Like everyone, you have a self-concept, which is a sense of who you are. It is a habit you’ve developed since the time you were very young, and it’s very familiar to you.

Let’s look at the difference between high self-confidence and low self-confidence.

If You Have High Self-Confidence, You...

 - have respect for yourself and others
 - accept responsibility for your actions
 - know that you can accomplish things, although maybe not perfectly the first time or even every time
 - take pride in at least trying to accomplish things
 - understand your positive qualities
 - create and attain goals in life
 - take command and control of your life
 - feel you are capable of meeting life’s challenges
 - associate with positive people
 - focus on past successes
 - are very productive
 - are highly motivated and believe you have the right attitude to succeed
 - are happy and sure of yourself

With high self-confidence, you respect yourself and others. This attitude is crucial in improving your relationships, your achievements and your happiness.

You are in charge of your life. For example, if your finances are not what you want them to be, you ask yourself what you can do to tap into your creative side to increase what comes to you. You discover what can be done in this situation and make the necessary changes.

If You Have Low Self-Confidence, You...

 - have doubts about your worth
 - have doubts about your acceptability with others
 - compare yourself negatively with others
 - frequently blame others for your shortcomings
 - may act with arrogance and contempt for others
 - may try to prove yourself to others
 - talk negatively to yourself and about yourself, often criticizing yourself
 - concentrate on what you’ve done wrong in the past
 - may be anxious, stressed, and lonely
 - are too nice, apologetic, and ignore your own needs
 - live through others
 - fear confrontation
 - need others’ approval

Low self-confidence is a self-defeating attitude that keeps you stuck in the familiar thoughts, feelings and actions you commonly experience. Even if you have great talents, many accomplishments to your name, and respect from your peers, you know the truth. You’re insecure and may feel you’re flawed and undeserving of any good thing that’s happened in your life.

Ways to Handle Low Self-Confidence

If you have low self-confidence, it’s likely that you’ve been dealing with it in one of these ways:

1 - You believe that your fears that you’re inadequate are valid, and so you’re in continuous frenetic activity to prove your worth to yourself and other people while still doubting yourself. Even though you act happy and successful, you’re really terrified that you’re a failure. Your life is spent constantly competing with other people and burning out.

2 - You blame others and events that have happened in your life for your misery. You act in a helpless fashion, unable to cope with the outside world. You secretly want someone else to come and rescue you. You either pity yourself or are completely indifferent, neither of which help you change or take responsibility for yourself and what is happening in your life. You’re passive about life and take whatever comes your way. You’re passive with other people in your life, agreeing to do whatever they request and then disliking yourself and them. But you don’t speak up. You keep it inside and then sometimes explode over any little thing. This alienates people from you, but you don’t know how to stand up for yourself.

3 - You rebel against everyone else. No one’s opinion matters, especially the people who are closest to you. You’re angry all the time because you feel you’re not good enough. You’re compelled to prove to other people that their judgments and criticisms don’t hurt you and that you enjoy breaking the rules and fighting against authority.

You’re looking at yourself through a lens that is distorted because of your past. You’ve been responding according to your perception, the way you interpret or give meaning to what you’re experiencing. It’s not really who you are. I know this may seem disturbing to you. When you’re familiar with a certain way to be, it can even be frightening to you that you can be any other way.

You’re in a rut! And you don’t know how to get out!

It’s time for a change.

Exercise

Look at all of the qualities of a person with high self-confidence and low self-confidence, and make a list of the ones that you have at this time.

Answer these questions:

Which list is longer? Which ones came from your childhood? Which qualities of a person with low self-confidence do you want to change? What would their opposites look like?

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers kits with articles, guided visualizations, and songs as well as online courses, group coaching and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. To identify where you are now on the confidence scale and understand why you need to grow to be on a much higher level, download her free kit How Self-Confidence Improves Your Life.