As life coaches, it’s typical to work on both self-confidence and self-esteem with clients. But it’s also typical for clients to get confused between the two – as they seem to mean the same thing. However, self-confidence and self-esteem are not the same, and usually it takes exercising different aspects of our minds and hearts to gain both.
While this might sound intimidating – don’t let it scare you away. Typically if you’re doing the work to increase one, you’ll naturally be drawn to the work that increases the other. But just to be crystal clear – let’s go over specifics on what will help you increase your self-esteem, and what will help you increase your self-confidence.
Self Confidence Meaning
Self-confidence is about the level of trust you have in your abilities. How much faith do you have in your ability to rebound? Try new things? Complete tasks? Rise to the occasion? Fear and doubt *love* to snack on self-confidence. Both try to convince you that you don’t have what it takes to move forward. Self-confidence processes these messages and says back, “Oh yeah? Watch me.”
This might seem counterintuitive, and that’s okay. Being vulnerable is the practice of being open – ripe for rejection and failure, but also prepped for incredible success.
So what does vulnerability have to do with self-confidence?
The less guarded you are to potential rewards and consequences, the more resilient you will become. A lack of confidence really stems from fear – and all of the “what ifs” that come with it.
But what if you knew that no matter what happened, you’d be able to take care of yourself? You’d be able to bounce back? You’d be able to shake the dirt off and keep moving forward?
But it takes vulnerability to get there. If you know deep down you are still holding yourself back – then you’ll convince yourself that the consequences you’ve experienced aren’t as bad as they could have been. And the doubt and fear will still linger.
So be OPEN. Prove to yourself you can survive no matter what comes your way.
Once you nail down being vulnerable, it’s time to practice.
Again, self-confidence is all about trusting in your own abilities. And to me, practicing is the easiest way to get comfortable with putting yourself out there. The more and more you put your talents to use, the more and more feedback you’ll receive. Some will be constructive feedback (a nice way of saying, “try again”), and some will be reassuring feedback (‘Yes, you did it. Now do it again”).
While perhaps some of us are born with more confidence than others, the important part is to note that confidence can always be gained. And the more you practice, the more confidence you’ll gain over time.
If I didn’t quite make it clear before, allow me to not mince words now: vulnerability can be quite the little bitch.
I hate it. You hate it. We all hate it.
It’s excruciatingly uncomfortable putting yourself out there for all kinds of attacks. And while I regularly put myself out there – it still scares me every time. I get responses in my inboxes on the regular that say “LEAVE ME ALONE” to comments on social media ranging from “this is horrible advice” and “you suck.”
I’m still waiting for people to learn how to unsubscribe themselves, but, baby steps.
So yeah, I promise you, I get it.
But if I weighed every comment from a stranger as valuable as comments from my family, husband, and friends, I’d be in big trouble.
Which is why support is *essential* to build confidence.
In fact, support is the lifeline to self-confidence.
You cannot be the only one in your life building you up. It’s an exhausting job. So instead, you need to surround yourself with positive influences. And if you can’t seem to find any, that is literally what Blush is for. Sure, we call you out, but the majority of the time, we’re building you up. Because whether you believe you need it or not – everyone needs positive support.
Self-esteem can be viewed as how much we value ourselves or deem ourselves to be worthy as human beings. Instead of relying on the faith or trust (self-confidence), we have in ourselves, self-esteem is a bit more existential. But, to simplify it, we can just ask ourselves, “do I like me?”
Having a favorable attitude to yourself is pretty critical to overall happiness, in case you wanted me to state the obvious. So let’s chat about strategies you can use to strengthen your own self-esteem.
Easier said than done, I know.
I’ve got some friends who have an inherently positive internal monologue, and I’m so jealous. Mine is quite the mixed bag. Some days my self-talk is full of “You’ve got this! Go kick ass! You are KILLING it!” – which can quickly be replaced with “You’re lazy, chunky, and getting old.”
So while I am throwing this advice at you, know that I’m also working on it on my own.
Positive thinking is *essential* to high self-esteem. If you are constantly berating yourself about not being likeable, attractive, successful, smart, athletic, kind, clever, or whatever other insult you can think of – how on earth are you going to be able to forge a positive relationship with yourself?
Thoughts matter. Words matter.
So while you may not believe you are the most athletic person ever (*raises hand*), it’s important not to rail on yourself over it. I’ve written plenty about how to get rid of negative thoughts – and plenty of it is based on personal experience.
Instead, you need to focus on having your own back.
I want to point out that I am not suggesting that you lie to yourself. That’s not authentic, and you won’t be able to ward off negative thoughts when you’re just selling yourself bullshit. You’re smarter than that!
Instead, frame it nicely.
So, back to the athletic comment.
I am not athletic.
Never have been, never will be.
But I still exercise because I’m supposed to. Bleck. So instead of getting down on myself about never being high on the leaderboard on Peloton (I swear to GOD there are Olympians using this service) – I celebrate my effort.
I tell myself that I’m amazing because I’m NOT athletic, and this shit is MUCH HARDER for me than it is for others, but HEY – I’m doing it. And isn’t that kind of more amazing rather than someone who exercises who is naturally gifted at it?! Like good on you for doing something you’re INCREDIBLE at?!?!? Must be a nice life.
You get the gist.
So don’t lie to yourself, but find ways to celebrate yourself.
That’s going to be your happy place from here on out when it comes to building self-esteem.
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When else do you get to do that?! Like, ever?!
I would seriously hope that the majority of conversations you’re having are 50/50. You talk, you listen. They talk, they listen. It’s a shared effort. And you learn that you are not more important, nor hopefully less important, than the other person.
But what if you got an hour where you were DEFINITELY the most important person in the conversation. What if you got a full hour to talk about whatever the HELL you wanted, just because it was the most important thing going on.
You’re going to leave feeling important.
And over time, you will start to realize, then understand, then believe, and then KNOW that you ARE important. Always. Your thoughts are important. Your emotions are important. Your beliefs are important.
Again – YOU are important.
Ignoring the other obvious benefits of life coaching and therapy (coping skills, objectives, goals, direction, etc.) – I truly can’t think of a better way to build self-esteem than holding that belief.
To piggy-back on the whole “you need to feel important in order to have self-esteem” thing, let’s dive into self-care.
Here is where I stand on this.
Just like wrangling in my inner monologue and self-talk, self-care isn’t something that comes easy to me. I will always need to work on it. But just like positive self-talk, I am convinced it’s essential to having high self-esteem.
We value things we invest in.
We value the stupid plants we buy and bring home, mostly because we water them every day (or try to). We value shows we watch because we spend an hour watching them weekly. We value things we buy because we worked for the money in order to do so.
When we put money, effort, time, or love into things – we value them.
So what happens if we put zero money, effort, time or love into ourselves?
It’s not a pretty picture.
So one of the *easiest* ways to knock four birds with one stone is to practice regular self-care. If you’re looking for some ideas, I’ve written a separate blog all about it.
Please note that I know not everyone is made of money. Trust me, you don’t want to know how much I was making off Blush in the beginning. So I remember those days and know how painful it can be to put any money whatsoever toward your own happiness when you feel like you don’t even make enough to make ends meet.
But I’m going to push you on this.
Portion off a small amount of your budget and put it towards yourself. Maybe it’s nail polish because you love having pink nails. Maybe it’s bath salts because taking a bath rejuvenates your soul. Maybe it’s money put towards yarn and needles because you know how to knit (can you teach me pls?)
Do not be afraid of putting money into yourself. Prove to yourself that you are worth it by investing in yourself. Your heart and your brain will take note of it, I promise.
And of course, if you’re looking for a safe, positive, enjoyable place to build self-confidence and self-esteem, you’ve found it. Blush offers unlimited chat and video sessions for a small monthly fee. Not to mention our free consultations! Let’s get started and do this together.