In my previous article, I mentioned that self-trust is unconditional reliance on oneself, which is different from self-credit, which is conditional reliance on oneself. I also mentioned that it is easy to lose sight of ourselves if we only accumulate conditional “self-credit”.
In this article, I will tell you more about self-trust by continuing to talk about what it is NOT.
Self-trust is different from self-efficacy
Similar to self-belief, but not the same, is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a concept proposed by Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist, and is defined as follows.
The definition of Self-Efficacy:
People’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.
（Bandura, A. (1977,1994) Self-efficacy.）
Self-efficacy, in layman’s terms, is the belief that one can solve a certain problem or challenge. The point is that we assume what we want to accomplish in a given situation.
In my case, during the pandemic of 2020, my self-efficacy was low at first because I could not see the future and there were moments when it seemed that there were many things that I could not control, but after a while, my self-efficacy increased as I changed the way I perceived things and implemented several strategies that often worked.
As we can see in this example, self-efficacy can be enhanced or diminished by a change in the assumed situation or by a change in one’s state of mind even in the same situation.
The fact that self-efficacy changes depending on the situation means that self-efficacy is a conditioned cognition. This is one of the differences between self-efficacy and self-trust.
In addition, self-efficacy also involves making judgments in terms of whether or not we can accomplish things well. Self-trust, on the other hand, is not about being good or bad, but about seeing oneself as one is, without the element of judgment.
Self-trust is also different from self-esteem
Another concept that is not dissimilar to self-trust is self-esteem. This is a concept that has been discussed in psychology for a long time, and is defined as follows.
The definition of Self-Esteem:
Self-esteem is a personal judgment of the worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds towards oneself.
（Coopersmith, S. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem.）
There are many different definitions of self-esteem, and there is no standardized one, but one of the classic definitions is the one above. While self-efficacy assumes what we want to achieve in a certain situation, self-esteem does not assume such a situation, but rather refers to the ability to view oneself in a positive light based on a comprehensive assessment of various situations and aspects.
Compared to self-efficacy, it feels more unconditional than conditional in the sense that it does not assume a specific situation, but it is still similar to self-efficacy and different from self-trust in the sense that it makes a value judgment of good or bad.
Self-trust is also different from self-esteem in social contexts
Recently, the term “self-esteem in social contexts” also seems to be used in Japanese school education. The National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has proposed the concept of self-esteem in social contexts as a different concept from self-esteem. (Click here for details)
The definition of Self-Esteem in social context:
A positive judgment of one’s self that comes from being able to accept the relationship between oneself and others (group and society) in a positive way.
（National Institute for Educational Policy Research, Japan）
It is the same as self-efficacy and self-esteem in that it is a positive evaluation of oneself, but it differs from these two concepts in that it is based on the relationship between oneself and others.
Self-Esteem in social context is a concept that is characteristic of Japanese society, which has a strong tendency toward collectivity in its propensity for individuality and collectivity. As you may have sensed, it is the same as self-efficacy and self-esteem in the sense that it is something that is judged to be good or bad based on some standard, and is different from self-trust.
Self-trust is close to self-acceptance
There are other concepts of self-XX sense, but not all of them are different from self-trust, and some of them are closer to self-trust than others. One of them is the concept of self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance is a much-discussed topic in positive psychology, and is defined as follows.
The definition of Self-acceptance:
An individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or
（Morgado, F. F. da R., Campana, A. N. N. B., & Tavares, M. da C. G. C. F. (2014). Development and Validation of the Self-Acceptance Scale for Persons with Early Blindness）
The hallmark of self-acceptance is the acceptance of both positive and negative things. There is no right or wrong in acceptance. It is the same as the feeling of accepting oneself as one is.
The opposite of the word acceptance is rejection. Self-acceptance refers to accepting, rather than rejecting or ignoring, whatever is positive or negative.
I believe that self-acceptance is very similar to self-trust in the sense that it is unconditional. If there is a difference, it is in the time frame, with self-acceptance having a shorter time frame and self-trust having a longer time frame.
Self-congruence (i.e., capturing intuition, thinking, and bodily awareness as they are from meta-consciousness), which I have introduced in previous articles, is also a concept close to self-acceptance and self-trust, and I have the impression that self-congruence is the closest of all of them to a sense of the here and now, moment by moment.
The above figure is a summary of the concept of self-XX sense that I have introduced so far. Although self-efficacy, self-esteem, and self-esteem in social context differ in terms of whether they are judged from the perspective of “things,” “self,” or “people,” they all have in common the conditional reliance on oneself, and in this sense, I consider them to be equivalent to self-credit.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, self-congruence, self-acceptance, and self-trust have in common that they capture the self as it is, unconditionally, and I see the difference as being in the length of the time frame.
To add a point here, self-credit views the self as thinking-consciousness-centered, in the sense that it judges according to some standard. Self-trust, on the other hand, is a meta-consciousness-centered view of the self, just as self-congruence is.
In this article, I have presented various new concepts and talked about the differences between them and self-trust. Although there was a lot of information in this article, and it may have been difficult to understand some parts of it, I hope that it has helped you to understand the concept of self-trust in a very comprehensive and accurate way.
Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
・When you look at the figure of “Positioning Self-Concept”, which self-concept do you often become aware of in your daily life?
・When you look at the “Positioning Self-Concept” figure, which self-concept, if any, would you like to become newly aware of in the future? And why is that?