Self-Esteem vs Confidence – Is There a Difference?
Whatever you feel, whatever emotion you are processing at any given moment, your mental state triggers hormonal and chemical releases. When you enjoy high levels of confidence and self-esteem, you naturally boost your resistance to disease and infection. The chemical processes attached to being self-assured and thinking highly of yourself are related to corresponding high levels of mental and physical health and well-being.
These are automatic processes.
Your mind is very selfish. It wants you to feel good. So when you do feel good about yourself, and confident in your actions, your brain rewards those feelings by making your body and your mind happy and healthy. Alternately, when you doubt yourself and lack confidence, even in small, simple endeavors, negative hormones and chemicals are your unfortunate reward.
This negative response leads to high levels of stress and inflammation, which in turn can become the jumping off point for a long list of mental and physical health problems.
While confidence and self-esteem both impact your overall health and well-being in a positive way, they are not the same. They are definitely related in some ways, and entirely different in others. Let’s take a look at each of these positive self-beliefs individually, for a deeper understanding of how they are alike and different.
The way you feel about your abilities in particular situations dictates your level of self-confidence. This can vary from time to time, depending on the situation or set of circumstances you find yourself in.
You may have a high level of confidence in the kitchen. You have been cooking, baking, broiling, boiling, sautéing and frying for years. You have yet to run across a recipe you couldn’t turn into a mouthwatering and delicious experience. Even when presented with something you have never prepared before, you have absolutely no doubt that the finished product you create will be perfect.
That same sky-high level of confidence may disappear entirely if you are asked to speak before a large group about cooking. Even though you have a wealth of information on the subject, the idea of standing in front of a large public audience absolutely leaves you shaking in your shoes. Although you are more than confident about your cooking ability, you are less than confident about your ability to speak in public.
By working at something, you can become better at it. This raises your level of confidence, which in turn boosts your belief in yourself, promoting a healthy level of self-esteem.
Think of self-esteem as self-love. You either hold yourself in high or low self-esteem. While confidence can be defined as how you feel about your abilities to accomplish certain things, self-esteem is how you feel about yourself overall. Just as confidence can build by repeating certain behaviors or tasks, a high or low level of self-esteem usually develops from multiple experiences and circumstances you have encountered in your life.
The situations you have witnessed or personally encountered that have had some type of impact you shape how you view yourself right now. Children who are told they are worthless and will never amount to anything experience low levels of self-esteem. The people they look up to, admire and respect tell them they are not worthy of love and caring, and these recurring life experiences years later create an adult that lacks self-love and self-worth.
The opposite is also true.
When you love yourself, your level of self-esteem improves dramatically. People with high levels of self-esteem are more confident. As your self-esteem grows, your confidence not only lends itself to things you are familiar with and good at accomplishing, but you are confident you can handle unfamiliar situations as well. As long as you love yourself, and own a high level of self-esteem, you are ready to tackle any task or endeavor confidently.
A Wonderful Cycle of Mental Health and Well-Being
Even if you don’t think much of yourself, you can boost your confidence through repetition of a task. You eventually become good at it, and your self-esteem skyrockets. This improved belief in self lends itself towards confidence in taking on familiar, and even unfamiliar, situations, experiences and endeavors. This creates a beautiful, self-perpetuating cycle that effortlessly promotes mental and emotional health and well-being.