Self Esteem and Self Confidence. Written for "The Temple Magazine"
It is impossible to talk about self-confidence and self-esteem without first acknowledging whether they are the same or similar. If nothing else we have learnt over our many years of experience that self- confidence and self- esteem may seem like the same thing but they are not.
For instance…you can be self-confident enough to stand in front of a crowd and deliver a talk and yet at the same time feel you are not worthy of any accolades that may come your way…..lack of self-esteem. In other words you can be self-confident without a shred of self-esteem. The major difference is: Self Confidence can be learnt and taught almost instantly these day whereas self- esteem comes from a much deeper place within. It is an unerring belief in yourself that cannot be taught by others but must be learnt and dare we say it, earned from ourselves. For the majority of us it has to be built block by block, bit by bit, day by every day. An ongoing constantly evolving and developing part of self. Repaired when it is broken by a word or act performed, normally by another that undermines that burgeoning and fragile belief in oneself.
You can pretend to be self- confident but you cannot pretend to have self- belief…it will always show in your words and actions especially when you talk about yourself. It will be the words in your inner dialogue and thoughts. This would be the first place to start looking at how you really see and talk about you. Also the joking put downs we all use to describe ourselves to others that we secretly “know” or “believe” to be true.
The Elders of tribes, even today, are recognised as such because of their self-esteem. They know it is their place to hold the wisdom and knowledge of the world, the Universe and the tribe. To pass it on. They stood in their own power and knowing of who they were; wisdom and knowledge/knowing: the basis of self-esteem. Learnt over years of listening, of putting it into practise. Of walking their talk and learning to totally trust their instincts and inner truths, not only for themselves but for the good of all.
It is only when you go beyond self that you realise that your personal growth is not only for yourself but others. This is self-esteem. It is what you pass on to others as well as your children and grandchildren. Known as “Mana” by the Maori of Aotearoa/New Zealand, self- esteem is what they worked on every day. It is the personal energy that you carry. It is how you show up and address situations and daily life challenges. Think of a highly trained master in Martial Arts. He doesn’t need to say or do anything. It is the energy of self that he carries with him that calls forward respect from self and others. Self-esteem goes hand in hand with self-respect. To gain self-esteem is to “polish” your soul each day.
Paul and Phoebe Hoogendyk