Client’s regularly say to me that they want to feel more confident, but when I ask what means for them, it’s often not something that they have considered.
When I ask this, I’m looking to see if confidence what they are really looking for. Sometimes it is. More often than not it’s actually, it’s self-esteem.
The words confidence and self-esteem are often used interchangeably; but they are significantly different and yet related.
What Confidence means
The root of the word ‘Confidence’ comes from the Latin word to trust. It’s a trust in your abilities; a belief or certainty that you are capable of doing something. You might be confident that you know how to do everyday tasks that you’ve performed many times but you may not feel confident doing things outside of your comfort zone where you have less experience or self-belief in yourself.
That means that confidence can ebb and flow. Nobody feels that they are lacking confidence all the time, although often the things that you do feel confident about get down played as insignificant or dismissed as something everyone can do.
The way that you grow confidence is stretching and growing your trust in your abilities – which means stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning or trying something new, or taking it to the next level.
Confidence is an outward trait, about interacting with the world around you. It is built and grows over time and with experience, made up of a set of skills and achievements which are used to benchmark our place in the world around us.
However, the journey to feel more confident can result in the accumulation of a large number of achievements and skills in an illusive quest to reach the feeling of being confident overall in their life, rather than recognising that the fulfilment and self-belief they seek isn’t really confidence, it’s self-esteem. This used to be me. I would think that if I could get that next qualification, the next promotion, do yet another course… sooner or later one, mastering one of these skills would be the panacea that would make me feel like I was good enough.
What is self-esteem?
If confidence is driven by trust in your abilities, self-esteem is an emotional and cognitive judgement of your own value and self-respect.
A lack of self-esteem sits at the deepest internal level; in the unconscious mind. It’s part of your internal programming and the blueprint for how you see the world and engage in it.
Issues with self-esteem are created in childhood, and are a result of the mind’s interpretation of events or experiences. Between the ages of about 2 and 12, the mind tries to make sense of the world, whilst developing quickly. When young children experience something uncomfortable or painful, they try to make sense of it, and since the principal role of the mind is to keep us alive, it forms beliefs about ourselves in order to try to keep us safe.
Those beliefs then become the lens through which we see and experience the world, and the mind continually looks for ways to reaffirm those beliefs.
Recognising a Self-Esteem Issue
There are a number of signs that indicate a lack of self-esteem:
- Negative self-talk; whether this is when you talk to yourself or when you talk about yourself and might look like telling yourself that you’re no good, don’t deserve something or mentally beating yourself up
- People pleasing – such as saying yes when you really don’t want to do something, always wanting to help others but being uncomfortable having to ask for help for yourself or constantly putting other’s needs ahead of your own.
- Poor lifestyle habits such as not taking care of yourself such as by over eating, or poor grooming habits
- Letting fears hold you back from pursuing things that you’re dreaming of doing
- Looking for validation from others, which often shows up by needing positive feedback or praise, worrying about what other people will think or taking any negative feedback as a personal rejection
- Poor resilience; seeing set backs as major blockers or giving up.
How to Raise Your Self-Esteem
Raising your self-esteem involves understanding what those core beliefs are, and reframing them, to recognise your value or worth and know that you are good enough just as you are.
There are many ways that you can do this, either alone, or with support from a professional:
- Change your self-talk to something positive and kind – ask yourself if you would say something to a friend, if not, don’t say it to yourself
- Use positive affirmations – these should be phrased in the present and positive in tone. If it feels too inauthentic to tell yourself that you are amazing (which you are), start off with something easier such as ‘I’m doing the best I can right now’.
- Before agreeing to something ask yourself what you really want to do, and practice saying no to things that you don’t want to.
- Take time for self-care – it’s critical to be able to have a sense of who you are
- Identify what it is that you believe about yourself, that is creating the way you’re feeling and then consider whether those beliefs are true. Just because we believe something doesn’t make it a cold hard fact – beliefs are just thoughts you continue to think and can be changed.
- Use coaching, NLP or hypnotherapy to find the beliefs buried in your unconscious mind, heal any old pain associated with them, and imprint new, positive, empowering beliefs that will create the courage you need to value yourself.
If you are able to recognise that you would benefit from raising your self-confidence and/or self-esteem, the more you’ll become aware of improvements that can be made. This opens the gates to personal growth. Change might not be overnight but if you are willing to work on yourself, a high self-esteem increases confidence and happiness.
If your confidence or self-esteem are holding you back from being visible in your wellbeing and fitness business then I’d love to help you get confident being visible online. Check out my rapid confidence program.