Confidence and Self-Esteem are often assumed to be synonymous but are not the same. Have you ever met someone dripping with confidence, just to be perplexed when you find out further in the friendship how much they truly criticize or undervalue him/herself on the inside compared to what you see? Remember the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover?” In many cases, that cover may look deceiving when compared to what is contained within.
What is confidence? What is self-esteem? What are the benefits of improving your self-esteem? How can you improve your self-esteem? Come join me in digging deep into how you can improve your self-esteem and the benefits associated with it.
Both confidence and self-esteem come from within. Confidence usually is derived from a job well done or developing a certain level of competence at a certain task. The more praise you receive or tasks you finish help to build your confidence in those aspects. Whether this pertains to a hobby or your job, you can find confidence in accomplishing certain tasks and build confidence when those tasks are completed to certain standards after practice, planning, and effort. Becoming proficient at a task produces confidence.
There is another type of confidence too. In the military, service members learn early to “fake it until you make it.” This mentality is great when it provides you the appearance and the confidence to accomplish certain things, even when you feel like a fake and failure ready at any second to run screaming to your room, hiding under your covers until everything goes away.
Confident people look competent and capable on the outside, but how does that help if you hold derogatory beliefs in your mind? How does an outward appearance of confidence serve you if you speak (or think) to yourself in an ugly and negative way?
All the confidence in the world isn’t going to make you feel awesome. Sure, you can “fake it until you make it” and accomplish tasks (sometimes with ease), but how does that serve you in the long run? Confidence is the belief you can do something well. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Sometimes these two items can go hand in hand, boosting each other up. Having value and feeling good about yourself will help boost your confidence. Gaining confidence in certain things may help increase your self-esteem when it comes to that task, but won’t necessarily make you feel good about all aspects of yourself or stop any negative self-talk.
Your level of self-esteem is defined by how you feel about yourself. Why is this important? Because everything in your life is impacted by how you feel about yourself. Because even though how you feel about yourself may seem beyond your control, it’s really not.
You can make conscious efforts to change how you think about yourself, how you talk about yourself, and how you feel about yourself. It’s not something that will change overnight. It will take a lot of time and conscious, planned effort. But I can promise you that doing what it takes to increase your self-esteem will be worth more than your weight in gold.
What can increasing your self-esteem do for you?
- improve your relationships;
- improve your productivity;
- improve your perception;
- improve how people treat you;
- improve how you handle a disability;
- improve how you handle life;
- you take initiative to make needed changes;
- learn how to handle your situation yourself without relying on others;
- improve how you handle life;
- gives you control over your life.
Improve your relationships
Whether it’s with your parents, siblings, spouse, kids, coworkers, or dog, improving your self-esteem will help improve your relationships.
When we feel bad about ourselves, we tend to take a different attitude towards other people and often that means we hurt those that are closest to us without realizing we are hurting them.
Feeling better about yourself directly relates to improving how you treat others.
Making that subtle subconscious change will enhance and improve your relationship with those around you. You become a happier person. They enjoy being around you more. Arguments decrease. Your enjoyment increases. Bonds tighten. Spending time with others becomes more enjoyable and less of a chore.
Improve your productivity
There is no doubt about it, when you feel good about who you are and what you’re doing, you end up experiencing a natural drive to be more productive.
Being more productive in turn makes you feel even better about yourself, placing you into a cycle of feel-goods and positivity.
What else happens when you’re more productive?
- You live in a cleaner environment that helps to make you feel better and lift you out of the funk.
- You want to keep being productive and accomplishing tasks, making you feel more capable.
- You remember more, enabling you to learn more efficiently which directly relates to achieving higher grades in school and promotions or recognition at work.
All of which contribute to enhancing your self-esteem.
Improves your perception
When you have a healthy level of self-esteem, your perception of yourself and the world improves. Your circumstances seem more manageable. Your relationships improve, making you feel not so alone and isolated. Your work and/or school environment improves, giving you more confidence. Everything in your life starts to improve.
When your perception improves you are able to switch your mindset from pessimism to opportunism. When you stop seeing the world through shades of grey, you open up your mind’s ability to pick out opportunities that continually present themselves, but are often overlooked.
Improve how people treat you
When you have a healthy level of self-esteem, people see and treat you differently.
- They treat you more respectfully.
- The way they treat you makes you feel more competent.
- They are more enjoyable to endure.
The saying goes “we teach the world how to treat us.”
Having a healthy level of self-esteem helps show people who we are and how we expect to be treated.
Improve your mental health
Higher self-esteem improves how you see yourself, how you talk to yourself, and what you think about yourself.
The darkness of self-hate and the associated depression and anxiety can be significantly brightened up by how you view yourself. You don’t have to succumb to self-hate.
Sometimes this means overcoming previous emotional trauma. Sometimes this means you’re subconsciously needing something more- a major change.
Often our bodies show us a variety of levels of discomfort because we are not where we are meant to be or maximizing our potential. We’ll talk about that more shortly.
Improve how you handle a disability
When you feel good about who you are, you start finding ways around aspects of your mind and body that disable you. When you start finding ways around your disability to be productive, you stop seeing yourself as disabled and start seeing what you’re capable of, regardless of disability.
I realize this may come across as insensitive to some, but I do know firsthand that you can take on your disability and find ways around what you’re going through to make it all work.
Whether you’ve lost a limb, lost your eyesight, lost your ability to walk, or have an “invisible” ailment that keeps you from enjoying life, you CAN regain control over your life, if you choose to seize it.
This leads directly to the next point.
Focus less on what others could or should do for you and more on what you can do for yourself.
Be your own superhero. Doing so will boost your confidence and self-esteem and you won’t feel like a victim being taken advantage of and being let down by others who “should” be there to help or “has the means” to be there to help but aren’t helping.
Yes, we live in a welfare society, but that does not mean everyone or the government will be jumping up to help. Just because someone or some organization should be able to help you doesn’t mean they actually can help you. Instead of feeling lost and betrayed, find a way around your situation.
Don’t roll your eyes. You CAN do this, and I’ll talk more about how shortly.
For me, I know this all too well, as I lived it, and am a walking testimony to what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. I spent nearly a decade sick from military service-related chemical exposure and was unable to work. My 20s, which were supposed to be a vibrant kick-start to the grand future I had planned, ended up mostly being me confined to bed rest, seizures, failure after failure, and lost friendships.
I received a small fraction of what I needed to live on from the Dept of Veterans Affairs as a stipend for my disability and was denied multiple times for any other type of assistance I qualified foras per the regulations, and felt betrayed by friends and family for not understanding my circumstances and actually helping in the capacity I felt I needed and was promised.
Finally, I took my health and circumstances into my own hands, realizing any assistance I received from everyone was nothing more than a superficial band-aid. When I took control and responsibility for what was going on and held myself accountable, incredible things happened (including marrying my husband, overcoming my disability, and starting my own business). I can honestly say I escaped that rut the summer before I turned 30. You can read more about my story here. My story is not the exception. You can do this too. I work and collaborate with more women and men than I can easily count with a similar story.
All of us managed to make the decision and pull ourselves out of the rut we were in and are seeing incredible results and success because of our dedication to that decision.
You stop wasting time focusing on what you “can’t” do
Instead of focusing on what you “can’t” do… take the initiative and responsibility to work towards bettering your situation.
You may not have been able to control what happened that conned you into thinking poorly about yourself. Or you may need to come to terms with not doing what you could have to avoid it. That is ok and perfectly normal.
The past is in the past, let it build who you are and motivate you into a better future.
All you can do now is accept that things happened and focus on what you can do to better your circumstances. Time spent worrying about and living in the past is time wasted. Time is one resource we will never get back. So use the time you have now to do something to improve who and where you are in life.
Improves how you handle life.
Life is an intense roller coaster. Sometimes it brings you up to cloud 9. Sometimes it drags you through the mud, making you feel like you’re drowning. Life happens.
You have two choices: embrace it and take control, or sit back and let it happen.
If you sit back and let it happen, nothing will change.
Changing your life certainly takes effort from you.
Either you decide what happens or someone else will. When you handle life and decide to take control and responsibility, you open doors for yourself that otherwise wouldn’t be open.
Taking responsibility for your life is a HUGE step. That doesn’t mean you’re completely responsible for everything that has or will happen, because realistically we all know there are external factors at play. Taking responsibility for your life means you actively make changes.
Taking responsibility means you take control of how you react to external factors and you make conscious decisions to better your situation. You take responsibility for where you’re going from here.
You will regain control over your life.
Life happens whether you’re ready or not. Instead of standing back and letting life happen, you CAN take control. Your self-esteem plays a HUGE part in this.
As Iyanla VanZant said, “Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than what we think we are worth.”
This is an incredible revelation about how what we think comes to fruition. It may sound a bit “hippie voodoo” or “woo,” but when you practice changing your thoughts you realize how much your thoughts impact your life. And to take it another step further, when you realize you’re the thinker of your thoughts and have the ability to choose which thoughts to keep and let go of the ones that do not serve you or your personal development.
When you think positive thoughts and pray for positive changes, those changes come. It’s not just a one-time gig. You have to practice it and truly, deeply want those positive changes. Life is not about instant gratification. You have to put in the work and be patient, but the more you work at it, the more possibilities become endless.
Your question now should be: “where do I start?”
How To Build Self-Esteem
First and foremost, you need to know: How do you feel about yourself? I know this can be painful to acknowledge, but it is important. Why? Because you don’t know how to get to where you need to go if you don’t know where you are now.
Once you know how you feel about yourself, you know where to start. Next question to address: How do you WANT to feel about yourself? If that answer is not the same as the first, then we have some work to do. So, where do you start in getting to where you want to go? How do you improve how you feel about yourself so you can improve other aspects of your life?
Two words: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
I know it might sound silly or insignificant, or even “1st world problems.”
But personal development will open so many doors for you and enrich your life so much that you won’t want to know what life would be without it.
Personal development, when practiced consistently, becomes addicting. We were born to be greater than what we are and have a natural drive for it that must be nurtured. Doing so will bring so much happiness and unexpected success to your life.
My living example: Personal development has provided me with immense support and growth that has enabled me to walk out of my depression and opened doors for me that enabled me to begin my own home-based business when I was deemed “unemployable.”
Life is full of seasons, just like the earth cycles through 4 seasons each year. Everything in life is temporary, especially if you choose it to be. Think of everything you go through as a season.
- A season for learning.
- A season for hard work.
- A season for retirement.
- A season raising small children.
- A season mentoring adult children.
- A season to teach.
- A season to serve.
Everything is a season. When you feel stuck with no light at the end of the tunnel is the perfect time to embark on a personal development journey to help lift you out of that season and into another.
I strongly encourage you to pick up the book: The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. This book is my all-time favorite for progressing through your personal development journey. I’ve read it multiple times now and always end up taking away something different each time I read it. It’s definitely worth buying and reading about once a year – or once a “season,” depending on what you’re going through.
I like to reread it every time I experience a business/work promotion and every time I suddenly feel stuck. I also recommend it to all the lovely women and men I coach.
There is also a participant guide that helps walk you through actually going through the steps the book talks about. The participant guide is nice because then you will actually do the steps instead of just reading about them, though a regular notebook is sufficient too. Either way, have something available for taking notes – LOTS of notes.
I also strongly encourage you to consider adding essential oils to your personal development regimen. There are several blends of essential oils that will enhance your personal development program and take you to a whole new level of growth.
Join me over at EssentialOils.Life where I just wrote a post about which oils to use and how they can help to maximize your growth.
Have you considered using personal development as a means to help increase your self-esteem?
Comment below and let us know if you’ve considered personal development, and what you’re favorite resources are!
A Note From Nicole
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Nicole is a military-trained research analyst, homeschooling mom, healthy lifestyle coach, flexible business consultant, and writer for MotherhoodTruth.com and GracefullyAbundant.com. After living through and overcoming a season of homelessness and chronic health, Nicole developed a passion for helping others develop healthier habits using functional nutrition, herbalism, and renewing faith.