364: Ask David: Self-Esteem vs Self-Confidence vs Self-Acceptance

Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence, and Self-Acceptance

What’s the Difference? What’s More Important?

Questions for today’s Ask David podcast

David asks: What’s the difference between self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-acceptance?

Guillermo asks: How do you help people who are not asking for help or don’t even know they need help with depression?

The answers to today’s questions in these show notes were written before the podcast. The information on the podcast may be quite different and will typically provide much more information than the brief answers below. David

David asks: What’s the difference between self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-acceptance?

Hello David,

The mental health world seems to like or argue about the meaning of terms like self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-acceptance? What’s the difference between them, and which one is the best thing to have?

David’s response: Great question, David. I think of self-confidence as the conviction that you’re probably going to win because you’re very good at something. Self-esteem, in contrast, is the decision to love yourself whether you win or lose. Between those two, I’d say that self-confidence is more fun, but self-esteem is more important.

But where does self-acceptance fit in? That’s the big buzz word these days, although the concept has been around for ages. We’ll have to ask the experts today to find out where it fits in! I’m a bit confused at the moment!

 Guillermo asks: How do you help people who don’t know that they need help with depression?

Hello, Dr Burns

I was curious as to how you would help someone who isn’t aware (or capable to know–but not in a medical sense) that they need help. You’ve said before that the worst thing you can do is try to help (especially when no one asked for help), but how have you handled in the past cases when someone isn’t aware that they need help for depression?

Seems like it would be very tough without the person being motivated.

As always, thank you for all you do,

Guillermo Campos

Rhonda, Matt, and David will reply on the podcast.

David and Rhonda are grateful that Matt can join us often on the podcast. We are both members of the Matt May fan club and believe he is one of the finest therapists on planet earth. He is a board-certified, Stanford-trained psychiatrist and expert in TEAM-CBT. You can contact him at:

Dr. Rhonda Barovsky is a Level 5 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. You can reach her at

You can reach Dr. Burns at

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