Firstly, it’s important to distinguish between confidence and self-esteem. Although often used synonymously, they are not quite the same.

Self-esteem is the overall opinion we have of ourselves—that is, do we generally like or dislike the man in the mirror? Confidence, on the other hand, is the outer expression of our self-esteem—it’s the manifestation of it.

Because of the above distinction, as one can easily grasp, self-esteem is much harder to influence than confidence. That is, as often accentuated by the psychology studies and the self-help articles and books, we can rather successfully learn to appear more confident (the “fake it ’til you make it” mantra), while sometimes, we may not feel much self-assurance on the inside.

That is, confidence can be mastered.

So, what do we do to leverage this awareness?

Generally, what has been overly publicized by the self-improvement gurus is not an empty propagation–it tends to work in the long-run, and practice does make better—such as, take care of yourself, exercise, look neat, learn to speak slower and perhaps more sophisticated, use expansive gestures, stand straight, maintain eye contact, listen to others and learn to relate to any situation or a person.

Other useful tips for building confidence include expanding one’s network of friends and allies. Therefore, communication is important. Even if one is socially anxious, seeking support from others and relying on your close circle of allies is essential to learning how to project and feel more confident—by knowing that you have friends you can trust, a safety net.

Hence, another key to confidence is to be friendly and warm, but beware of being too polite—trying to hard to please others is not a successful strategy for building lasting friendships.

Finally and most importantly, know that true confidence comes from having a healthy self-esteem. If a person lacks self-assurance, they may need to take a deeper dive into their personality—i.e. to find the reasons behind one’s low self-respect—it may be something from the past, one’s family, the environment they grew up with, something they feared as a child, or if they simply constantly compare yourself to others.

Once you find the reason, we can define the steps that will work for you–on how to heal yourselves.

Change is absolutely possible, but it can only ensue from the willingness to improve our circumstances and from working at this with a certain dose of persistence.