Self-esteem vs. Self-confidence, and why you need both
As a writer and an educated woman, I’ve always known that these two things were unique and separate. But for some reason, it's evaded me, and I've tended to use them interchangeably when discussing confidence.
But self-esteem and self-confidence are not interchangeable and to begin to grow within yourself and into a stronger person you have to understand what each of these is and what they mean to you.
Self-esteem comes from within and helps define you as a person. Whether we like it or not, this is defined by our childhood experiences and throughout life. And no matter how much we work out, study and excel, if this is piece of our person off-kilter, it will show.
Self-esteem is where I falter. As much as I’d love to say I have everything I need to conquer the world at all times, internal me doesn't always believe it because I spent seven years of my life being told I would never be good enough and never be anything in this world. (You can read more about that here.)
This is where the growth happens. I spend most of my time doing spiritual work and working with my therapist on my inner-self because quite honestly if you aren’t good inside no amount of make-up and no crown or sash is going to make you pretty on the outside.
Self-confidence, on the other hand, is your belief in your abilities. A lot of people struggle with this part as well, but you can train self-confidence. You can practice and refine your skill and go out and do your technique (whatever it is) until you have the inner peace to do it at a larger scale.
Case in point: pageantry. If you want to be an excellent competitor at a pageant, you can hire the best coaches (and team) and learn how to walk and interview to help you to be successful at your next pageant. As long as you practice and put your heart into it, you can train the nerves out of your walk and talk. You can have the confidence you need to succeed!
Where does that not work out? Well, when your self-esteem and self-confidence is out of whack that they counteract. When you practice to the point that your skills are on point, but when you go to perform and your self-esteem sabotages your performance. Because, obviously, YOU could NOT be good enough to do the things that you did just yesterday in practice… (speaking from experience!)
This exact thing happened to me at nationals this year. I actually told my coach that I thought I had an execution problem. Lol. I don’t have an execution problem. I had a ME problem! And the first thing I said to my therapist, when I sat back down after nationals was I know how to do these things yet on some level I don’t believe that I can -- all while waving my hands in the air, obviously.
Tips to start working on your own self-esteem
Grow your confidence I said they weren’t the same. I didn’t say they didn’t go hand-in-hand. If you work on your skills and your appearance, you’ll feel better on the inside when you present yourself to the outside world. When other people believe in you and breathe life into you, you will start to believe it too. Now, it has to come from you first, but this is ultimately going to be a huge part of it.
Practice gratitude I know every self-help article and mantra tells you to do this. And you know why? Because it works. I practice this daily. I call it counting my blessings. I write down 3-10 things that I’m grateful for every single day. It could be as simple as my sweet puppy, Lily, or a powerful spin class, or as detailed as to how a presentation at a meeting went but writing it down will help you get in the practice of actively recognizing your feelings. And gratitude will change your life!
Love your flaws There I said it. You are a HUMAN! And so am I! I will never be perfect… and I’m a perfectionist! But, flaws happen, and we should embrace our imperfections big and small and love every one of them. One of my best friends, Leiah, has a mantra: “Be unapologetically yourself.” And she’s been hammering that into me for years. So go and be unapologetically yourself!
Stop the comparison game I talk to my friends and clients about this and feel like I did a great job of this myself in competition. DO NOT LOOK AT THE OTHERS GIRLS ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Or whoever is your competition. They are only showing you what they want to show you. They aren’t showing you their struggles or the daily grind. They are just showing you the cute tummy pic with abs, or the photo feeding the homeless when you were sick and had to stay home eating pho all weekend and didn’t meet your community service goals. I feel you. I know what went through your head when you saw that post. So, why are you looking? During competition, I accept friend and follower requests and promptly hit mute and never review their pages. Love yourself, stop comparing and level up!