The Difference Between Self-Confidence and Self-Worth

my experience Jan 07, 2020

Back in 2014 when I embarked on my self-growth-healing journey, a friend of mine gifted me a book called, The Circle by Laura Day. It wasn’t just any book - it was a workbook that mystically took you from where you are to wherever you want to be. The first page prompted you to take your stance on your desires. “Write your positive affirmation here…” the book read. I paused for a good while.

“What do I want?” I asked myself as a million and one desires flooded my mind. Success, strength, love, beauty, my own business, healthy friendships, my fullest potential, to speak up for myself, to express who I am… all ideas.

For some reason, all of it seemed unattainable. There was a key piece missing for me to even fathom accomplishing those wishes.

“What do I really want?” I asked myself again as I tuned into to really listen.

Suddenly a million and one more visions flooded my mind, but this time they were less pleasing. They were images of me hiding behind my mom’s legs as a little girl and burrowing my face in my dad’s chest. They were every moment I nervous-laughed after I spoke about anything. They were of all the times I ran, I cowered, played small, and hid. They were of my Achilles heel: my painfully deep-rooted shyness.

“Confidence.” I whispered out loud.

“I am confident,” I scrawled out onto the page. This, I believed, was the root – my key and my healing salve to all my weaknesses and self-restrictions.

As I began my work, the book became my greatest companion. From inner roadblocks to outer obstacles, I noted my every move and realization in and around my self-confidence. I pushed my own limits, noticed the shifts and set my intentions to fully and totally embody this new concept. During my favorite chapter of this workbook, “Synchronicities,” I was walking down my favorite beach on Maui when a beautiful woman ran across the sand in front of me. She was laughing and yelling, “Tahiti! Tahiti!” as she chased an adorable little girl.

The moment stopped me in my tracks. I kept looking back at these two… embodying my dream of having children in the future and this beautiful woman with a baby with such an exotic name… In Maui, nonetheless, the place I love most. It felt like a universe-given visualization for me manifest upon.

As I trotted forward, toes in the ocean, I asked for the universe’s validation of this magical little scene.

“I am confident,” I told myself.

Suddenly the wind picked up, spinning particles into mini whirling tornados. The palms swayed and the waves continued to crash as the dust settled and the wind died, but something caught my eye. A giant, perfectly circular ring of sand picked up off the shore began hurling straight at me. As the ring moved towards me, a rush of exhilaration shot up in my body. The Circle! I thought as I jumped into the ring. Just as suddenly as it picked up, the circle dissipated as my feet landed in the center of it. Synchronicities.

Throughout the duration of this book and my work on confidence, millions of unexplainable mystical moments came dancing around me. Words couldn’t do them justice, but to me, they signified my becoming and the support I had from the universe.

By the end of The Circle, I felt like a different person. The negative words in my head that kept me shy and meek had been replaced with “I am confident.” I was taking bigger risks, making bigger strides, connecting more openly and seeing through my visions. I was confident.

Months later, I realized that though I had grown immensely in connecting, presenting and expressing myself, there was still something missing. There was still a little voice inside of me questioning if there was room for me at the table, if my statements were useless or if I had any business doing anything at all, really. What is this? I kept asking myself. I’d done the work. I was doing the work everyday maintaining my confidence.

One day, it clicked: it was no longer confidence that I lacked - it was self-worth.

I studied this deep part of myself and realized I spoke with power, but when someone challenged me, I’d step back only to think they knew better. I sat tall on my throne, but when someone else came along, I’d give up my seat, as they were probably more worthy of it than I. I felt stronger and I felt capable, but I didn’t really believe I deserved any of it. For some reason, when it came down to it, everyone was worthier and readier than I was.

I changed all of my passcodes, sticky notes and mantras to: “I am worthy.” I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy… until I believed it. This one took months, but I was relentless. I am worthy of a seat at the table. I am worthy of a healthy body. I am worthy of money. I am worthy of a break. I am worthy of a vacation. I am worthy enough to speak. I am worthy enough to challenge this stance. I am worthy of saying no. I am worthy of my hopes, dreams and aspirations. I am worthy.

I read that best-selling author and clinical psychologist, Dr. Christina Hibbert says, "Self-esteem [confidence] is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognizing “I am greater than all of those things”. It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am lovable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth. It is possible to feel “high self-esteem,” or in other words, to think I’m good at something, yet still not feel convinced that I am lovable and worthy. Self-esteem doesn’t last or “work” without self-worth.."

I don’t know if I’ll ever be done growing or pushing my own emotional and mental limits in this area. I still feel shaky sometimes, I still doubt and hesitate, but I have grown in my self-worth and self-confidence greater than I could've ever believed or known I could.

Self-work is just as important as my real work – and it's usually even harder. But ultimately, it makes everything easier. It makes relationships stronger, successes bigger, directions clearer, and pain softer.

Check your blind spots, do the work, heal your soul.

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