Self-confidence is the belief in oneself and one’s abilities. It describes an internal state made up of what we think and feel about ourselves. As with any mental state, one’s confidence is changeable according to the situation we are currently in and our responses to events going on around us. Thus it is not unusual to feel quite confident in some circumstances and less confident in others.

Our self-confidence is also influenced by past events and how we remember them. In other words,  recalling a former success has a very different outcome in terms of our confidence levels than thinking about an occasion when we failed. Learning to re-frame such failure in more positive terms (such as learning valuable lessons) can therefore help in building one’s self-confidence.

Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Self-esteem is our appraisal of our own worth. People with healthy self-esteem do not need to validate themselves with such external things as income, status, or notoriety. Someone with high self-esteem is more resilient to disappointment and setbacks, more willing to take risks to reach success,  and are more open to growing experiences.  Confidence fosters self-esteem in time.

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to be effective, and is often colloquially used synchronously with self-confidence. However, self-efficacy refers to one’s judgement about his or her own ability to perform a specific task or skill while self-confidence is less precise, implying an individual’s trust on a wider range of his or her own resources or strengths.

We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves mastering skills and achieving goals that are relevant to those skill areas.  In essence it is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we’ll succeed; and it’s this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks.

Building Self-Confidence

While working on my notes for this area, I stumbled across the below links which so perfectly touched on this topic that I am going to refer you to that while I continue to clean up my own notes to eventually include in this section.


While confidence is described as the state of being sure of one’s abilities and correlates with our past experiences, overconfidence is the overestimation of one’s abilities or underestimation of a given situation.

Confidence is based on one’s Work; It is earned.  Overconfidence on the other hand is based purely on one’s attitude and assumptions and may be mistaken for high self-esteem.  However, an overconfident person will likely focus on justifying or validating themselves where someone with true self-esteem would have no such need.

Despite the grandiose claims which come from the overconfident, overconfidence stems from deep feelings of inadequacy and an inability to cope with life. It is a compensatory mechanism to mask self-doubt. A good indicator that overconfidence may be at play is and attitude of arrogance and narcissism.

Remember that self-confidence comes from within. No amount of outside approval or validation can make us confident. Be mindful of yourself and your motivations, and acknowledge feelings of low self-worth which fuels overconfident behavior.

Most importantly, in developing true self-confidence and self-esteem, be forgiving of yourself.  The first step to developing self-esteem is in learning the value of acceptance and forgiveness.

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