self confidence vs self esteem: Which One Should You Focus On?

(Last Updated On: July 30, 2019)

self confidence vs self esteemSelf confidence vs self esteem?  Well, many people mistake self-confidence and self-esteem. Well, they are two very different concepts: boiled down, self-confidence is “I can do it”, self-esteem is “I like myself”. While they are not the same thing, they are tightly related.


Self confidence vs self esteem: how they are connected

While self-esteem is a broad concept, self-confidence usually applies to single areas of life. You can be self-confident with math, for example, but feel unsecure about romantic relationships. So, while self-esteem is a global concept, self-confidence will be different in several areas of your life.

However, if you feel unconfident in most areas of your life, you’ll probably will suffer of very low self-esteem as well. The same applies when you can’t do what you set your mind to in areas of your life very important for you.

On the other hand, if you have low self-esteem and don’t like yourself, you’ll probably think you don’t deserve what you are thriving for and finally you’ll stop trying. So low self-esteem also lowers an individual’s self-confidence.

Low self-esteem will also trigger fake solutions (like, for example, drinking) to boost confidence artificially. This won’t work and will trigger a windingly spiral of failure and self-sabotage that will further destroys the individual’s both self-esteem and self-confidence.

When this happens, the simplest way to break out of this trap is to rebuild self-esteem by restarting part of your life afresh. This could be a new workplace, a new hobby, a new healthy habit, or a new set of friends (it is easy to deal with people who have no preconceived notions about you).

So, you can’t have lasting self confidence if you don’t have self-esteem, and you can’t have true self esteem if you don’t have self-confidence. Further, self-esteem is the starting point to grow a strong self-belief.

See the very interesting article from Emily Roberts at for more insights on self confidence vs self esteem.

Self confidence vs self esteem: courage is in between

I believe that the most important link between self-confidence and self-esteem is courage.

Self-esteem gives us the confidence to enter a new group, and become a part of it. Those who lack self-esteem are very reluctant to approach a new group. They don’t want to expose themselves to the ridicule of being seen as shy, nervous or ignorant. They would instead prefer to stay in their corners.

So, self-esteem will feed your courage, and if self-esteem feeds courage, it will also feed your self-confidence. There’s a whole science on the connection between self-confidence and courage. You can discover more about it in my 30 Days Courage and Self-Confidence Challenge.

The final point here is that self-esteem feeds courage, courage feeds action, action feeds self-confidence.

Arun Chandran

Self confidence vs self esteem: what they have to do with your relationships

Self-confidence and self-esteem have complementary roles with your relationships.

Lack of self-esteem stands out like a sore thumb at parties, at meetings, at conferences and at social or official functions. Individuals with low self-esteem avoid introducing themselves to others. They prefer to stay in the shadows, away from the sights of others. However, their colleagues who enjoy high self-esteem dominate the discussions.

They are sought after by others for information. They are also invited to other meetings and parties — all because their self-esteem gives them the confidence to open up before a group of strangers.

The actual building of a relationship requires courage, action and self-confidence. However you can’t have healthy relationships if you don’t feel good about yourself:  so you need self-esteem in the long run.

So: start by wearing your self-confidence, take action and start building your network. Then invest in your self-esteem and in your worthy long-term relationships as well.

Self confidence vs self esteem: a different but fundamental approach to failure

Overcoming failure is an essential supporting skill for lasting and robust self-confidence.

The self-confidence approach to failure is: take action as soon as you can and create a new success. As Arun Chandran pointed out in his interview, we must accept failure and take next small step. Taking action is about bringing some new results, and new results are the best response to what you might think you have failed.

However, if you have a strong self-esteem, you really don’t understand failure as your fault. Those who have self-esteem don’t talk about failures; instead, they try to find out why they did not succeed. They look for lessons that can be learnt from their experience. Events are learning experiences, so whatever is happening is always a resource. This is the power of positive thinking, and it is available to only those who have self-esteem and are strong enough to get over, because what happens doesn’t define who they are.

So: if failure is an issue for you, invest in your self-esteem and your self-confidence until you are able to take action again. If you then find that you can take action, but feel a failure anyway, then focus on your self-esteem.

Self confidence vs self esteem? You need both

If you have self-confidence without self-esteem, you know you have the power, but you don’t know if you are using it right. You won’t be able to find the right direction. You’ll question yourself. You’ll feel bad.

If you have self-esteem but not self-confidence, you’ll stay still in your life. You’ll miss your challenges, and finally you’ll be unsatisfied.

You need self-esteem to start. You need accepting yourself, forgiving yourself. Then you have to act with confidence.

If you’ll succeed, your self-confidence will increase, and also your self-esteem will do.

If you’ll fail, everything will roll back, and you’ll need self-esteem to be able to overcome your failure and restart.

Self confidence vs self esteem: where to start from

Nothing will work until the individual develops self-esteem and the belief that he is as good as others are. He must realize that he is not the only one who has strong and weak points; the others too suffer from the same defects. The only difference is that the others project their strong points whereas he projects his weak points. All that he needs is to refocus his priorities.

So the positive long term cycle is: start with self-esteem, and get over with self-confidence. And whatever happens, restart with self-esteem and get over with self-confidence.

The most important thing you can do right now to improve your life is taking action. If you want to improve a specific area in your life, then work on your self-confidence. If you feel bad on most areas of your life or even if you take action you feel like a failure, then work on your self-esteem.

And you? Currently in your life you find that is more important focusing on self-confidence or self-esteem? Let us know what you think.

Also, don’t forget to develop your positive resources by subscribing to my 30 day self-confidence challenge with the form below!


30 days self confidence challenge  



See you next time
Mark Tern

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