Self Confidence and Self Worth obviously have a lot to do with how well we do in life. However, what confuses the picture is that the two terms are often used as if they have the same meaning. They are really very different things.
Self Confidence is about how we relate to the world. Self Worth is about how we relate to ourselves. Naturally these two things are interlinked and one affects the other. But, they bring very different gifts and very different skills.
Self Confidence gives us the ability to make things happen in the world. It helps us set goals and achieve results. When our Self Confidence is high we attract people through our ability to get things done and ‘be out there’. This makes us good talkers.
Self Worth helps us value other people for who they are (rather than what they do). It helps us build friendships and relationships based on mutual caring. When our Self Worth is high we attract people through our ability to just ‘be there’ for them and to be with them. This makes us good listeners.
If Self Confidence is high and Self Worth is very low then we get out of balance. It can make us tend to put on a show and feel hollow inside. If this goes to far we can end up unable to enjoy our successes. While others are giving us a congratulatory pat on the back we feel like kicking ourselves as being undeserving. When our Self Worth is low we may tell ourselves “If only they knew what I am really like”.
If Self Confidence is very low and Self Worth is high then we get out of balance that way too. It can make us tend to hide out with our friends, family, or people we feel ‘comfortable’ (or an acceptable discomfort) around. We may walk in someone’s shadow, hide behind a powerful boss, or someone who ‘protects’ us from the world (even if they are nasty otherwise). We may have things we really want to do with our lives (intensely so), but make excuses as to why it is OK to do nothing about.
When it comes to finding a partner, or finding a job, lack of Self Confidence or Self Worth will obviously get in the way. Self Confidence helps us establish an initial connection; Self Worth helps us relate in ways that create a healthy relationship. Self Confidence helps us meet people; Self Worth helps us make friends with them.
Without Self Confidence we have trouble creating success because we don’t even try; without Self Worth we have trouble creating success because we never actually feel ‘successful’ no matter what we achieve (or we may sabotage our efforts out of a feeling of being undeserving).
Our Self Worth and Self Confidence can be affected by what other people say and do. However, they are also both affected by what we say and do. They are very much affected by what we decide about ourselves and our own value and what we tell people about ourselves. Ultimately it is our decision whether we feel good and happy, or not. Whatever we cultivate and whatever we tolerate is what grows.
People with a strong Self Confidence are, of course, naturally comfortable functioning in situations where confidence is what is required; but they can feel very challenged by situations where Self Worth is what is needed. People with a strong sense of Self Worth are naturally comfortable in situations where Self Worth is what is required, but likewise can feel very challenged when confidence is needed.
We often unconsciously try and find a balance by attracting people of our opposite type either at work or in relationships. This allows us to function as it gives the benefits of the other persons strengths. Yet that is really an unhappy alliance, in the long term, it is really a matter of finding the balance in ourselves.
Self Confidence can be boosted by positive affirmations like: “I am successful”, “I now create great relationships”, etc..
Self Worth can be boosted by positive affirmation like: “I deserve success”, “I am worthy of a great relationship”, etc..
People often feel awkward working on the type of issues which most affects them. If either of the above type of affirmation is a turn-off for you the chances are that is the very type of issue you need to work with. Any such discomfort soon passes and, if you give yourself a chance, you can become a healthier person by working directly on whatever of these issues specifically affects you.
Now that maybe you have a better idea of which aspect of yourself you most want to work on, I suggest checking out the Self Help section of your local bookshop and seeing what books ‘call’ to you. You will just know what is right for you, or you can have fun checking out some new ideas to see what fits.
Being out of balance between Self Confidence and Self Worth is a bit like having one leg much shorter than the other. If we are not careful it makes us go round in circles! If your life feels a bit circular at times then that is a very good sign you need to grow the other side of your nature.
It may be that by making a very minor change in attitude, and finding a better balance between Self Confidence and Self Worth, you can become much more effective in your life. It will make is much easier to walk in a straight line.