personal growth

Written By: DiveThru Team

Reviewed By: Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW


How to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem in 10 Steps

PUBLISHED Jul 30th, 2020 & UPDATED ON Feb 13th, 2023

Ok, team. First things first! We’re going to be talking about how to build confidence and self-esteem and there’s one thing to get clear right off the bat.

Although they’re often used interchangeably, self-confidence and self-esteem are actually quite different. Think of them like cats and dogs. Both in the realm of friendly, adorable household animals but very different. Did we just compare self-confidence and self-esteem to our pets? Apparently yes…

Here’s the deal on the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem:

Self-confidence is the ability to trust (or have confidence) in yourself. This also translates into a broader view of how likely you are to accomplish something. For example, if you train for your track meet, you’ll have more confidence in your ability to succeed.

Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the ability to place value in yourself, and believe in your overall worth as a human being. If you have high self-esteem you do not fear failure or rejection because you know that your worth is not dependent on those things. 

Make sense? Now we just need to learn how to build confidence and self-esteem…keep reading.

First Up, How to Build Confidence

Let’s focus on building that ability to trust yourself to do things, both old and new. These strategies are not rocket science but they will help you recognize your ability to succeed.

But yes, there is a chance this increase in confidence will push you to apply to NASA.

1. Take It One Step at a Time

As with most things we chat about on the DiveThru blog, change will not come overnight. And believing it will come overnight can cause major frustration, which is defs not the goal.

Instead, get into the habit of doing little things every day that create big change. And if you have a couple of bad days, don’t get discouraged. There will be plenty of ups and downs. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

Take a lesson from the Tortoise: slow and steady wins the race. 

2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow. Trying new things will be scary, but that’s kind of the point.

Try to listen to the lululemon bag and do one thing a day that scares you. That will be a good start. Doing one scary thing per day is perfect because it combines taking it one step at a time and stepping out of your comfort zone. 

Here are some small ways to step out of your comfort zone everyday: smile at a stranger, try a new food, find your destination without using Siri, tell someone how you really feel.

After you’ve done these small things, you’ll realize you survived and will gain the confidence to try bigger things.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Believe in You

We are often (or always) our own worst critics. If you’re having trouble developing self-confidence, try to surround yourself with people who are confident in you. You can’t control everything, but you can usually control – to some extent – the people you spend time with.

Say goodbye to the people who diminish you or put you down. Instead, stay close to those who build you up and believe in you. Their support will help you realize that you should believe in yourself too. 

4. Do Something That Makes You Happy

Doing something that you love is good for the soul. Whether it’s exercising, making art, or spending time outside, doing something that you’re passionate about just feels good. And it shows! The better you feel about yourself and how you’re spending your time, the more visible that becomes to others around you. Feeling good makes it easier to be confident in yourself and your choices.

So, you ready to test out our tips on how to be confident? Maybe even start with this one! Do something that makes you happy and then work your way up the list!

Next Up, How to Build Self-Esteem

Ok time to tackle another key element to who we are. We know self-esteem is rooted in the value you place on yourself and your overall worth as a human being. We also know you get to choose what to place that value on. So how do we do that?

We’re gonna unpack that below!

1. Embrace Yourself As You Are

Self-esteem means recognizing your inherent value as a human being. Not the value of your accomplishments or promotions or grades. Just you. All of you. The way you are.

Now, let’s be real. We’re not expecting you to wake up tomorrow morning and love every single thing about yourself. Embracing yourself will not happen overnight. Instead, spend time getting to know yourself and remember that whoever you are is perfectly ok. You don’t have to be who people think you should be – your value does not depend on what they think of you. 

2. Stand Up for Yourself

As we may have mentioned, um 3 seconds ago, you deserve to be happy and proud of who you are. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to put you down and make you believe that you aren’t good enough.

Stand up for yourself. Know that you are deserving of love and respect just the way you are.

To be clear, we’re not saying drop the gloves. What we are saying is make sure you are being treated the way you deserve to be treated. In prioritizing your value, you will start believing it.

It’s a circle: when you have high self-esteem, you stand up for yourself. And when you stand up for yourself, you strengthen your self-esteem. 

3. Notice, and Shift, Your Self-Talk

We all have a voice in our head. Sometimes it’s supportive and encouraging and super great. A lot of times it’s not. If you want to change your self-talk, start by simply recognizing your thoughts. When is it your nice voice and when is it your mean voice?

Then, one thought at a time, try training your brain to use positive language instead of the negative language that may first pop into your head. Research has shown that talking to yourself in the second- or third-person is even more effective because it creates psychological distance.

Statements like “Josie, you feel nervous” remove you from stressful situations and allow you to better cope with your emotions. Try to use these strategies to shift your self-talk; use it to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down.

4. Learn to Accept Compliments

How many times has this happened to you: someone compliments you and you don’t really believe them and you don’t know what to say so you just stand there and, not surprisingly, it becomes this awkward moment and now all you want to do is hide and did we mention awkwarddd??

According to psychologist Guy Winch, one way to boost your self-esteem (and avoid an uncomfortable situation) is to learn to accept those compliments. Just so you know, we think you’re pretty great. And you are completely deserving of any compliments you receive. Instead of brushing them off, try responding with a simple, “thank you”.

As you start accepting compliments, your self-esteem will grow, which will then make it easier to accept more compliments. Another nice little circle of growth. 

And Lastly, Here’s What Will Help You Build BOTH!

Like men’s shower products, we went after some 2-in-1 strategies. These will help you focus on your confidence as well as your self-esteem.

1. Begin a Journaling Practice

Journaling is the best of both worlds: it allows you to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

By writing down and reflecting on the events of the day, journaling builds self-confidence. Write about how you stepped out of your comfort zone. Write about how you survived. When you take the time to reflect on your own experiences, you’ll be able to build on them and see your self-confidence grow. Plus, you’ll be able to apply what you learned to future situations, so you’ll be going in with more knowledge and ultimately, more self-confidence.

Journaling also builds self-esteem because, by writing down your thoughts and exploring your emotions, you are giving yourself a judgement-free zone. In this safe space, you can grow to love yourself and know your worth. You’ll realize that, no matter the outcome of the event, interview, or exam, you are a valued human being.

By using the DiveThru app, you’ll be able to get the introspection and reflection you need, all while connecting with your thoughts on paper. Try it out today by downloading the DiveThru app!

2. Practice Self-Compassion

Let’s cut to the chase. Being kind to yourself is hella important. When you practice self-compassion, you create a safe space where you feel comfortable to try new things and make mistakes.

A judgement-free space to grow builds confidence and trust within yourself. Plus, when you inevitably do make mistakes, you’ll realize that you’re deserving of kindness anyways. Despite your achievements, rejections, or status, you are deserving of love and kindness. Just the way you are.

Lead by example and show yourself love every single day.


Read More: How to Have Difficult Conversations with Your Loved Ones, How to Make Sure Your New Year Goals Are Mindful Resolutions,