Is it the same as self-esteem?
We’ve already looked at self-esteem and how to improve it. So, now for self-confidence. But — before we go any further, let’s just clear something up………..
Both terms are often used interchangeably when referring to how we feel about ourselves. While they’re very similar, there are many differences too. It’s important to understand both their roles when we’re looking to improve our overall sense of self.
Self-esteem is how we value and see ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs we have about ourselves. It starts to form in childhood, by our experiences with family or friends, and by situations that have shaped how we view ourselves today.
Even if you’re suffering from low self-esteem, you can still be very confident in your skills and certain areas of your life. For example, you might not have high self-confidence in your writing ability but you still “like yourself.” Or you have great confidence in your sporting ability but you still “don’t like yourself.”
As with self-esteem, lots of factors can affect the development of our self-confidence. Parents’ attitudes are crucial to our feelings about ourselves, particularly in the early years. When parents provide acceptance, we receive a solid foundation for good feelings about ourselves.
So, without further ado, let’s explore self-confidence and why it’s important.
What is self-confidence?
An article from Skills you need suggests, “Confidence is not something that can be learned like a set of rules; it’s a state of mind. It comes from feelings of well-being, self-acceptance, and belief in your own ability, skills, and experience. More than that, self-confidence is an attribute that most people would like to possess.
Your degree of confidence, self-confidence, is the trust or faith that you have in yourself and your abilities.
Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities to interact with people around you, deal with challenges, or solve problems. As with self-esteem, self-confidence may be threatened from time to time, and can also vary from situation to situation. For example, you may have high self-confidence in your ability at football but very little in your rugby skills.
Self-confidence is about trusting yourself and your ability to succeed at new challenges, tasks, and opportunities. It comes from knowledge and practice. The more experience you have in any area, the more confident you will become, which further builds your self-confidence.
What happens with self-confidence?
- you believe in yourself, feel good about who you are, what you are, and recognise that you have worth
- self-confidence allows you to have positive yet realistic views of yourself and the situations in which you are involved
- it means you accept and trust yourself, and have a sense of control in your life
- you’ll know your strengths and any weaknesses well, and have a positive view of yourself
- if you have self-confidence, typically you don’t fear challenges, and you’re able to stand up for what you believe
- and you have the courage to admit your limitations
- you’re able to set realistic expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism.
- you’ll be able to present yourself to others differently, and people will have confidence in you, believe in you, and see your potential
- with confidence, you’re more likely to succeed, be it in college/university, in sport, at work, or other activities
- moreover, the way you present yourself can have a profound impact on any new opportunities that might come your way
When we lack of self-confidence
The most important thing to know about low self-confidence is that it’s not your fault, says Psychology Today. Your childhood experiences, genes, culture, and other life circumstances all play a role.
If one or both parents were excessively critical or demanding, or they were overprotective, you might have come to believe that you’re inferior, incapable, or inadequate.
And although we can’t change our past experiences, we can rewire our brain, so to speak. With focus and action, we can make changes to maintain and improve our self-confidence.
More possible causes of low self-confidence
- stressful life events – such as a death of someone close, separation or divorce, being bullied at work, or being physically or verbally abused
- mental illness – like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, depression phase of Bipolar can impact on how you think or feel about yourself, your skills, abilities or knowledge
- chronic illness or physical disability – can affect your behaviours and thus impact on how you feel about yourself, your skills and abilities
- lack of interest or reduction of pleasure in activities – sometimes, due to circumstances, i.e. Covid, you may reduce or stop doing the activities you once enjoyed. After that, you don’t return to these activities and you might forget just how much you benefited from them – you just give up.
- repeated failure or rejection – if you have tried hard to complete your driving test and you keep failing, or you feel rejected by family or friends, you may develop low self-esteem, knocking your confidence
- anger – if you struggle to express your feelings, particularly anger, you could find yourself low in self-confidence as a result of not expressing your anger in a safe and responsible way
- negative thinking – sometimes you start to think negatively due to an event or situation, which can then become a habit and part of your general outlook. You might not even realise you’ve been thinking negatively, or how it’s been impacting on you
Impact of low self-confidence
The impact of low self-confidence varies greatly and can range from only impacting in one specific area, to being very restricting and debilitating. Low self-confidence can result in:
- anxiety, stress, loneliness, and increased likelihood of depression
- communication difficulties; inability to speak clearly or listen to and follow instructions
- shyness to the point it can come across as rude to some i.e. no eye contact, mumbling any greeting, inability to engage with others
- inability to assert yourself i.e. agreeing to tasks or favours when you really want to say “NO”
- social anxiety; where you’ll avoid parties, work events or large gatherings, or leave early
Worse still, these negative consequences reinforce your negative self-image and could lead to lower self-confidence. This, in turn, can lessen your ambition to learn, ability to focus, and affect your ability to reach your full potential. You might become increasingly unproductive or even actively turn to self-destructive behavior.
When we lack confidence, sometimes it’s because we worry what others might think of us. Maybe they’ll laugh at us if we make mistakes. This thinking can stop us from doing things we want or need to do because we believe that the consequences are too painful or embarrassing.
While it’s not always easy to be confident in yourself, particularly if you’re quite self-critical, or if others put you down — do not despair! There are steps that you can take to increase and maintain your self-confidence.
Why self-confidence is important
Most people admire self-confident people, and might even envy them a bit! Self-confident people appear to be at ease with themselves, in their role or their work. They invite trust and inspire confidence in others such as bosses, colleagues, customers, friends, or peers. These are attractive characteristics to have, and I think most of us would like to have them too.
Some other benefits of self-confidence:
- you’ll be more willing to try new things, like signing up for new courses, applying for a new job or promotion and taking up new hobbies
- with confidence, you can influence others more easily, as well as control your own emotions and behaviors more responsibly
- you’ll perform better when you feel confident, whether it’s at work, school or say when you have to give a presentation, you’ll stay calm and focused
- it gives you the ability to thrive in the areas you want to, be able to overcome any obstacles, and know that you can achieve your goals. i.e. as an athlete, a new student or an author
- helps in making better decisions i.e. to walk away from an abusive relationship or how to discipline your children effectively and appropriately
- brings freedom from self-doubt and negative thinking about yourself
- generally happier and more satisfied with your life than people who lack self-confidence
- more willing to take smart risks and more able to move outside your comfort zone i.e. pack in your job to travel for a year or return to studying
- helps to adapt and perform well even under pressure i.e at a new job
- assists in building better professional bonds at work
- you’ll experience less anxiety and less stress, and more fearlessness
- reduced social anxiety, allowing you to connect well with others and you’ll generally feel happier
- more comfortable in social situations and people tend to be attracted to you and your conversation
Your self-confidence will bring you more enthusiasm for life and the future. Also, you’ll transfer your excitement to others through your walk, how you hold yourself, and how you engage. Furthermore, the positive energy you project will be contagious and attractive to others. Just think about how that might feel.
Okay, we’ve covered self-confidence, what it is, the lack of and the impact, together with the benefits and the importance. So, in my next post, we’ll explore some ways to maintain and improve our self-confidence.
Over to you
Do you think you’ve gained anything from this post? I feel confident (😜) that I’ve covered the basics of self-confidence but perhaps I’ve forgotten or missed something important and you want to tell me? I’m happy for you to critique my posts, honestly, and I look forward to your feedback, comments, or questions.
38 thoughts on “Why self-confidence is important?”
I think you cover self-confidence really well, and explain well how it’s different to self esteem. I do think though that high self-confidence leads to high self-esteem so the two terms aren’t independent of each other!
Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated. Yes, of course, I agree, one might lead to improvement in the other. Caz
Thank you for clearing up self-esteem and self-confidence, as I may, or may not have got them slightly confused over the years, as I know the two can come together on a blurred line, when reading other blogs on this topic.
Yes, although they’re similar, you can have one without the other. Glad I was able to help Liz 🙂
You explain things so well, and I really enjoy your posts. You have taught me a thing or two the last couple of months.
This and Self-eteem is an area I am working on within myself, but not only that, I am trying to improve the way talk (being self-critical) so my daughter has a stronger foundation to work from. Learning from me how to have awareness in her own strengths and abilities.
Sorry, I’m not explaining what I am trying to say very well. But, I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and skills so people like me can help ourselves.
Aawww, that’s really lovely to hear Anna 🙂 And sorry, I’ve been calling you Ann 🙁
It’s great reading that you are doing some work on yourself – trust me, the time and effort taken will be the best investment you ever make. And like you said, you can pass that onto your daughter.
I was lucky, I was doing my nurse training when the boys were 13 and 16 and I was able to hand over all the self-help tools to them 😉
Hopefully, you’re keeping a journal of all your learning Ann, repetition and practice help embed the skills and it’s also great to look back on and see how far you’ve come.
Write down your negative self-talk and next to it, write down a more positive statement about yourself. Just remember, we are human and we all make mistakes. Big I, little i.
You’re explanation is fine, I get it. I’m really happy that you find my posts helpful and I look forward to reading more about your journey, how you use your new skills and how you help your daughter. Caz x
Don’t worry, I get called all sorts lol.
I have a folder filled with all sorts of notes, reminders and CBT work sheets. I have printed off your self-esteem posts and added to the folder as well. I have been a bit lapse on keeping a journal in recent weeks, but will certainly make sure I start writing it again.
I will do that with my Self-talk thank you.
That’s great that you’re keeping all your stuff together so you can dip in and out as needed. I call it my toolbox lol. Let us know how you get on with the self-talking exercise – see if you find it useful 🙂 x
My self-confidence really hits rock bottom due to depression. I’m not confident at all. It starts to better with blogging but I’m terribly anxious about other areas in life. The pandemic isn’t helping either!
Aaawww Kacha, I’m really sad to hear you don’t feel confident because you really don’t display that in writing your blog. You’re a fountain of knowledge and you write really well, even though English is not your first language.
I appreciate that you get anxious in various areas in life, me too, but I believe you’ve still come along way since starting your blog. Big hugs, Caz
Thank you so much! I’ve made some changes, that is very true and thank you for bringing this back in the forefront of my mind. 🙂
I’m still comparing too much with how I *used* to be, before it all went down.
It’s scary sometimes to built up, what seems to be, a whole new life.
Yes, comparing with how we used to be is very easy to do and I quite often have to remind myself how far I’ve come since being first mentally unwell and then being physically disabled. It’s like I’ve made it to my destination but I’ve forgotten the journey it took to get there.
We need to look back and take that part of our lives also in mind. It’s sometimes so easy to ‘forget’ about it and to hold ourselves to a standard that is no longer relevant.
I hope one day all the pieces of the puzzle will come together.
Imagine sitting outside with a drink and being content and proud looking back at our journey. Just writing this, I realize we actually can … 🙂
I might even sit outside this weekend and raise a little glass to myself, good thinking Kacha ❤️
Thank you for distinguishing these, I’ve struggled for years to differentiate the two (it still seems impossible sometimes). I definitely think I misunderstood what each term meant – while I in the past I’d say I lack self-esteem, after reading this post I want to understand my lack of self-confidence much more because I think it plays a more pivotal role. Another well-done post 👍
Ah, thank you for your kind words Nathan, glad I was able to help in some small way. My next post looks at ways of maintaining and improving self-confidence and I hope you’ll find something in it useful. Caz
I think we sometimes get hung up on terms, like do I have a good self esteem and do I have good confidence. At least for me, I feel good about myself, not necessarily about life, by about me. And, that’s been a journey!
Yes, I know and particularly when the terms are similar or related. Right now, I feel okay with my self-esteem and self-confidence but who knows what the future holds or what obstacles I might come across.
Yep, you’ve (we’ve) surely been on a roller coaster during your journey.
Yep. I’m still on it… but, I have a few things figure out too!
I just know you’ll get there my friend 🙂
I do the best I can. I’m not sure there’s anywhere to get, other than to keep trying. You can’t fix major depression and you can’t fix schizophrenia. You can, however, keep trying to figure things out.
Yep of course, I realise that was a stupid thing to say Mio, cos really, do any of us ever get ‘there’? All we can do is put one foot in front of the other and see where that takes us. x
This is true. And, you’re fine. My whole aim is to try and overcome what I can. For me. It’s exactly as I wrote today. One hour at a time, sometimes. Be well! 🙂
🙂 Thank you Mio x
I had never stopped to consider the differences between the two terms.
I think self confidence is more visible to others than self esteem. Others tend to be able to notice very early on if they believe another person has high self confidence or not. I imagine it takes more in depth knowledge of a person to be able to assess their level of self esteem.
People can be perceived to have a lot of self confidence but really they do not feel confident. I’m not sure if the same could be said for self esteem.
Yes I would agree with you that self-confidence (real or fake it til you make it) would be more observable; visible to others. And only by knowing someone, would we know about their low self-esteem.
I have a really really negative self talk. Ask me anything about myself and I would reflexly think something negative. I am currently working on it. It has improved a little but keeps falling back to its original place when i don’t follow routine. I wonder if positive self talk would ever become somewhat stable and reflexive in me.
Have you tried keeping a journal and write down one side of the page your negative talk – then on the other side, write down more appropriate positive thoughts. For every one negative comment, next to it, write False and find as many positives as you can to write down.
It’s important that when people ask us about ourselves, that we can say something positive. I know it’s difficult at first, but it does get easier. Like, if someone says “I love your shirt.” just say “Thank you.” and try not to say negative things like “oh, this old thing…..” etc.
If you think about this, you’re putting yourself down, but also it’s like a slap in the face to the commenter. They’ve just said something nice and positive and you’ve knocked them down like a bowling pin with your negative response!
Keep trying – and I’m always happy to help. Caz x
Really great post! I struggled a lot with self confidence and it did lead to other problems like playing a role in worsening my anxiety disorder. Self-confidence is definitely very important- I think gaining back my self-confidence really improved my life.
Thank you Pooja. Yes, I struggled with self-confidence many years ago and it took many years to build it up.
However, it’s dropped a bit since being made medically retired. I just don’t feel useful anymore 🙁
I’m so sorry to hear that and I truly hope you find something that will help you feel useful again.
Thank you Pooja. x
Personally, I find self-confidence is built experience by experience. The first time I did a presentation, I was really nervous about speaking to a group of people. By now, however, I’ve done enough presentations that I expect to be able to handle it well because I’ve managed it so many times in the past. It’s harder to build my self-confidence with situations where I don’t have as much control, like one-on-one conversations, so I struggle more with my self-confidence in those areas.
I agree, experience by experience. I also hated presentations until I became more confident that I knew my stuff lol. When you’re confident with you presentations, skills and knowledge, it’s certainly a lot easier to do.
I went to a presentation skills training course through the NHS and asked for questions at the end. Someone said “Why are you on this course? You’re presentation skills are excellent.” They couldn’t hear or see my heart thudding inside my chest lol. But even that one complement gave me the confidence to carry out presentations thereafter 🙂
This is a great topic, Caz. One aspect I have found interesting over the years is that when you are a leader, you still need to find something to pull everyone through, even though you have that blip in self confidence. There is nothing worse. Some people around you might think or feel that there is something wrong with the boss, but they would never ever think it was due to a lack of self confidence. Each one of those things you listed under low-self confidence are very real. My formula to start to get back on track:
1. Listen to my wife (you have got to where you are because of who you are!). Having that special someone in your life cannot be understated.
2. Take time out during a difficult day and sit somewhere quietly for a while and sip on that cup of tea (so, channel my dad, so to speak).
3. Look at what went wrong and reach a conclusion as to whether it was a failure or not (because all stuff ups aren’t, it’s just perception sometimes).
4. If someone you work with says you are awesome, then accept it (but don’t let that old noggin get too swelled about things).
5. Find ways to redirect certain things until you are able to handle the bigger burden once more (most people understand this if you tell them what’s going on.
Thank you for the link-up, much appreciated 🙂