Some people always seem calm, cool, and self-assured. Others perspire buckets, feel nervous, and are filled with self-doubt. Rest assured, we all face varying levels of self-confidence throughout our lives. And there are many ways to improve our confidence. Let’s start with the basics about what self-confidence is and isn’t.
Self-confidence and self-esteem are not the same. A New York Times piece points out the distinction between the two. Self-confidence is how you feel about your odds of success for doing a particular thing. Self-esteem is more about your belief in your overall worth.
An article by NBC News Health Editor Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, says knowing the difference between the two “can go a long way toward boosting a positive mental attitude.”
Self-confidence is outward facing, the ability to interact successfully with the world around you. It’s built over time; with a defined set of skills and achievements you can rely on.
Self-esteem is inward facing, an emotional and cognitive assessment of your own “worth,” of self-respect and how you value yourself. “I don’t feel good about myself,” is often a phrase used by people struggling with self-esteem.
It’s typically easier to build self-confidence than self-esteem, but the two are intertwined in different ways. For example, many people are very self-confident, but have low self-esteem.
Source: NBC News
Yes. It is entirely possible to have high self-esteem but feel unnerved about delivering a speech in front of 300 people.
How can we elevate our self-confidence?
According to Charlie Houpert, author of Charisma on Command, find ways to get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s how we grow. Here’s a good place to start: When you’re feeling less than confident, try doing something you’re unsure about. Accomplishing something you’re not comfortable with can boost your self-confidence and help you overcome what you fear. It also can lead to real benefits in your life.
“Internally, true self-confidence will lead to more positivity, happiness and resilience,” Houpert says. “Externally, high self-confidence will lead to taking more risks, which directly correlates with reaping more rewards.” Stepping outside your comfort zones, according to Houpert, is the point.
“Confidence is ultimately about being comfortable in a wide variety of situations that would make most people feel uncomfortable,” The New York Times quotes Houpert. “So, if you stretch your comfort zone every day, very quickly you’ll have a large comfort zone and be able to feel more comfortable even when outside of it.”
Not every challenge you give yourself will have a feel-good pay-off. As you get comfortable trying new things, you’ll likely notice your confidence building.
Five ways your actions build self-confidence
Feeling sure of our ability to accomplish what we set out to do is the essence of self-confidence. Try practicing these basic confidence boosters from Forbes.
- Get Things Done. Confidence is built on accomplishment. If you achieve small and big goals, you’re going to feel much better about yourself.
- Do The Right Thing. Most confident people live by a value system and make their decisions based on that value system, even when it’s hard and not necessarily in their best interest, but in the interest of the greater good. Your actions and your decisions define your character.
- Exercise. Besides benefiting your health in general, exercising helps memory retention, improves focus, helps manage stress and prevents depression. This provides a solid foundation on which to build confidence.
- Follow Through. People respect people whose words and actions match. Action gives your words meaning, and it will help you pave a path to accomplishing your goals, strengthening your relationships and feeling proud of who you are.
- Do More of What Makes You Happy. Whatever it is you love, create space for it. You need time to enrich your life and recharge in order to be your best self.