Today’s objective: Understand the concept of self-love and how it relates to self-confidence and self-esteem.
Today let’s start with the very basics of the program: looking at the three concepts which are often confused when it comes to how we relate to ourselves: self-confidence, self-esteem – and the idea of self-love. Of course, it is true to say that all three are inter-connected. But it is very important to figure out the differences to achieve actual self-love. To do this, I’ll first look briefly at the very traditional concepts of self-confidence and self-esteem – and then show how self-love relates to these two concepts.
Self-confidence and self-esteem themselves are often confused and used interchangeably, although they are quite different. Confidence is the belief that someone (something) has the ability and is able to “deliver” on something: for example we can be confident that a performer in a theatre can perform well in front of an audience. In the same way, self-confidence is our own confidence in doing something well. Often this can be very specific to certain situations: for example you may have a lot of confidence finding out about great new places in your home city. But you may have little confidence in speaking a foreign language well.
Self-esteem on the other hand is how we relate to ourselves overall: it is the emotional appraisal of ourselves. It is much more global than self-confidence: a person with high self-esteem, will have little motivation, for example, to show off or try to impress others, as he is happy with himself. High, self-esteem is linked to healthy and respectful behaviour towards one-self. This person maybe confident or not in his particular ability to deliver or do something well.
On the flip-side, people with low self-esteem often hide behind areas of their personality, money, prizes etc… which appear to show their ability. If all fails, people with low self-esteem may often seek refuge in drugs or compulsive sexual behaviours. It may appear as if these people have high self-esteem, but, in fact they are not: For example, someone who hides behind titles, money or other ‘confidence props’, is most likely suffering from low self-esteem. This often becomes a very toxic cycle, both for the person himself and for others around him. People with low self-esteem often resort to “falling back on” one area they are confident in: As they are usually able to “deliver” in the area, the success then makes them even more confident in this area. But this may become an avoidance strategy of dealing with areas they are less confident in, in order to avoid exposing their low esteem of themselves.
For people around them, people with low self-esteem can rarely be a supportive or motivating friend: Recognising the potential in others and helping someone to be better than one-self takes a lot of self-esteem.
Self-love complements the idea of self-esteem. While esteem can be high or low, love (at least true love), can only have one true form: unconditional and accepting. Think of someone you loved. You may be able to identify many, many flaws in that person – but you still love that person. This is the basis of the idea of self-love, only this time, the idea is to love yourself – with all your little flaws and imperfections. Thus, it isn’t blind or exaggerated love for yourself, but a way to see your positives and your little imperfections – loving all of them together. The aim of the next 30 days is to achieve exactly this.
Take-home message for today: There are three different concepts how we relate to ourselves. The most important one is self-love: accepting yourself in a realistic way, recognising your imperfections and loving your strengths.
You will need your notebook.
The activity today is to identify areas in your life I which you feel you are particularly confident – and areas in which you feel you are not confident at all. The aim is to reflect on the difference between esteem and confidence, and also identify different areas and levels of confidence for working on during the next few days.
Time: approximately 30-40 minutes.
1. In your notebook draw a line in the middle of the page.
2. On the one side of the line, list all the areas you can think of that you are confident in.
3. On the other side of the line, list all the areas you feel not confident in.
4. Finally, take a look at the list and see how the items on both sides relate to your self-esteem. Identify areas which you may be using as “fallback” areas to boost your self-esteem, and those areas you maybe avoiding.
Please note: this can be a quite challenging activity. Take your time with it and be gentle but honest with yourself. After completing the main activity please complete the reflection questions below. These are an important part of the daily activities. By thinking about the activity you help yourself to “digest” what you have learned and make it stick more easily.
How was the activity for you?
Best thing about the activity?
What did you learn?
“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”
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