Self-worth vs. Self-esteem - Is There a Difference?

May 30, 2017


Self-worth and self-esteem...are they two different concepts, or just different names for the same thing? Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but there are others who believe that these are two separate and unique concepts entirely.


First, let’s examine self-worth a bit.


How “worthy” or valuable do you believe you are? Do you feel you deserve the things you desire? The answer to these questions determines your self-worth.  It might surprise you to know that there are many gifted individuals who have very low levels of self-worth, and will subconsciously sabotage any potential success at the first given opportunity. The larger and more life-changing the potential success, the harder the will to self-sabotage.

Your self-worth is largely built up during your early childhood years. You’re essentially told what your own worth is by your parents, how they act and react to you, and the quality of attention you get from them. The good news is that even if you’ve had a challenging childhood, self-worth is something that you can build up yourself!


Setting realistic yet challenging goals that stretch our limits shows you what you’re capable of achieving. Reaching those goals proves to you that you’re worth the result, thereby growing and maintaining a healthy sense of self-worth. And successes don’t have to be solely financial. Success can be seen as anything that you’ve achieved that holds true value for you, whether it’s a new, higher paying job, learning a new skill such as painting or drawing, or having healthy relationships.


Now, let’s talk about self-esteem. Your self-esteem can be dependent on things outside of yourself – like rejection. A small rejection can feel very large and painful, and it immediately changes the way we think, and feel, about ourselves. One of the best ways to bolster your own self-esteem is to surround yourself with supportive people who like and enjoy you, and appreciate your unique talents and skills. Everyone likes to be liked and appreciated, and everyone deserves this treatment from those they have within their inner circle.

If you do take a hit to your self-esteem, there is good news – you can recover quickly by simply doing the things that you’re good at. By recognizing that there are distinct things you are great at doing, that hit to your self-esteem will hurt a little less, and a little less until the hurt is gone, and you’re feeling great again!


Both self-esteem and self-worth are rather important facets of a healthy identity. You should try to develop and maintain both for the most positive outlook.


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