In sociology and psychology, self-esteem reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth.
It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, “I am competent”, “I am worthy”) and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying “The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it.”:107
Self-esteem and self-confidence are actually interchangeable. They are similar, but they are in fact two different concepts. Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall, confidence is how you feel about your abilities.
When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves, which makes you more confident. When you are confident in areas of your life, you begin to increase your overall sense of esteem.
So how does that work when you aren’t confident or hold yourself with any value? Or are there elements in your life where you don’t feel confident or have low self-esteem. This could be in a relationship with a partner at home, but at work you hold down a powerful job. Or it could be you are strong, assertive and confident at home, whilst at work you lack confidence and esteem. I have been in both situations, one thing that you have to realise is you can’t change other people, you can only change your reaction to the situation. If you have a boss you feel undermines you, change the way you deal with them. If you have a partner that does the same, again it is down to you and only you to deal with it.
There are many ways of boosting confidence, self-efficacy is one way. Self-efficacy lies at the centre of psychologist Albert Bandura’s theory, this looks at the role of observational learning, social experience, and determination in the development of personality.
According to him, our attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills make up the self-system, we perceive situations and how we behave in response to different situations.
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. It can have an impact on everything from your psychological state, behaviour and motivation. It also plays a major part in how we approach goals, tasks, and challenges.
These beliefs begin to form in early childhood, however, the growth of self-efficacy does not end there, it continues to evolve throughout our lives as we gain new skills, experiences and understanding.
You may have had parents that didn’t take any risks, but were surrounded by teachers that pushed you further. You may have lacked confidence to go a for a promotion at work, but seen someone you regard as at a similar level doing it and it gave you the confidence to do the same.
Self-esteem develops from experiences and situations and plays a major role in how we view ourselves. This can vary from situation to situation, referring back to my earlier scenario, you can have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence at work or in a relationship; when I say relationship it could be with a lover but equally your mother or father, siblings or friends.
There are four sources of self-efficacy; Mastery experiences, these are the things you have succeeded at in the past. Social Modelling, this is seeing people who are similar to you succeed. Social persuasion, people telling you what a great person you are, how capable you are at certain things, what a great friend you are or what a great parent you are, how well you dealt with a client or project. Psychological Responses, this is how you respond to situations, staying positive and managing your stress levels.
People with a strong sense of self-efficacy will view problems as tasks to be mastered. They will develop a deeper interest in an activity they are involved in and they also form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities. They also have the ability to recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments.
People with a weak sense of self-efficacy will avoid challenging tasks, or they may believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities. They tend to focus on personal failings and negative outcomes and are quick to lose confidence in personal abilities.
You may find reading the statements, you fit in to both areas. If that’s the case, think about certain situations, when is it you would tend to avoid tasks or use negative thought patterns? If it is coming up in one area of your life, perhaps you need to concentrate in that area.
One exercise you can do to boost your self efficacy now is, with a piece of paper take your age and divide it by 3. Make 3 columns and the headings for the columns will be 3 ages of your life (if you are 40) 0-13, 14-27 and 28-40 – under each heading, think about your achievements in that age group and list 10, if 10 is easy keep increasing by 5 see if you can get 100!
It can be slow to start with, but once you get going it gets easier.
If you’d like to find out how this and other powerful techniques can make a real difference to your life, please contact me for a complimentary consultation – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07825394331
And who wouldn’t like a to find more confidence…