Self-Worth vs. Self-Esteem

Years ago, I attended a workshop where the topic of self-esteem came up.  The facilitator of the workshop made reference to a California self-esteem initiative which indicated that self-esteem is highly resistant to change.  Many of the women at the workshop were surprised to hear those results. I wasn’t, however.  The reason is because I believe that self-esteem is the way we view ourselves, whereas self-worth goes much deeper.  Self-worth touches upon our value and how we feel about ourselves.

The dictionary defines self-esteem as such,

self-esteem
— n
1. respect for or a favorable opinion of oneself
2. an unduly high opinion of oneself; vanity

Self-esteem can have a negative connotation. Or, as Psychology Today puts it, “Too much self-love … results in an off-putting sense of entitlement and an inability to learn from failures. (It can also be a sign of clinical narcissism.)”

In this sense, then, self-esteem can be very difficult to change. We may have a low opinion of ourselves because we can’t measure up to society’s standards. Or, we may have an inflated sense of self because we are able to do more than the average person.

Self-worth, on the other hand, says that “I am valuable” even if I don’t measure up.  It asserts that, “despite my flaws, I am a worthwhile person.” I may not have perfect hair or make-up, but I am someone who is worthy of respect and honor.

Today, I hope that you feel empowered to begin to value yourself more and increase your sense of self-worth!

~ Christy