About Self Esteem

These definitions about self esteem will help you understand what it is. It's easy to confuse self esteem with self confidence. So knowing the differences will help you understand how to build each of these two important and connected concepts.

Four Definitions About Self Esteem

1. Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. 

2. Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. It is based upon how you view your value as a person, with regard to the work you do, your status, your achievements, purpose in life, your potential for success, your strengths and weaknesses.

 3. Self esteem is appreciating one’s own worth and importance, and having the character to be accountable to one’s self and to act responsibly toward others. (The California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility.) 

 4. “Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think.” (Nathaniel Branden, PhD.)

What About Self Esteem?

1. Self-esteem is the beliefs and emotions we have of ourselves. We may feel competent or incompetent and we all feel degrees of triumph and despair, pride and shame. 

2. Self esteem is the feeling of being happy with our character and abilities. 

3.Self esteem is having a feeling of inner balance and self respect. 

4. Positive self esteem is knowing who we are, of understanding our values of life and living in harmony with ourselves without needing to have the approval of others.

What Self Esteem Is Not


1. Self-confidence is not self esteem. Self confidence comes as a result of self esteem. (See definition of self-confidence below). 

2. When we fake assertiveness, we have pseudo self esteem, the kind we don’t actually feel. 

3. Our self esteem or personal worth is not our achievements. Positive self-esteem makes it easier for us to make achievements.

Three Definitions of Self Confidence

1. Self confidence is the belief that we can achieve and be successful.

2. Self confidence is having a realistic confidence in our own judgment, ability and power. 

3. Self confidence is an attitude and a positive belief that we can take control of our life.

More About Self Esteem and Self Confidence

What is Self-Confidence?

1. Two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem. When we have self esteem we have self confidence that if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we'll succeed. It's this type of confidence that leads us to accept difficult challenges and persist in the face of setbacks.

2. Some people believe that self-confidence can be built with affirmations and positive thinking. This is partly true. But to build self-confidence we need to set and achieve goals and to encourage positive thinking in order to build competence.

Without competence, we can’t have real self-confidence. Instead, we have kind of an arrogant over-confidence.

3. Self confidence is characterized by personal attributes such as assertiveness, optimism, enthusiasm, affection, pride, independence, trust, the ability to handle criticism and emotional maturity.

4. Confidence is learned. It is not inherited. If we lack confidence or have self doubt, it could mean that as children we were criticized, undermined, or suffered a loss. We might have been blamed or blamed ourselves.

5. Our religion, our cultural influences, our gender, social class and parents are factors which influence and contribute to our level of confidence.

The Differences Between Self Esteem and Self Confidence

1. Self esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. It is the value we place on ourselves. Self-confidence is an attitude which tells us that we have good judgment and the ability to be successful.

If we have a positive opinion of ourselves (self esteem), it’s likely that we will also believe we can be successful (self confidence).

2. Self Esteem is the value we place on ourselves. It is the opinion we have of our own self worth. Self esteem is something real. It can't be made up. Self esteem is inside us.

3. Self Confidence is the way we project ourselves to the outside world. Just because someone looks confident doesn't mean they have high self esteem. We can feel inadequate, be capable of masking our feelings of low self worth and still look confident to everyone around us.

Some people are overconfident. This over confidence encourages them to take personal risks that can later get them into trouble.

4. Honest self confidence, real self confidence comes from positive self esteem.

Knowing about self esteem will help you build a sense of your own worth. Self esteem is at the inner level of who we are and how we value ourselves. It's absolutely possible to build self esteem. Check out Self Esteem Activities and Self Esteem Exercises for support.



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