In a 2017 Satsang held in Singapore, a devotee asked Swami about the difference between self-confidence and ego. Here is Swami’s reply:
“Confidence is within the Self – your true Self or Divine Self, which is the Divinity within you. Ego is confidence in the body and the mind that you have. When you think that you are capable because of your body, mind and intelligence, it is ego. Whereas, when you think, ‘I am capable of anything only because it is the Divine who breathes through me, who makes the food digest, who makes the blood flow, hands move, eyes see, ears hear, tongue speak and taste, then that is self-confidence. If you think that a particular name is attached to the body, then it is ego. If you attribute your work to God, that is self-confidence, but if you attribute your work to the feeling that it is through your own effort, that is ego.
Many people tell others that you can build self-confidence by becoming educated, learning new skills, and so on – but, self-confidence is truly confidence in God and in the real Self. Everything else is ego. What is happening in all of the institutions and colleges around the world, is that people are saying, ‘Oh, you are so and so; you are capable of such and such.’ That is pampering the ego, not building self-confidence.”