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Building Self-Confidence by Strengthening Self-Worth

Forums are filled with suggestions on how to gain more self-confidence, and coaches are inundated with requests from people who want to have more self-confidence. But what is self-confidence exactly and what do people who say they lack self-confidence actually miss? There's a good chance that they are actually seeking more self-worth because usually, they trust themselves just fine.

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is the ability to trust in your knowledge and skills, whether you can or cannot do or know something. It's quite handy to have because without self-confidence, we would do the craziest and most dangerous things that we actually can't do, or we would question whether we're capable of doing the dishes every time we start.

So, it's about trusting yourself whether you master something or not. I speak Dutch, English, and German, and understand a bit of Hungarian, French, and Spanish. In terms of everyday language, I can trust my Dutch, English, and German, but not the other three languages. However, if I had to attend a conference on nanoparticles in German, chances are I wouldn't understand half of it. What you have self-confidence about depends on the situation.

Can you build self-confidence?

Most people really do know where they're good at and where they're not. What often happens is that they find certain situations nerve-wracking, which leads to doubting themselves. So, this actually has nothing to do with self-confidence, but with self-worth. Sufficient self-worth ensures that you can be yourself in any situation.

Simply put, you can't actually build self-confidence because you already have it. You can at most work on your self-worth. Some people do this with the help of a coach, and others by reading self-help books or articles like these.

What is self-worth?

Self-worth is the value you assign to yourself, regardless of what you know, or are able to do. You can compare it to a mother who assigns value to her child. It doesn't matter what her child can, does, or knows; her child is of immeasurable value, and she loves it unconditionally.

Imagine if you looked at yourself in the same way and loved yourself in that way. Would you still feel uncomfortable in certain situations, or would you just be able to be there as you are?

How does low self-worth arise?

Much in our society is focused on achievement. In kindergarten, you have to color within the lines, then you have to get good grades, and once you start working, it's about achieving the highest position, living in the nicest house, or driving the fastest car.

If you're good at something, you're praised, and if you make a mistake, you're looked down upon. Even though there are plenty of people who don't care about this, you still see it happening around you all day.

Because we're so focused on doing things right and trying not to make mistakes, we can easily identify ourselves with our knowledge and behavior. As if that's who we really are. Only when we become aware that we have behavior, speech, thoughts, and emotions, but are much more than our behavior, speech, thoughts, and emotions, can we see self-confidence and self-worth separately.

If we don't do that, we validate our self-worth based on what other people think of us.

Language also plays a big role in having low self-worth. Suppose someone says you're worthless to the company; what they actually mean is that the company doesn't have confidence that you have qualities that can contribute to the value of the company. So, it actually says something about trust and nothing about your (own) worth, but it sounds like it!

The same goes when we talk to ourselves in that way. If you tell yourself you're worthless, chances are you mean you don't have confidence in your knowledge or skills in a certain field.

How do you notice that you have low self-worth?

People with low self-worth can sometimes be quite difficult to deal with and are also capable of making life very difficult for themselves. You can tell whether you or someone else has low self-worth if the person or you:

  • Have difficulty with criticism

  • Feel uncomfortable around strangers

  • Are afraid to make mistakes or are perfectionistic

  • Try out few new things

  • Usually see other people as better or more knowledgeable

  • Have difficulty setting boundaries and being assertive for themselves

  • Constantly compare themselves to others and consider themselves inferior

  • Sacrifice themselves to please others or to avoid conflict

  • Have difficulty accepting compliments and reject or downplay them

  • Tend to be self-critical and engage in negative self-talk

  • Constantly seek validation from others to feel good about themselves

  • Show little initiative in pursuing personal goals or interests.

Someone with low self-worth doesn't have to suffer from all of the above points, but a person who does meet all those points would do well to seek the help of a coach. People with sufficient self-worth go through life more easily and often much happier, and a coach can help you with that.

How to raise self-worth?

You can relatively easily raise your self-worth on your own. If you consistently stop comparing yourself to others, give yourself compliments, and accept yourself, you'll notice that within 1 to a maximum of 2 weeks, you'll feel very different and much more positive about yourself. But again, if you want quicker results, a professional coach with experience in this area is definitely recommended.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Every person is unique at the cellular level, in terms of appearance, knowledge, and skills. One person may be considered more beautiful according to today's fashion, another may be smarter, and yet another kinder. When we start comparing ourselves, what exactly are we comparing? We cannot be compared as a whole.

Especially by frequently scrolling through social media and flipping through fashion magazines, you unconsciously start comparing yourself to certain aspects. Therefore, stop using social media and/or fashion magazines for a week or two. Use that time to exercise, relax, or clean your house.

Give yourself compliments

You can call it positive affirmations, but they're actually just compliments to yourself. Take 10 minutes every morning and every evening in silence to give yourself as many compliments as possible. This can range from how well you cooked to how nice you were to the cashier at the supermarket.

If you need more than 10 minutes because you can give yourself many more compliments, by all means, do so. The more compliments, the better it is for your self-worth.

Accept yourself

Take a moment every day to look at yourself in your mind with the gaze a mother has in her eyes when she looks at her child and say to yourself: "I accept you as you are."

For some, this can feel overwhelming, but try it and you'll see it gets easier every day.

What does more self-worth bring?

People with sufficient self-worth can trust in their knowledge and skills in any situation and therefore exude self-confidence. They can fully enjoy their talents, and because they're not concerned with what others think of them, they enjoy their environment and activities much more.

In addition, people with sufficient self-worth are resilient, making them better able to cope with setbacks.

More self-confidence and self-worth through coaching

If you decide to work on your self-worth and thus your self-confidence with the help of a coach, pay close attention to the coach's experience. I work as an executive coach online or in Amsterdam, Amstelveen, or Aalsmeer, but I'm only available for entrepreneurs or executives. As a consumer, I can refer you to someone like Aranka van der Pol.


Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Confidence and Self-Worth

What is the difference between self-confidence and self-worth?

Self-confidence refers to the belief in your own abilities and knowledge, while self-worth is the value you assign to yourself regardless of your achievements, skills, or knowledge.

How can I build self-confidence?

Self-confidence is not so much built as it is strengthened by developing sufficient self-worth. This can be achieved through positive affirmations, taking on challenges, and cultivating a positive inner dialogue.

What is self-worth and why is it important?

Self-worth is the fundamental sense of worth and love for yourself, regardless of external factors. It's important because it forms the basis for a healthy self-image and self-acceptance, which are essential for emotional well-being.

How does low self-worth arise?

Low self-worth can arise from various factors, such as social pressure to perform, negative self-talk, comparison with others, and external validation of self-worth.

How do I recognize signs of low self-worth in myself?

Signs of low self-worth can manifest as difficulty with criticism, perfectionism, constant comparison with others, difficulty accepting compliments, self-criticism, and seeking validation from others.

How can I build my self-worth?

Self-worth can be built through self-reflection, avoiding comparison with others, giving yourself compliments, accepting who you are, and avoiding negative self-talk.

What benefits does strong self-worth offer?

People with sufficient self-worth can better cope with challenges, enjoy life more, have more self-confidence, and are more resilient in the face of setbacks.

How can coaching help strengthen self-worth?

A coach can help identify limiting beliefs, develop self-acceptance, address negative thought patterns, and create positive change in people's lives.

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