What is self-esteem?

As a confidence coach I'm often asked what is self-esteem and how is it different from confidence.

Confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement.

Whereas self-esteem relates to your self-worth and how you value yourself in the world.

Someone with low self-esteem would have an overall negative belief about themselves. They'd tend to focus on their weaker points and blame themselves for any difficulties or mistakes.

If your self-esteem is higher, you generally believe you're okay and recognise your strengths. When there are tough times in your life you can cope with them without feeling a victim or taking all the responsibility.

If you're not sure where you are on the self-esteem scale then look at these types of behaviours and decide which describe you the most, or perhaps you demonstrate both types of behaviour?

High self-esteem behaviours:

  • Have a balanced view of your positives and negatives.
  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
  • Willing to trust others.
  • Independent.
  • Optimistic.
  • Willing to take risks.
  • Compassionate to yourself.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Open-minded to others.
  • Trusting yourself and your intuition.
  • Collaborative.
  • Take responsibility for your actions and not always blaming others.

Low self-esteem behaviours:

  • Focused on your perceived negatives.
  • Self-blame and criticism.
  • Pessimistic.
  • Fear of taking risks.
  • Blaming attitude.
  • Avoid taking responsibility for actions.
  • Fear of confrontation.
  • Perfectionist behaviours.
  • Oversensitive to others comments.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Needing to be right.
  • Dependant on others for decisions.

Your self-esteem can fluctuate with your current experiences in life and most of us are somewhere around the middle of the scale. To work on building a healthier self-esteem I suggest starting by getting a clear picture of your positives and strengths as well as your flaws.


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