Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence: Differences

Written by: Dr Joseph Kekulawala (Psychiatrist)

Last updated date : March 30, 2022

Self-esteem vs self-confidence, these two terms are used interchangeably. However, there are differences. Self-confidence is a measure of our belief in our skills and abilities. In contrast, self-esteem relates to our sense of self, self-worth or value. 

Chapter 1:


Self-confidence relates to the confidence that we have in certain areas of life or life skills. It is about trusting in your abilities to achieve goals and succeed. Confidence comes from knowledge and practice. Therefore, the more practice we have in something, the more confident we can become. Self-confidence can vary from task to task. We can have high self-confidence when it comes to driving a car, but low self-confidence when riding a bike. 

Self-confidence is situation-specific. You can have healthy self-confidence regarding your ability to host a fun party, or to play basketball. Concurrently, you can have little self-confidence in your ability to speak Spanish or dance. 

Being self-confident usually leads to good experiences, which further increases self-confidence in that area. However, when we think about self-confidence vs self-esteem, boosting self-confidence can be practice and mastery. Self-esteem is different. 


Chapter 2:


It relates to how we think about ourselves, our opinion of ourselves. Self-esteem looks inwards, it’s about how comfortable we are with ourselves. People with healthy self-esteem do not need to lift themselves up using material symbols. They have a healthy fear failure or rejection. In addition, they are open to new experiences, willing to take chances, and accepting of their’s and other’s mistakes. 

It doesn’t have to be self-esteem vs self-confidence. Having both is important. You’ll be thriving and happier in general if you can grow both qualities.


Chapter 3:

Is It Possible to Have One without the Other?

Self-esteem and self-confidence do not occur together. It is possible to be confident in your abilities to sing or dance but have low self-esteem. Even a professional musician may have a lot of self-confidence in their ability but may suffer from overall low self-esteem. Similarily, someone who isn’t particularly talented at a certain activity may very well have healthy self-esteem.

That said, when we are confident in certain areas of life, it can help to boost our overall sense of esteem. 


Chapter 4:

Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence, Which Is Easier to Build?

Self-confidence is the result of practice, preparation and eventual success. If you have a history of doing well at something, you will develop self-confidence in that area. Self-confidence can be built with achievements and practising, whereas self-esteem can’t be. Self-esteem is a little more nuanced. It requires knowing your values, making decisions that sit well with you and being comfortable in your skin. Fortunately, both self-esteem and self-confidence can be cultivated. They just require a different approach. 


Chapter 5:

Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence, Which Is More Important?

It depends, if you want overall happiness, to be less anxious and more comfortable in your own skin, then probably self-esteem. On the other hand, self-confidence helps with performing a task or skill well. It’s about excelling and mastering a particular task.


Chapter 6:

Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence, What’s Important for Success?

You can have one without the other. However, it’s much better to have both instead of one. You can be very successful with only self-confidence, but this success will never feel satisfying without healthy self-esteem. Try to build self-confidence in the areas that matter to you; your work, managing your home. Whilst on the other hand, build your self-esteem so you can feel happier in yourself.

Here at Epsychonline, we have heaps of articles on self-confidence and self-esteem. Visit our learn pages to read more. In addition, we have a course on low self-esteem which you can access via our courses page.