Confidence vs. Esteem: The Difference

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Friday February 5, 2021

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The difference between confidence and esteem may sometimes feel negligible, especially since the two are often used interchangeably. However, self-confidence and self-esteem are actually different concepts, though they are both important in cultivating a healthy self-image.

That said, it is possible to have one without the other — as in, you can be confident without healthy self-esteem, and you can have self-esteem without being confident. Regardless of which you have, or don’t have, knowing the difference is helpful in cultivating both in your life.

Just like any balance, the idea of confidence vs. esteem has a lot of contributing factors, and they are often interconnected. Like any system of emotions and self-worth, self-confidence and esteem are often related to one another. One is no more important than the other, and it takes both to create a healthy balance.

That said, here’s a bit more about the differences between confidence and esteem.

Sense of Value

One of the ways in which self-esteem and self-confidence differ is in how they deal with value. While both deal with a person’s sense of value, they use different metrics to assess and understand that value.

In order to understand this, consider how people define their value, as well as the value of others. While many people define value through external factors such as appearance, money, and success, others recognize that all people have inherent worth and value. Sometimes, this can be the basis for confidence vs. esteem.

While it’s possible to be confident in things like your hair, your clothes, your job or your bank account, those things don’t tend to bring you self-esteem. On the other hand, realizing that you have value simply for being who you are often does bring you self-esteem.

This is not to say that confidence is unhealthy or doesn’t matter — of course it does! Recognizing the ways in which you like yourself is one of the key ways you can build a healthy relationship with your inner and outer being.

Sense of Trust

Another difference between esteem and confidence is the placement of trust in one’s abilities and in themselves. The word “confidence” actually comes from the Latin word “to trust,” so it’s no wonder why confidence is often the feeling that enables people to rise to challenges, believe in themselves and trust in their skills.

While self-esteem can facilitate this too, self-confidence can provide you with a sense of strength and charisma with how you interact with others and the world around you, in addition to how you feel about yourself and your accomplishments.

What Is Esteem?

You’re probably wondering by now — what exactly defines self-esteem?

In short, self-esteem is the internal sense of worth that you carry with you all throughout your life. It isn’t defined by material possessions, outer beauty or even positive traits you like about yourself like kindness or intelligence. Self-esteem is the knowledge that you have value and worth simply by being who you are. It’s all about recognizing your value and creating a healthy relationship with it.

What Is Confidence?

Confidence, on the other hand, is all about liking yourself and feeling good about who you are. While this can come from external factors, it can just as easily be tied to personality traits and aspects of who you are on the inside. Confidence is all about trusting yourself, feeling good about how you exist in the world and being comfortable in your own skin.

Confidence vs. Esteem: Which Do You Need More?

While there is a difference between confidence and self-esteem, that may make it seem like one is better than the other. Although they are different, they interact with each other and work together to create a healthy and balanced system of self-love. Just like they each have their own value to offer in life, they are each important.

That said, it’s much easier to build your confidence from a foundation of self-esteem rather than the other way around. However, life doesn’t always work that way. You can’t always pick and choose whether you have healthy self-confidence or self-esteem to begin with. It’s all about working with what you have and developing from there.

One or the Other?

If you happen to realize you lean heavily on one more than the other, or you’d like to develop one a bit more, it’s never too late. The beauty of self-care and self-love practices is that you can always build upon the foundations you have, whether you’re confident, have high self-esteem or you have a bit of both.

The Difference Between Confidence and Esteem

While self-esteem is more about recognizing your inherent value as a human being and confidence is more about liking who you are and feeling comfortable showing that to the world, both forms of self-love have value and purpose in life. While they have plenty of differences, they can work together to create a healthy balance in everyone.

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