Many of selfhelp-books I've been exposed to promote the idea of self esteem and confidence as the two separate things, and that your self esteem can be improved by saying nice things to yourself. Is this supported by evidence?
Here is a notable example, though Swedish: Självkänsla nu! : din personliga coach visar hur.
And one in English, in HuffPo by Jenny Florence, a "BACP Acc Counsellor, UKRC reg Therapist, Writer, Mother, Creator and Author of the A-Z of Emotional Health online Audio Library, the Home of Emotional Meditation, Author of Emotional Health, The Voice of Our Soul":
People often talk about confidence and self-esteem together, but they’re actually very different. This doesn’t mean that people who have good self-esteem won’t be confident, or that people who are confident won’t also have good self-esteem, but it’s not always the case. Some people have very good self-esteem and yet lack in confidence whilst others are incredibly confident but have very low self-esteem, in fact if someone is extremely confident then low self-esteem can be very well hidden.
A good way to think about the difference is that self-esteem is an internal experience and confidence is an external experience. Let me explain what I mean. Self-esteem relates to the way that we feel about ourselves, it’s a reflection of our inner sense of self value and entitlement, whereas confidence is a reflection of the way that we experience ourselves in our external world, in our relationships with other people and with situations and circumstances.
Confidence can be very specific. We can feel confident in some situations, yet not in others. We might feel confident in our working relationships and yet not in our closer, more intimate encounters; confident within certain social settings and yet not at all in others. Confidence is also something we can learn, like a skill, and the more we do, the more our confidence will grow. So for example, if I lack the confidence to cook, I could do a cookery course and overcome my difficulties but if my self-esteem is low, even if I became a confident cook and incredibly good at it, I might never acknowledge my achievement or place any value on it. Despite being confident the feel good factor is missing and my poor self-esteem will remain. [...]
If you recognize that you have low self-esteem here’s a really useful exercise that you might find helpful. [...] Most people with low self-esteem have a notoriously active inner critic. [...] Learn to press a pause button. If your inner critic is a default position that you slide into easily then this may take a few practice runs. The key here is that if you do slip into a default position, it’s really important not to then criticize yourself for doing this, be supportive of your learning process, and because people with low self-esteem very rarely reward themselves when you notice your inner critic and when you press the pause button, please validate and acknowledge yourself. This is an achievement and validation is crucial to the growth of our self-esteem.
So here are the seven golden rules of self-esteem: Learn to listen to yourself... Turn off your inner critic... Become reflective rather than reactive... Be kind to yourself... Have a go and reward yourself for doing so, regardless of the outcome... Be supportive of your learning process... Validate your achievements, however small you may think they are...