for measuring your progress along your life path. Trust yourself, trust your values, and trust the actions you take in support of those values.
- Ignore Criticism: Other people will often criticize you. Their criticism doesn't make you a failure in any way - it merely speaks to one of two things: either the other person's sincere difference of opinion, or their self-serving attempt at manipulation.
- Associate Mostly with Positive People: While you will always encounter some criticism, it will be far easier to build your self esteem if you choose to associate mostly with positive people who respect you and support your life purpose and goals.
- Don't Compare Your Life to Any Other Life: Your life is neither better nor worse than anyone else's life -- it is simply your own life, to do with whatever you choose. As the old saying goes, "Comparisons are odious." It is fatal to one's self esteem to view one's life as inferior to someone else's life. Les obviously, it is also damaging to self esteem in the long run to compare your life with the lives of less fortunate people. While it may have the short term benefit of encouraging a sense of gratitude for the blessings of your life, such comparison can degenerate into a lower regard for the dignity of all lives and eventually a lower esteem for your own life.
- Answer to a Higher Authority: Although it is not necessary, believing in a higher power that is compatible with your value system makes it easier to hold firm to those values in the face of the criticism and opinions of others.
- Renew Your Self Esteem Daily: Establish daily practices to support and build your self esteem. Consider beginning a daily practice of meditation, yoga, Qigong, positive affirmations, or inspirational reading.
How Self Confidence and Self Esteem Reinforce Each Other
Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Self esteem and self confidence work best together. When you believe in your inherent value, it becomes easier to gain a belief in your ability to succeed at real world tasks. And when you believe in your abilities, it becomes easier to value your whole self.
By building both your self esteem and your self confidence, you can live joyfully and productively - regardless of circumstances.
Thank you for reading How to Gain Self Confidence - How to Build Self Esteem.
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