That heading may seem like a strange statement for someone who has dedicated his life to personal and social development but self-confidence is in fact an example of a ‘coco’ or confusing concepts (see previous blog – Avoid the Killer Coco!)
In this case, the confusion is between self-esteem and confidence. In our experience these are two of the most dangerous concepts to confuse. Get this one wrong and it destroys lives.
Confidence is best thought of as ‘awareness of your ability’ – Can you do something?
I can believe that I can do something or I can believe that I can’t do something. It is not until the results are in however that we find out if my confidence was misplaced or accurate. Was I overconfident, under confident or correct.
As confidence is ‘awareness of ability’ it requires two elements to exist: firstly a person and secondly a task that the person can assess. As self-confidence does not include a task it does not make any sense and therefore cannot exist.
The second part of the coco is self-esteem.
True self-esteem is the unattached appreciation of oneself. This is not to be confused with arrogance. Arrogance is to consider oneself fundamentally better than another person or persons. Unattached appreciation means to appreciate oneself without comparison to other people. As it is ‘unattached’ it also means that one’s appreciation for oneself cannot increase or decrease. It is a given! It is fixed and it is immeasurable. Even if you win a gold medal, can’t read, are overweight or use diamonds as toothpicks! It doesn’t matter.
Confidence = Awareness of your ability
Self-esteem = Unattached appreciation of oneself
To confuse these two concepts is to attach your very self-worth with your ability to do things, to connect the value you place on yourself with how successful you consider yourself to be.
With this way of thinking, if you consider yourself to be overweight for example you attach this issue to your fundamental value and become less of a person in your own eyes and if you can sing like a lark you are more of a person etc.
If, the further you are from your given goal the less you value yourself, then there is a point when your life is worthless.
By separating self- esteem and confidence however you can value yourself regardless. You may still want to lose weight or drive a posh car but your personal value is not dependent on your achievement.
With this mind-set you have an unshakable foundation from which to attempt anything you wish.
We find that people with this coco either don’t attempt things to avoid failure or are driven to succeed at everything they do in order to bolster their self-image but never find a sense of self-worth in their achievements. That is because self-worth is not connected to achievement in the same way that self-esteem is not connected to confidence.