Many people think of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect as synonyms of each other, I prefer to look at them as the three selfs we all have that must be working properly to give us the best chance of finding success in life.
In my FREE eBook, 10 Steps to #DefineYourself, self-esteem is defined as being comfortable with who you are, accepting you have faults and flaws like everyone else and most importantly – liking who you are.
In my early and mid-twenties, I struggled a lot with who I was along with not liking myself. I quickly realized that I had self-esteem issues and I needed to do something to get that on track if I wanted to have a successful life.
One day, while sulking at the neighborhood drug store, I ran across a large poster entitled “I am me and I am okay”. I stood at the display reading and re-reading that poster for probably ten or so minutes. I allowed the words from that poster to be absorbed by my brain as a sponge absorbs liquid.
Phrases like “I own everything about me” and “I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes” empowered me to realize that I can become whomever I want to be in life.
Phrases like “If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought and felt turned out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I have discarded.” And “I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive.” Gave me hope that I am in control of who I am and most importantly, whom I can become – regardless of what others think or say about me.
The one phrase that really spoke to me form that poster was printed at the very bottom. It read “I am me and I am okay!”.
I kept reading that phrase repeatedly until I convinced myself that I needed that poster.
I placed that poster onto the wall that was directly outside of my bedroom in my one-bedroom apartment. I wanted it in a place that it would be the first thing I saw every morning when I waked out of my bedroom and I would see it every time I walked up and down that hallway.
I didn’t just glance at it, I read it daily – sometimes several times a day. Over time it helped me to like who I was. The words on that poster helped me realize that having flaws and imperfections in life is normal. Most importantly that allthough I was disabled, I still can offer something in a relationship.
I believe you can not have a healthy amount of self-confidence without first developing your own self-esteem.
My definition of self-confidence reads “believing in yourself that you can do anything you want and be whomever you want to be in life.”
When the confidence that you have for yourself comes not from what others say or think about you but comes solely (or at least primarily) from within yourself, then I believe that you have a healthy level of self-confidence.
It is very important that most, if not all, your self-confidence comes from within. Believe me, I speak from personal experience. If your only source of gaining confidence in your abilities come from others, you are giving other people way too much power over your life and your future.
What I have done in the past, and I still do to this day, to help build and maintain a healthy level of self-confidence is simple. When I feel my self-confidence waning, I look at all the successes I have had in my life. Especially when I achieved something that seemed impossible or at least daunting at the time. I remind myself that if I did it before, I can do it again. By doing this I keep my self-confidence high and me on the right track for success in life.
I believe that self-respect is knowing what your worth is and not allowing it to be undervalued or underappreciated by others.
I also believe that when you have a healthy amount of self-esteem and self-confidence your self-respect will quickly mature.
People with self-respect know that they are an asset to those they interact with in their jobs/careers, in their faith, in their neighborhoods and communities, in their families, and in their relationships.
Everyone who has self-respect will not allow anyone else to use them as a doormat. They will not be taken advantage of, they know their worth and will accept nothing less that what is fair compensation for their time.
A cautionary word…
When you reach a level of self-respect, be sure that you do not let it go to your head. Keep yourself grounded. No one likes an overconfident ego-maniac. Remember, have a healthy level of the 3 selfs, and always be humble.