Forget Self-Esteem! Focus on your Self-Worth

Self-esteem and self-worth…

Two words for the same thing, right?


A lot of people think these are interchangeable, but they’re not.

Your self-worth is SO much more than just your self-esteem.

Knowing the difference will allow you to focus on improving your sense of self-worth because that’s much more impactful on your life.

Self-esteem is what we think about ourselves, whereas self-worth is how we feel about ourselves.  Self-esteem is more on the surface, whereas self-worth is the deeper, inner stuff.  Your sense of self-worth allows you to know you are valuable, lovable, and that your life and presence are worthy.

While those with high self-esteem may have a strong sense of self-worth, it’s not necessarily a package deal. You can feel good about yourself on the surface, but when you dive in deeper, there may still be an underlying disbelief that you are worthy of love or a great life.  

So, what exactly is the difference between the two?

Let’s take a look at both, so you’ll see why it’s more important to focus on your self-worth.



Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself, your skills, your appearance, etc.  It’s your opinion of yourself.  In other words, it’s basically your self-image.

It’s liking who you are, knowing you’re good at certain things, and feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Self-esteem isn’t necessarily constant.
It can ebb and flow based on the current situation, your mood, the time of day, etc.

For example, while you may have an overall high self-esteem, if your tell-it-like-it-is aunt criticizes your favorite sweater (you know...the one that makes you look beautiful), your self-esteem will take a slight hit.  

On the flip side, if you ace a presentation or have an amazing first date with a super sexy man, your self-esteem will skyrocket immediately afterward.

Having a positive self-esteem is important.  It allows you to project confidence and believe in yourself.  That, in turn, allows you to take chances and push beyond your comfort zone.

It’s not a bad thing to work on boosting your self-esteem.  Learning how to improve how you feel about yourself can give you an edge in stressful or challenging situations.

Positive self-esteem can help you bounce back from criticism and allow you to see it more objectively instead of letting it set you back.

But, for those that suffer from chronic low self-esteem working on improving how they view themselves is moot unless they start with working on their self-worth.



Self-worth is your sense of identity (who you are) and how you value yourself as a person.  It’s how you feel about yourself.

When you have a strong sense of self-worth, you can’t help but have a high self-esteem since it is the foundation for how you view yourself and the world around you.

A lack of self-worth fuels the ‘I’m not good enough’ mindset and allows the Inner Bully to have more power than it should.

When you have low self-worth, you’re more likely to accept jobs, relationships, and situations that aren’t good for you because you don’t feel you deserve better.

Low self-worth is the breeding ground for low self-esteem.

You can’t have a high self-esteem if your sense of self-worth is low.

When you have a strong sense of self-worth, you won’t stay with a man that disrespects you, cheats on you, hits you, calls you names, etc. (I have a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy on all of those!)

Likewise, you won’t stay in the job that pays you less than what you deserve or subjects you to discrimination or other negative workplace environments.

Simply put, when you have a strong sense of self-worth, you respect yourself and who you are.  That, in turn, means others in your life will respect you because you won’t allow anyone not to.

Having a strong sense of self-worth is the basis of a healthy self-esteem.



If you ultimately don’t feel you are worthy of love, a good job, or a good life you likely suffer from low self-esteem in addition to a lack of self-worth.

If you want to work on things and you simply focus on ways to improve your self-esteem you’re basically learning how to apply band-aids to your wounded self.

You won’t actually turn anything around because you’re not addressing the root of the problem - the damaged sense of self.

When you focus on improving your self-worth, your self-esteem will come along for the ride.
You get more bang for your buck!

Again, think of your self-worth as the foundation of your life.

You have to make that rock solid so everything else can stand tall and bear any storms that will come your way.


Having a positive self-esteem and strong self-worth are both necessary for living a positive life and feeling empowered.

It’s important, though, to keep in mind that self-esteem comes from self-worth, but they’re not the same.

While self-esteem ebbs & flows, self-worth is the secure foundation.

Work on respecting yourself more and learn to value yourself more as a person, and you will set the stage for a significant shift in your life.

You’ll not only have a higher opinion of yourself (self-esteem), but you will feel a stronger sense of self (self-worth).