Courtesy of caecilialyra

In my counselling work, I have spoken to clients who have achieved a lot in their lives yet believe they are not worthy or hold little value to who they are as a person. In spite of their successes, they continue to feel they don’t deserve any little happiness they can get. They don’t believe in being of value and believe that no-one would miss them if they weren’t around. They hold a continual mask of self-confidence yet they feel unworthy and empty; as if something is missing in their life.

You all have different roles/experiences in life that determine how you feel about yourself and how you feel about successes and achievements. This determines your self-confidence and self-esteem.

So what is the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence?

According to Psychiatrist, Dr. Neel Burton (Psychology Today, 2018) self-esteem is about how you feel about yourself or a personal judgement of your own worth. How you feel about yourself determines how you think, feel, and act towards yourself, others, and to the world. If you have a healthy self-esteem, you don’t need to build yourself up with achievements and successes like wealth, status, fame, qualifications etc. Moreover, a healthy self-esteem ensures that you won’t resort to alcohol, substances, or sex as a coping strategy under stress. Instead, you treat yourself well and look after your health in all aspects.

Burton believes that having a healthy self-esteem is about resilience. This means that you can bounce back from disappointments which don’t damage you. You’re open to personal growth and meaningful relationships. You adapt to risk, have optimism, accept situations, and forgive yourself and others.

Burton further stated that self-confidence is about trusting yourself, and specifically, in your ability or natural talent to participate successfully with the world. If you’re self-confident, you’re open to new challenges, grasp opportunities, manage difficult situations, and take responsibility when situations don’t occur as expected.

Self-confidence can lead to achievement but achievements can also lead to self-confidence. You can also be confident in one area such as dancing but lack self-confidence in another activity such as public speaking.

You might be self-confident but have very low self-esteem. For instance, celebrities can perform easily and confidently in front of a crowd of thousands of people but then hurt or kill themselves using drugs or alcohol. They feel inadequate and have an emptiness inside themselves.

A show of self-confidence can be a mask for those with low self-esteem as they view themselves of little value or of little worth.

You have different roles in life. You might be confident in some roles but not in others. My roles include being a mother, wife, writer, blogger, counsellor, coach, daughter, sister, cousin, loyal friend, Government employee, and so on.

So how confident are you in your roles? Do you feel confident in many aspects of your life, but have low self-esteem? Or do you have a healthy self-esteem?

It might be time to focus on yourself before others.

Please leave a comment about how you struggle in life, and the kind of help you feel you need. It’s great to hear personal stories.