Self-Confidence Vs Self-Esteem

photo cred: T C North

Worry not, this will not devolve into a war of words or transform into an ultimate rap battle between the words self-confidence and self-esteem. Instead I would just like to add some clarity on what we will be discussing and how I plan to move forward with this series. Let’s dive into a definition, shall we?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes self-confidence as:

a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement

The same source sites self-esteem as:

a confidence and satisfaction in oneself

I always used to believe that self-confidence and self-esteem were synonymous. They are indeed similar, but not identical. Self-confidence has to do with perception based on what one can do whereas self-esteem has to do with one’s perception on who one is. Clear enough?

This wonderful graphic should help make things even clearer:

Self-esteem vs confidence

They are different but one thing is certain, to function to the very best of your ability and to enjoy your life to the fullest: YOU NEED BOTH!

For the purposes of future posts not becoming too wordy I will refer to both self-esteem and self-confidence simply as confidence from this moment on. This is to prevent confusion by interchanging the terms and to avoid the mental block that comes with associating the word esteem with the more negative low self-esteem.

Tomorrow we will discuss the Importance of Confidence.

Lying Is Good For You

Lying is good for you! Yup you heard that right. So what does that even mean? I’m not telling you to practise perjury if you’re a lawyer or to hide evidence if you’re a cop. I’m not advising you to commit fraud or not pay taxes. I am saying you have got to lie, every single day of your life. That’s going to set you free from mental prisons, transforming you from the chicken you’ve been told you are to the eagle you were always meant to be.

Let me elaborate on what I mean. The world has given us a series of truths that have already seeped into the recesses of our minds and in most cases have shaped our view of self. You may have been branded as unintelligent, unwise, ugly, terrible at communicating and relegated to a place or position you think (or formerly thought) you don’t belong to. Allow these words to build up and be the only thing you listen to then you’ll believe them to be truth. Do you know why the words hurt you so? It’s because you’ve believed them to be the truth. If you know you are intelligent even your professor can’t make you think otherwise. If you know you are a success you won’t entertain being told you are a disappointment. If you know you are beautiful even Ms. Universe can’t put you down. But how do you know something when it isn’t ‘the truth’ based on what you hear? Simple. You lie… everyday. Tell a lie enough times – you’ll eventually believe it.

Unfortunately your way of thinking is an ensemble of the information you receive. You are bound to hear negative things daily – social media is the bullhorn of negativity. I know not everyone can extricate themselves from it like I’ve done. But you need to come up with a way to hear the ‘lie’ you want more than you hear ‘the truth’ of the world. Enter affirmations and confessions.

Daily speak the things you want. ‘Lie’ and affirm yourself with the traits you desire that you are told you don’t have. Say these things often enough to overshadow ‘the truth’ of this world.

If you can’t switch off or drown out the outside noise, pump up the volume of what you say to yourself within.

If you don’t think you can do that, find a good friend of yours to do it on your behalf. If you can’t even ask them to do that for you maybe check your friendships. I’ll talk about how to pinpoint the right friends on Friday in ‘We Are Not In This Together’.

Below are some confessions you can try out that may change your life:

I am intelligent, wise, focussed, driven, patient, creative, organised and a solution provider – I am mentally strong.

I am confident, outspoken, friendly, honest, great at listening and open-minded – I am a great communicator.

I am beautiful, handsome, kind, healthy, composed, courageous, humble, loving and loved – I am enough.

I am strong, enthusiastic, charismatic, patient, trustworthy, a role model, authentic, a visionary – I am a leader.

Add whatever you need to that list and ‘lie’ till that’s all you know!

I challenge you to test the contents of this post to see if they work or not.

See you tomorrow for part 2 of Lying Is Good For You:  Building Habits.

Singleness Is Underrated

Am I going to be endorsing debauchery in this post? Not one bit. However if you are looking for encouragement and advice in the single phase of your life, carry on, you are most welcome.

Before I enter into why the phase of singleness can be a crucially beneficial time of your life I would like to quash some world notions on the ‘benefits’ of being single. Yes I’m going to sound like a preacher when I denounce couldn’t-care-less relationships, casual sex and nights spent bent over ceramic chambers, but if you are honest with yourself you’ll realise that the aforementioned activities don’t do your physical wellbeing or mental health any favours. Are all these activities fun? They wouldn’t be temptations if they weren’t… but they are bad for you and most likely you don’t need to look deep down to know it. The good news is I’m not here to condemn you but to affirm you! We all have the gift of free will. You aren’t bound to certain actions or habits forever. Today I would like to introduce two terms that will help and will pop up a lot in this ‘Individuality’ series:

  1. Intentionality – living a life of deliberation, without constantly stumbling into things
  2. Plasticine brain – the ability of the brain to change throughout life

Life has prime stages for explosive growth. Singleness is one of them. Another stage is called ‘the Pit’ which I’ll refer to later this week.

When you’re single and intentional in your singleness, you’re in the best time to learn about yourself, the best time to figure out what you enjoy and what you are good at. Often in this chapter of your life you have one major responsibility, yourself, meaning you have more time as you have less people to be responsible over. What can you use this time for? More learning and setting yourself up for whatever your metric of success is. This is achieved first of all by coming up with a metric of success. This is vital. How can you hit the target when you don’t know what you are supposed to be aiming for? In this period explore by reading books, learning languages, travelling, building healthy habits, working to delete bad habits, learning organisation, studying people and coming up with the traits of the person you would want to be with once the phase is over.

I’d like to challenge a fallacy that we let ourselves be deceived by far too often. How many people have you heard say these words, “I wish I had known this when I was younger?” Or “I wish I had known this before I got into the relationship?”. We lie and say we’ll pick up the behaviours we need when we need them. Learning all the above once this singleness phase has passed is possible; it’s much more difficult but it’s possible, it’s why we have plasticine brains – but why would you want to grow a plant in the dry season when you can do so in the rainy season? The friction of embarking on a discovery of self when you have several more responsibilities is incredibly grating.

Lastly we have plasticine brains, which means the old ways of thinking don’t need to be the ways of thinking forever. It means we can learn new things. However it takes significantly more effort to unlearn things than it does to build new habits. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking I’ll do these things now then stop when I’m in a serious relationship or when I reach 30, 40 or 50. You’re setting yourself up to fail and to eventually drown in depression.

Conflict rises when expectations and reality don’t align. Internal conflict leads to stress and prolonged stress may lead to depression. So I’ll help you out a bit and be a bit harsh when I say:

Don’t expect the bad habits you’re cultivating now to instantly disappear when you want them to. Instead be intentional today about what habits you want to build in this crucial period of your time.

Cherish your singleness and grow baby, grow! It may be hard, that’s cool, I’ve got tips to help you do just that starting with tomorrow’s post: ‘Lying Is Good For You’.

P.S. Thank you all for helping this blog reach 100 followers! Onwards and upwards. Be blessed.

 

Living the Standard Life

Now we know to appreciate my traits as an individual and to be grateful for others’ gifts and talents. We know too that we shouldn’t compare myself with my neighbour or it will cause us unnecessary, unwanted stress. Our neighbour is our neighbour and we are ourself. Yet we’ve also learned that we can learn certain good traits from them, observe and apply what we’ve seen to add to ourself so we can be a better version of ourself according to a personal ideal. Today I want to address that concept of an ideal self – also known as a standard.

If you read all the posts I’ve written in the last week in the worst possible context you would probably come out with the conclusion that you are perfect as you are and don’t require change. As the author of the posts I’ll let you know that wasn’t my intention. You are wonderful and you should not allow yourself to be stressed out or condemn yourself for past actions or undesirable traits you possess. Instead, come to an appreciation of who you are and develop an ideal that will spur you on to achieve personal growth. If your goal was to become the world’s best assassin, look at information about assassins, compile a list of the traits that you want to attain and start planning practical methods you can practise to achieve that dream. If you check the name of this blog you’ll know I don’t advocate for such I just wanted to choose an example that you probably haven’t encountered this month.

Christians look to Jesus as an ideal. Believer or not, it makes a lot of sense as he preached and practised loving one’s neighbour as one loves oneself. That statement alone is an ideal that one can live up to for the rest of their life. If you aren’t a very loving person and decide to live by this ideal, you’ll be forced to develop loving attributes. The same applies if your ideal is an incredibly hard worker, an avid reader or a world-renowned communicator. Having an ideal that is or was a real life person is good in that you know it is achievable. It is also limiting in that person may have had traits that you would not like to associate with (they are human after all) and that may stunt your belief in the great traits they have. In comes the idea of ‘ideal agglomeration’ where you come up with a mishmash of traits from people you would consider role models in the areas of life you want to be exceptional in. This is the next level of what we have been talking about. This becomes your ‘Life Standard’ and is something you move towards all your life. It should seem almost impossible to achieve so that you keep growing. If you achieve the landmarks, well done and keep going… maybe  you too will be someone’s ideal role model for something and in that you would have impacted their life positively. That’s what this page is all about.

With that we conclude that comparison series. Tomorrow we enter into the series ‘Individuality’ starting with ‘Singleness Is Underrated’.

The Power Of Being Grateful

Well, if you’ve been keeping up with recent posts you’ll now know that comparison can lead to depression. It’s pretty simple really, we have access to the lives of many people now thanks to social media. Say one person is incredible at singing and you compare yourself (it’s only natural, no?) only to find that you aren’t as good. You are presented with a dilemma often leading to three pathways: acceptance (which for some reason we overcomplicate), ridicule (diminishing the person’s gift or hard work) and competition. The first, acceptance is perhaps the healthiest of the three. Now if you exhibit the other two what happens if you come into contact with more than one such person? What if you encounter a hundred people with a gift you don’t have? There is no way you can be the master of all trades, no one in the world has enough time for that. So the end result of trying on multiple hats that don’t fit you or ridiculing everyone you come into contact with? I’ll take a guess and use the B-word here – bitterness. However if you can accept that you can’t be as good as everybody else at everything else and hone your own craft, measuring up only to yourself – joy won’t be far away. Still there is another level even superior to acceptance – gratitude. Seeing the gifts of others and being grateful for them is some next level zen… stuff. It’s healthy for you on so many levels. If you can see the greatness in others and appreciate them for it, it is far easier for you to identify the things to appreciate in your own life. Also it has the potential to open doors for you since you develop the eyes to see talent. Once you adopt the mentality of:

‘I love what I see in you, I also love what I see in myself’

What can put you down? I challenge you to make an intentional decision to be grateful for the gifts of others, as well as for what has been deposited in you and see how it changes your life.

What’s Your Weight?

I’ll start off by saying I don’t know the stats so this post is mainly based conjecture, therefore perhaps a rhetorical question is in order. Has there been an increase in mental health issues with the rise of social media? I’m sure you’ve read a post or two thousand by now detailing the adverse effects that social media can have on an individual. How could you come out feeling better about the muck you are walking through right now when everywhere you look your ‘friends’ are blinging and showing off their best life? That’s all you ever see isn’t it? Only the very best is what is portrayed on social media. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the very best pictures on your gadget, then have a look at your instagram posts, is there an overlap? I rest my case. What then? Because the comparison we undergo naturally kills a piece of us every time we take a glimpse of the glory in others’ lives should we stay away completely? I’m one of those that doesn’t subscribe to that train of thought. Yes, personally I have taken a step back from Twitter and SnapChat. Yes I haven’t been on instagram in months and I’ve ditched the Facebook app for Messenger Lite – but that’s just me and I realised that’s what I wanted. But one can’t lie to self and deny how powerful a tool social media can be, if used correctly. Your business can thrive because of social media, as a student you can get recognition, opportunities and even scholarships if you use the tools correctly. Perhaps we need to come to the realisation that that is what all these apps are: tools. And like any tools, if you don’t know what they are for, you’ll abuse them and may hurt yourself in the process. My advice? Build yourself up first, get to a point where you know where you are and where you are going such that someone else’s words, someone else’s likes or someone else’s posts won’t move you. Once you’ve built up your self-esteem to a point where comparison isn’t your basic mental posture, you’re free. Otherwise maybe it’s best you stay away until then.