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Self confidence vs self esteem

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Meriam Webster says that self confidence is: “confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities.” Whereas M-W defines self esteem as: “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self respect.” They are similar it is obvious, and yet they are just dissimilar enough to not be synonymous. I can I have confidence in my abilities, yet lack confidence in my inherent worth, basing my self confidence solely on the proof provided by the success of the projects or relationships which “prove” the strength or righteousness of my “powers and abilities”...But what happens when a project or relationship fails or crumbles? Does my self confidence then crumble as well? Does basing my self worth on such ephemeral and unstable ground make me ripe for low self esteem? Possibly... If I don’t also have a sense of my own worth and respect for my abilities separate from the possible outcomes. A sense of being complete within myself apart from other relationships and projects. I am not saying self esteem such as this is always easy to cultivate, or even that I necessarily know how to build a sense of self esteem. (And of course, there is always the danger of tipping past the point of healthy self esteem into hubris...). I just find it intriguing that we (and I include myself in that “we”) use the terms self confidence and self esteem fairly interchangeably, when really they mean different things. I harp on this occasionally... the importance of language, or rather the accurate use of language. Words are powerful. With a well placed word or two we can boost up or undercut someone else’s self confidence or even their sense of self esteem. For example, last year I posted a picture of myself on the community feed... it got a big response, which was gratifying and made me feel like I was being heard and acknowledged, but there was one negative comment out of over 100 positive comments... guess which one I remember? Yep, the one negative one. Possibly, because it was the only one of its kind, possibly because it was a comment about a physical attribute that I am self conscious about anyways, and maybe because my self confidence was not so strong that I could shrug off an unkind word. Did it mean that I had no self esteem? No, it may have shaken my self confidence for a little while, but I believe my self esteem is as it has been... sometimes healthier, sometimes shakier. It’s hard not to judge oneself and devalue oneself when you spend a large portion of your adult life morbidly obese and being judged and devalued by others, and society as well. I have changed that reality, but sometimes I forget that I changed things. I occasionally think I am still back there in that space. I have to remind myself that I changed. Physically, mentally, emotionally I am a different, healthier person than I used to be. Most of the time it is simpler to find my self esteem now, simply because I can see proof of my self worth... in my determination and dedication... and I have built myself some self respect from the ground up.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • _CYNDY55_
    Great share! Thank you. Great blog!
    23 hours ago
  • KATIE5668
    Well said and excellent clarification of terms. Thank you for that. Indeed a negative thought is like a virus,,it can take over if you do not block it immediately. You are doing a great job..thank you for sharing with us!
    1 day ago
  • BONNIEMARGAY
    YES! It is so human to focus on the one negative thing. We are hardwired with a negativity bias that helps us identify threats quickly enough to respond to them, and they imprint on our memory so we can learn to stay safe.

    My empathic response was to immediately bristle about that one response. I felt protective of you right away, like, "Hey! Who do they think they are!" As if I could protect anyone from the chaos of the internet...

    I love what you are saying about self esteem. If you haven't read it already, you might really enjoy Self Compassion by Kristin Neff. She writes beautifully on how problematic self esteem can be when it is based on accomplishment or comparison. Much better to have self compassion, since it is there in our tough times.
    2 days ago
  • GARDENCHRIS
    emoticon emoticon
    2 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    I love your differentiation between confidence and worth! YOu're spot on in your assessment.

    And yes, sometimes an ill placed negative comment really does "negate" the positive comments for awhile.

    Wonderful blog.
    2 days ago
  • MAMAMAITAI
    emoticon emoticon
    2 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I am happy to read this blog. It takes work to achieve what you have done. I'm glad that is it simpler to find your self esteem now, as that is a hard thing to do for most of us. I don't know why we don't give ourselves the credit we truly deserve, but we don't.

    Have a nice weekend.
    2 days ago
  • MBPP50
    Great blog! I agree that words are very important. I am glad that you have come so far and am very proud of all you’ve done. emoticon
    2 days ago
  • GOULDSGRANITE
    As we grow in our health and well being it helps to remind ourselves, "I am not that person any longer." .

    Very interesting topic for discussion Chandra. I agree each word we say matters. We - me for sure - can always use the reminder to choose wisely before speaking. emoticon emoticon

    Special love to Cooper!
    2 days ago
  • NELLJONES
    Sometimes what we hear is not what is being said. It's good to have an intermediary, a counselor or sponsor or spiritual adviser. That's why we have juries of 12: all of them hear the same evidence, but they all hear something different.
    2 days ago
  • LOF7203
    I'm glad things are changing
    2 days ago
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