Self-esteem: What does it really mean?

Self-esteem, self-worth, self-efficacy, self-confidence.…

So many terms can feel confusing and are all too often used in a similar way in day-to-day language. The two important terms that I’ll discuss in this article are both self-esteem and self-confidence.

Self-esteem refers to how we see or rate ourselves internally. Whereas confidence is two-fold, it is not just how much self belief and trust we have in our own ability, but also how we project our confidence externally. For example you may have heard of that saying “it is not just talking the talk but also being able to walk the walk”. Confidence comes from a self-belief (internally) but also follows through with action (externally). Some people having high self-esteem and high confidence levels, it makes sense that if we view ourselves as adequate, good enough, attractive and intelligent that we would then feel confident in what we choose to do.

Clinically, I see many people experiencing a lack of self-esteem. There is a less noticeable link with how someone feels and what they project to the outside world, for example someone can feel rubbish about themselves and as such they may put on a bravado, or an armour (e.g. the way they dress) to show the opposite. Thus, having low self-esteem but high confidence in what they want others to perceive them. Feeling this way can trigger all sorts of anxiety traps and frustration which may also get people down.

If you do feel on the lower end of either self-confidence or self-esteem you can choose therapy. There are things that you can do and feel by starting therapy which will ultimately feel empowering and lead to long-lasting change.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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