Self-confidence and self-esteem: what’s the difference?
If we were to liken self-confidence to something, to give it a form in order to understand it better, it would be water. Let’s think of it…
We may not know every detail of its origin and how water reaches our home, but the absence of it makes our everyday life difficult. Just like water being cut off, a lack of self-confidence has a negative effect on our health and lifestyle.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is often confused with two other terms: self-esteem and self-efficacy – a lesser-known term. However, the science of psychology distinguishes these three terms, giving a different definition to each.
- Self-efficacy:Self-efficacy, as defined by Albert Bandura (a Canadian psychologist), refers to the belief we have about our ability to carry out a specific task. For example, if we believe that we are capable of completing a project, this is a result of high self-efficacy. People with low self-efficacy, if they believe they won’t succeed at something, usually don’t invest much energy in it, thus increasing their likelihood of failure.
- Self confidence: Unlike self-efficacy, self-confidence is the more general view we have of ourselves about how likely we are to achieve a goal based on past experience. For example, as we play the piano, we increase our confidence in our ability to play and thus become better and better. Both self-confidence and self-efficacy are based on experience, with the difference that confidence reflects the larger picture we have of ourselves and not anything specific.
- Self-esteem: Self-esteem on the other hand, which we often confuse with self-confidence, is our belief in our total worth. Statements like “I am a good person” and “I deserve love” are reflections of self-esteem. Improvements in our self-confidence also help to improve and increase our self-esteem!
How are the three terms related?
The truth is that the lines that distinguish the three terms are quite thin, and they are rightfully confused with each other. We may believe that we are capable of learning a new sport, but due to a lack of self-efficacy, we may not believe that we are good when we first start.
This usually results in us judging ourselves harshly and negatively, thus hindering our development. So, all three terms above are interconnected in some way.
Benefits of high self-confidence
High self-confidence leads to opportunities in both personal and professional life. Actually, let’s push ourselves to see the opportunities and take advantage of them. Feeling confident in our abilities, our qualities, and our judgment contributes to our well-being and growth.
When we believe in ourselves, we are more willing to try new things.
We channel our energy in that direction and don’t waste it worrying about whether we’re good enough.
Whether we’re going for a promotion or signing up for a cooking class, the key is to believe in ourselves. This will give us the impetus to step outside of our comfort zone!
For example, if we feel confident about the presentation we are about to give, we will focus on getting the message across to our audience. If, however, we are not confident in our communication skills, we will worry if someone is paying attention to us while we are talking. This will make it difficult for us to concentrate and may cause us to slur our words. Eventually, we will end up with the belief that we are not good at giving presentations.
The example above hides a combination of self-confidence and self-esteem, where instead of working together, one tripped up the other. We can all recognize such examples in our daily lives. And the more similar examples we find, the more we understand the need to improve them.
Self confidence plays an important role in our life because it affects our psychology . It also determines the mechanism of action, i.e., whether or not to act and how. The “how,” in turn, ultimately affects the outcome.
It seems that everything is connected, creating a vicious circle. And as long as we don’t find the right combination, we continue to be negatively affected…
*Photo by Blake Weyland