You walk into a room with lots of people and suddenly you start thinking negative things and being critical about yourself. You think other people are better than you and put your head down. Someone compliments you and you think they are lying to you and joke about yourself in a bad way. If I just described you, then you may be experiencing low self-esteem and confidence.
While most people don’t feel good about themselves occasionally, people with low self-esteem and confidence tend to feel sad or dissatisfied with themselves. This can be corrected, but it takes conscious efforts and daily practice to build self-esteem and confidence in an individual. If you think you fall into this category, then you shouldn’t worry as this article is for you. In this article, we’ve taken the time to discuss what confidence and self-esteem are, the signs of low self-esteem and confidence (in case you’re still confused), and many more!
So let’s go!
Meaning of Confidence and Self-esteem
Although these terms overlap and are sometimes used interchangeably, confidence and self-esteem mean two different things. Let’s see how!
Confidence is the ability to believe (or be confident) in yourself no matter the circumstances that surround you. It also paints a bigger picture of your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to do. For example, if you are training for your dance competition, you will be more confident in your ability to succeed. In other words, confidence is the belief in yourself and your abilities. However, this may vary depending on the situation as it is entirely normal for you to feel quite confident in some situations and less confident in others.
Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the ability to appreciate yourself and believe in your total worth as a human being. If you have high self-esteem, you are not afraid of failure or rejection because you know your worth does not depend on those things. In simple terms, self-esteem connotes whether or not you like and value yourself. You should note that your self-esteem grows and changes as a result of your life experiences and relationships with others.
Good self-esteem is necessary to have the confidence to face life’s challenges and engage in activities that you find enjoyable and rewarding. When you have a high self-value and confidence, you tend to think positively about yourself and you often express optimism about life in general. People with great confidence and self-esteem know that they are valuable and can name at least some of their positive qualities, for example, “I am beautiful”, “I am a good wife” etc.
Causes of Low Confidence and Self-esteem
To find solutions to problems, it is important to discover the root of the problems. Low self-esteem and confidence are rooted in negative beliefs and comments you have about yourself. However, no one was born with this belief. They all developed as a result of different factors and circumstances in our lives. We shall be exploring some of the factors that may contribute to the negative beliefs about yourself. Thus:
1. Experiences such as Abuse, Rejection, and Pain
Abuse, pain, and rejection are very strong experiences. Children and adolescents who experience them often think they are bad and deserve all that happened to them. This is often not true as they may have just been victims of circumstances.
2. Inadequate Love and Affection
It is very possible for a person not to have any traumatic experiences but still have low self-confidence and self-esteem. The lack of confidence and self-esteem in an individual could be a result of little or no love and care from the people who surround such a person. Children who grow up without sufficient care and warmth could grow up feeling like they are not enough for anything.
3. People’s Expectations
For many, low self-esteem and confidence arises from the failure to meet people’s expectations. These individuals end up being people pleasers as they live their lives based on what people think about them. They don’t care if those standards are right and just, they just seek validation from the people around them or even from social media.
4. Inability to Fit in with Mates
No man is an island and being part of a group is so important. However, there are times when group members have certain qualities that make you think they are better than you. For example, most of your classmates are from rich homes and wear expensive items but you come from a poor home and can barely afford anything. All these can make you lose your confidence and reduce your self-esteem
Effects of Low Self-esteem and Confidence
If you lack self-esteem, you may have trouble interacting with people at work, school, or anywhere you find yourself. You can become very sad due to criticisms and ultimately withdraw from activities and people. You stop doing things you love doing because you feel like you do not measure up or because someone said you shouldn’t do them.
Some people with low confidence tend to stop taking care of their appearance and look their best. Others, however, try to be too perfect in all they do to avoid negative comments and feelings of rejection. Lack of self-esteem could result in problems with your body image, drinking too much alcohol, taking too much medication, and self-harm among other acts.
Teenagers that have low self-esteem may resort to using alcohol or drugs to help them fit in and feel better. They may also have a poor body image and engage in sexual intercourse sooner than their mates. Low self-esteem and confidence may also give rise to health problems such as depression and anxiety, food disorders, social obsession, lack of concentration, and drug addiction.
Signs of low self-esteem and confidence
Several signs point to low self-esteem and confidence in a person’s life. Some of these signs include:
1. Sensitivity to Criticism
If you have less self-esteem, you can be very sensitive to criticism, whether they are from others or yourself. You only see errors in all you do and confirm that you cannot do anything exactly.
2. Withdrawal from Social Activities
You turn down invitations to hang out with friends and make excuses. You shut yourself out from the world and do not want to be with other people— these point to low self-esteem. Also, you do not like talking about anything that concerns you as you feel it is irrelevant and will only add to the depression and anxiety you already feel.
For someone with low self-esteem and confidence, you get angry and yell at people a lot. You tend to lash out at people and you are very aggressive towards others as a defense mechanism. If you feel like someone is in your business, attacking such a person who might criticize you could be a sign of low self-esteem.
4. Excessive Concern with Personal Issues
You are always worried about your problems and need a lot of time alone. This is not bad but when it becomes a constant attitude, it may be low self-esteem. You may have difficulty helping others with their problems because you are too interested in yours.
5. Physical Signs
Low self-esteem and confidence can result in physical and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and anorexia. It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse.
How to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem
A lot of people have low self-esteem or low confidence in themselves. If you have low self-esteem or lack self-confidence, you would discover that negative or disheartening experiences affect how you feel about yourself. This can cause an unending cycle of negative thinking and negative expectations for the future discourage you from trying new things. This then leads to disappointing results. The following are several ways you can build your confidence and self-esteem and hold your head up high anywhere:
1. Take Things Slowly
If you want to change something, it will not happen in one day. And if you are hoping it will happen in one day, it can result in a serious disappointment, which is not good. Instead of hoping for fast results, you should make it a habit to do little things daily that can cause big changes.
And peradventure you have a bad day, don’t feel bad. There will be many peaks and valleys in life but it is pertinent to keep looking and moving forward. I hope you remember the children’s story of Mr. Tortoise versus Mr. Hare: slow and steady wins the race.
2. Love Yourself
Recognizing that you have value as a human being is what self-esteem is all about. This value we are talking about here is not based on your accomplishments or grades or whatever. It is all about you. Just you as an amazing person.
Let’s talk about reality! No one is saying you wake up the next morning and love every single area of you, it might not work that way. As earlier noted, loving yourself will not happen overnight or in a day. You should spend quality time getting to understand yourself better and recognizing that whoever you are is enough. You don`t have to please people just so you could feel confident about yourself. Remember that your worth does not depend on what people think of you.
3. Leave your Comfort Zone
One of the most effective methods to develop yourself is to leave your comfort zone. It will be frightening to try new things, but that is only part of the fun of life. Every day, do something that scares you. It’d be an excellent place to start. Doing one scary activity every day is ideal since it allows you to take small steps while also pushing you out of your comfort zone.
Here are a few simple methods to push yourself beyond your comfort zone daily: Talk to a stranger, try new foods, volunteer at a place, and tell someone your true feelings. You will recognize that you have explored a bit of life after doing these minor tasks and will have greater courage to attempt larger tasks.
4. Be with People who Believe in You
We are usually (though not always) our own harshest critics. If you’re having trouble gaining confidence and developing self-esteem, try being in the company of people who believe in you. You can’t control everything that happens to you but you can usually choose who you spend your time with to some level. Say your goodbyes to those who have been critical of you or who have let you down. Rather, surround yourself with people who have helped you to grow and who believe in you. Their encouragement will assist you in realizing that you must also believe in yourself.
5. Protect Yourself
You deserve happiness and satisfaction in who you are, once again. Unfortunately, some will try to tear you down and convince you that you are unworthy. Make sure you fight back and protect yourself from these people. Recognize that you are deserving of love and respect in your current state.
To be clear, we’re not advocating that the gloves be removed. What we’re saying is that you should make sure you’re getting the treatment you deserve. When you make your values a priority, you will begin to believe them. It’s a cycle — if you have high self-esteem, you’ll defend yourself. You boost your self-esteem when you speak up for yourself.
6. Notice and Change your Conversation
In our minds, we all have a voice. That may be very inspiring, motivating, and great at times. That isn’t always the case. Start with identifying your thoughts if you wish to change your self-talk. When do you use your good voice and when do you use your terrible voice?
Then, one by one, train your mind to use positive words rather than the negative words that may come to mind initially. According to research, talking to yourself in the second or third person is much more effective than talking to each other in the first person since it generates psychological distance.
7. Accept Compliments about Yourself
How many times has it happened to you that someone gives you a compliment and you don’t believe them or don’t know what to say, so you just stand there and, predictably, it turns into an unpleasant situation in which all you want to do is hide?
Learning to accept praises, according to psychologist Guy Winch, is one method to increase your self-esteem (and prevent an awkward scenario). To let you know, we believe you’re fantastic. And whatever compliments you receive are totally deserved. Rather than dismissing them, answer with a polite “thank you.”
8. Begin a Journaling Practice
Journaling allows you to increase your self-esteem and confidence in several ways. Journaling boosts self-esteem by allowing you to write down and reflect on the happenings of the day. Write about how you took a risk and pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. Write about how you managed to stay alive.
You’ll be able to build on your own experiences and see your self-confidence increase if you take the time to think about them. You’ll also be able to apply what you’ve learned in the future, giving you additional knowledge and, eventually, confidence. Journaling also promotes self-confidence since you create a judgment-free zone by writing down your thoughts and exploring your feelings. You can learn to love and value yourself gradually.
9. Be Compassionate
It’s vital to be kind to oneself. When you practice self-compassion, you create a safe environment in which you can experiment and make mistakes. You create a non-judgmental environment in which to build self-esteem. Furthermore, when you make mistakes, you learn that you are deserving of care. You are deserving of love and respect, regardless of your accomplishments, rejections, or social status.
People who lack confidence and self-esteem are always nervous about making errors or disappointing others. Self-esteem and confidence problems can be harmful to your health and have a bad impact on your personal and professional relationships. Hence, if you think you are suffering from low self-esteem and confidence, you should follow the guide in this article to help you keep your head up high.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Build Confidence and Self-esteem
Q. How can I get rid of my insecurity?
A. It’s natural to take days off when you don’t feel like doing anything. However, not always feeling safe can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. Here are a few tips that might be beneficial to you:
- Reaffirm your value.
- Keep yourself in wonderful company.
- Do the things that bring you joy.
Q. What are the advantages of having high self-esteem and self-confidence?
A. The following are some of the advantages of having strong self-esteem and confidence:
- It encourages positive interpersonal interactions.
- It allows you to attempt new things.
Q. How can you practice confidence in your relationship?
A. One way to develop yourself in a relationship is to know how much you are worth. When you know the value you bring to the table when interacting with others, it will help you to be more confident in yourself.
Q. How can you be more confident about your body?
A. If your self-esteem is based on your physical appearance, improving your body image can assist. Spend more time appreciating the parts of your physique that you enjoy rather than focusing on the parts that you don’t.