Are Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence the Same?

self esteem and self confidence

People often confuse self-esteem and self-confidence, but are these just different names for the same concept?

That’s a really good question. The simple answer is, no, they are not the same but they are closely related. Let’s see how they differ.


The accepted definition in psychology is as follows: Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.

Self-esteem is based on your beliefs about you own value as a person and your emotional view of those beliefs. For example, do you believe that you’re a competent or incompetent person?

If you said competent then the corresponding emotions are probably related to feelings of triumph or pride. Conversely, if you believe that you are incompetent then your emotional anchors might be despair or shame.

Self-esteem can be limited to one specific dimension of your life. An example of this would be, “I believe I am a good writer, and feel proud of that.” Self-esteem can also have a more all encompassing dimension. For example, “I believe I am a good person, and feel proud of myself in general.”

Terms that are closely related include: self-worth, self-regard, self-respect, self-love, self-integrity and self-acceptance.


Self-confidence is a measure of your beliefs about your own judgment, skills and abilities. This includes the level of future performance you expect from yourself.

Self-confidence relates closely to your level of self-assuredness about what you think you can do or accomplish.

Fear of failure is one of the greatest threats to your personal success. Self-confident people are keenly aware of what they can do well, and they succeed by focusing their efforts in those directions

How they work together?

Even though they are not the same thing, self-confidence and self-esteem are very closely related.

Is one more important than the other? Not really because they go hand in hand. To be a happy, healthy, fully functional person you need both.

Confident behavior and demeanor are a reflection of a healthy self-esteem and will be evident in your level of assertiveness or confidence.

If you lack confidence and thus produce less than encouraging results, it will adversely affect your sense of self-worth. Confidence is gained by taking actions that lead to successful outcomes. Your successes give you reasons to approve of yourself, which builds your self-esteem. One feeds the other.

Is your level of self-esteem reflected in your self-confidence?
Does your self-esteem limit your self-confidence?
The lines are open!

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  1. Mark March 1, 2011 Reply

    Excellent article. The relationship between self esteem and self confidence is significant. Without one the other is not as strong.


    • Richard September 5, 2012 Reply

      I still don’t see how not doing something well could ever affect your self worth if you truly value yourself. Why do you need to approve of yourself in the first place? If you understand that you are on equal footing as everyone else, then there is nothing to prove. Success doesn’t just come from taking action.. it comes from taking action and learning from your mistakes which you will make because you are human.
      I’ve always noticed that the most confident people get beaten down because they cannot come to the fact that they made a mistake. This won’t happen often because these people play to their strengths and eventually think less and less outside of themselves about others’ perspectives.
      Just a thought.

  2. Regan Anderson May 18, 2013 Reply

    Thank you, super helpfull for my school project.

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