People often talk about having low self-esteem or low self-confidence as if these were ‘things’ or aberrant mental conditions that need expert help or treatment.
They are not. And, though linked, the two are not exactly the same.
What’s more, this way of thinking dis-empowers us.
Self-esteem or self-confidence?
They are not the same. The difference is important to therapists but, in everyday life, most of us use the terms loosely and interchangeably and are more interested changing our feelings than in labelling them.
That said, you could decide to keep things simple and use these as working descriptions:
Self-esteem is how I evaluate, or estimate, myself – especially by comparing myself with others. If I think other people are better or worthier or superior to me I’ll probably that I have low self-esteem.
Self-confidence is my belief in my ability, or inability, to do things or handle situations.
And these are useful working descriptions of self-esteem and self-confidence for people who want to change how the feel about themselves – by themselves.
If I believe I can do something I have confidence in this area. If I believe I can’t do it, I have low or no self-confidence.
The 12-month old child who is learning to walk doesn’t have a self confidence issue. She is determined to do it. She has no doubts – ‘no doubts’ – and this no-doubt way of thinking is her (and everyone’s) natural state.
But somewhere along the way between 12-months and 12-years we learn to have doubts. We begin to think ‘I can’t’ rather than ‘I will’. And as this style of thinking takes over and becomes a habit we think of ourselves as ‘having’ low self-confidence.
This week’s Pegasus NLP Newsletter is the first of a two-part practical action plan for replacing the Low Self-Confidence Habit with a more positive approach.