Self Worth and Self Esteem are not the Same

If you asked a friend or colleague of yours whether they know the distinction between self worth and self esteem, what do you think they would say?

Chances are they would not know the difference.

When I began doing research for my recently completed book about self worth, I conducted many interviews. In a short period of time, I learned that nearly everyone with whom I spoke thought the terms were synonymous, or, interestingly enough, they believed self worth was about one’s financial standing. Clearly, this was not what I was expecting since I was devoting an entire book to the topic of self worth. Most everyone, however, mentioned that they thought self esteem was the term used to describe how a person feels about themselves.

Although both terms are related to how a person views themselves, they apply to opposite aspects of ourselves. There is a major difference between the terms, even though they are often used interchangeably. A quick definition: Self esteem is the confidence a person has about their competence, their belief about their achievements in the world. Self worth is how you feel about your innermost self, the value you place on your life. An easy way to remember the distinction is by thinking about self esteem as the outside you, the person you are in the world, your capabilities, whereas self worth is the inside you, your core self, or what I refer to as your SOUL SELF.

The reason this distinction matters is that a person can possess high self esteem and feel proud of their successes, yet still feel that something is missing, that there is a missing element to their life. No matter how much they achieve, they continue to feel a lack of internal fulfillment. I am and have always been intuitive, which has enabled me to see deeply into a person and recognize when their self worth is low. Having low self worth myself for many years of my life gave me the gift of empathy and understanding. When one feels inadequate internally, they have a tendency to hide behind their exterior facade of arrogance or egomania. I do not believe this is intentional, as they may not be aware that their inner self is thirsting for nurturing and love.

I had a boss who was the archetype of success–CEO of a global corporation, big family, wealth, power, and yet he was in a constant state of anxiety, besieged by inner discord and fear. He attained fame and notoriety for which he desperately yearned, and reveled in his material possessions as well as his posse—his entourage of devoted sycophants following him from office to office, meeting to meeting. He was obsessed with his power and made some seriously unwise business decisions. The force that drove him was his incessant need to prove himself, to achieve something bigger, better, brighter. He had no idea that his futile search to remedy his inner wounds by accruing external trophies would never heal him. He was simply uncomfortable in his own skin. There is someone in a position of immense power right now that reminds me of my old boss.

A person can have high self esteem and also suffer from low self worth. This is far more common than we realize, especially in today’s world. Even those who seemingly have it all, as we have observed with several high profile figures of late, will never feel fulfilled until they are able to fill the void of low self worth. Far too many people suffer from lack of self acceptance and self love, both of which are intrinsic tenets to self worth.

Why is self worth important? We view the world through the lens of our self worth; the quality of our lives is vastly impacted by how we feel about our innermost self. What we do know for certain is that anyone, at any age or stage of their life, can build healthy self worth, no matter what they’ve endured.

Think about your own inner sense of self. How worthy do you feel? Would you like to feel better about yourself? Self worth is a mindset anyone can develop as our magnificent brain allows us to learn new patterns of thought and behavior throughout the course of our lives.

This blog is the first of many to come that will provide inspiring and motivating thoughts and practices that will help you begin the path to building healthy self worth. Positive self worth will change your life.

Take a peek at my website: and be on the lookout for my new book entitled: Your Life Matters

Please send me your comments about this or any blogs as I am eager to hear your thoughts about this important topic.

Enjoy every single moment of your precious life!

Self Worth is the lens by which we view every aspect of our lives.