Self-esteem is NOT Self-confidence… So what?!

The bulk of popular psychological concepts (self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth…) are used interchangeably by most of us. Who cares? 

Well, I didn’t really care until I heard a certified international coach with 20+ years’ experience explain to a group of newbie coaches that self-confidence and self-esteem are the same things.

I had goosebumps, I turned on my computer, opened a new browser tab and wrote…

Self-esteem is not self-confidence

A few months later, here we are… Enjoy 👍.

Let’s proceed with a quick FAQ ☺.

Q: What is self-confidence?
A: It is the general self-assurance one may have, although it can be situational at times. We may be confident in a context and lack confidence in another.

Photo by Pixabayfrom Pexels

Q: What is self-worth?
A: it’s the value that we give to ourselves as individuals.

Q: What is self-esteem then?
A: It’s a combination of self-worth and “what we think that others think of us”. While self-worth is purely intrinsic, self-esteem is a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic.

Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash

Q: What is self-image?!
A: It’s somehow the combination of all the above stuff… A blend of social image, self-assessment, and beliefs we hold about ourselves that build a sense of self as Freud initially called it. It answers the question: “Who are we?”

Photo by Pixabayfrom Pexels

Q: What is…
A: Pleeease no more concepts! No more pictures of felines neither!!! 🙏🤗 And let’s play the “what’s wrong game?”.

What’s wrong with…? 🤔

Q: What’s wrong with self-confidence?
A: Self-confidence is a general sense of confidence that puts us in motion in life. Too much can kill us and not enough drives paralysis. But the real problem is that it is comparative. We tend to gauge our self-confidence by comparing ourselves to others… this frequently generates unhealthy competition, jealousy…

Too much self-confidence can kill you!

Q: What’s wrong with self-worth?
A: Not much. As long as you don’t need to diminish others to feel good about yourself, it’s all good!

Q: What’s wrong with self-esteem?
A: You cannot control what others think of you. If your social image is important to you then you are in deep @%#$!. Moreover, when self-esteem is flayed, people usually try to diminish others rather than grow themselves.

Q: What’s wrong with the self-image then?
A: Because the self-image is a sense of self, it combines all of the above advantages and flaws. Compensations kick-in. For example, people with low self-worth fake it through high self-confidence. This is when ego, politics and power games come into play inside companies.

Q: What’s the way out then?
A: Grow your self-worth! It’s the basis for a sound: self-esteem, self-confidence… There is no point in working the latter before the former, unless you are purposefully looking for colateral damages.

If I go vegan would I grow faster as a person? 🤔

Q: How can you grow your self-worth?
A: From the core…

How to grow one’s self-worth from the core?

The best way to develop self-worth is to work on unconditional stuff. Said differently, if your self-worth is based on results, you are doomed! Either they’ll be bad and it will destroy you or you’ll be successful and you’ll quickly turn into an arrogant jerk 😉.

Here are a few questions that will help you know where you stand…

Be as genuine as you can while answering the questions… After all, you don’t need to share the outcome of the exercise with anybody 😉.

  • Do you welcome feedback as a threat or as a treat… Does it threaten your power, your vision of the world…?
  • Do you take things personally most of the time?
  • Do you respect yourself? Integrate all aspects of life, body, and soul…
  • If people go after you, are you able to defend yourself? Do you have that mighty part of you at your disposal so that you never need to use it? Let me illustrate this point; astute martial arts practitioners can break most of us in pieces within seconds but won’t. Why? Because you wouldn’t even want to try how it would feel like. The mere idea that they CAN do it, makes the act totally unnecessary.
  • Would you describe yourself as an assertive person? Not to be confused with egoistic or rigid.
  • Do you suffer from any phobia? In many cases, those reflect a blow to your pride.

OK now, what?

A few hints on how to rebuild self-worth?

There is no secret recipe and the best intervention would be paying a visit to a therapist. But here a few clues:

  • Clarify your purpose in life. Life is tough and a clear purpose gives us some strength to face it choice-fully rather than enduring unwanted circumstances.
  • Respect yourself: 
    . Improve your self-talk
    . Respect your body: get proper nutrition, rest, groom yourself…
    . Respect yourself like you would respect a mighty lion: as C. Jung would advise, don’t underestimate your ability to harm others (and yourself).
    . Work on any phobia/fear you may have. It’s a very rewarding experience.
    . Set boundaries. Don’t let people invade unwillingly your private space.
Respect thyself
  • Believe in yourself. With the help of medical imagery, it has been discovered lately that faith is an emotion. So don’t try to over-rationalize it. Emotions are very tough to prove. There are just self-evident for us. If you want to know exactly why you trust yourself it’s just like trying to explain why you love your spouse… Most can’t.
  • Stop comparing your life to others’. Stop trying to impress others. In fact, you should focus on your circle of control/influence and forget about your circle of concern. The more you worry about things you don’t influence the weaker you will feel (and be).
    From others, you shall seek inspiration. With your own self, you shall compete. — K
  • Stop gauging your value by your latest achievements.
  • Enjoy me-time.
  • Practice gratitude; you sure can find at least one thing to be grateful for. Reality is there are probably hundreds of things you are not trained to see.
  • In any situation seek your deep convictions. Don’t go with the crowd, neither should you go against it. If need be, take assertiveness training.
    We start experiencing true freedom when we break free from rebellion — K
  • Choose your acquaintances based on who you wanna be rather than who you think you are today.
    You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with — Jim Rohn
  • Never stop learning.


We can’t solve properly a problem we don’t understand. The objective of this article was to dissect self-assessment elements to know where to prioritize effort.

The key takeaway is the following:

All components of personality are important because they are complementary.

A sound self-esteem and confidence should be grounded on self-worth.

Enjoy the rest of your life 🤗!

9 thoughts on “Self-esteem is NOT Self-confidence… So what?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s