Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Key Difference – Self-Esteem vs Self-Worth

Self-esteem and self-worth are two concepts that are very much linked to one another, although there is a difference between the two. Both self-esteem and self-worth emphasize the value of the individual in two contrasting manners. The key difference between self-esteem and self-worth is that the self-esteem refers to the appreciation that the individual has for his abilities. This boosts his confidence making him feel that he can do various tasks. On the other hand, self-worth can be defined as the value that an individual gives to himself. In order to analyze the difference between the two words in depth, it is important to comprehend the two words fully. Through this article, let us first understand the meaning of these two concepts and then highlight the difference between them.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem refers to the appreciation that an individual has for himself. Having self-esteem is important as it allows the person to appreciate his talents, capabilities, etc. In the modern world, there is a great focusing on one’s self-esteem. Although it is a positive factor to have a good self-esteem, it also creates competition. This competition is created as people try to assess one’s self in relation to others. This is why it can be said that self-esteem greatly depends on external factors, rather than internal factors. It makes the individual assess himself based on what he can do.

Self-esteem can easily be damaged by the responses of others. For example, if someone ridicules or condemns a capability that we admire in ourselves, our self-esteem goes down because we feel hurt by the comment. However, self-worth cannot be crushed so easily. It is something much more internal. Even if the individual feels depreciated of his capabilities, self-worth guides the individual to believe that he is of value. In the next section let us pay attention to self-worth.

Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

What is Self Worth?

Self-worth can be defined as the value that an individual gives to himself. People can value themselves in different ways; some can be more focused on gaining material achievements over spirituality while others may focus on spiritual gain rather than on materialistic gain. When speaking of self-worth the attention should be paid to the value that an individual gives to him internally, without the impact of external factors. This is where a clear distinction between self-esteem and self-worth can be identified. Self-esteem can be easily damaged by the actions of others, but self-worth cannot. It is the value that the individual gives for himself.

For an example, imagine a person who is very much talented in a particular field and deserves a special position. Although the person is awarded the position, if he hesitates doubting himself, this is because the individual lacks self-worth. He believes that he values less and that he does not deserve recognition. Assessing one’s self against others and believing that one has less self-worth can be very damaging to the individual as well.

Developing one’s self-worth is a significant step if one wants to value truly himself. To begin with, the individual can get engaged in activities and tasks that make him happy and satisfied. He can also work in accordance to the principles that he treasures the most. This will also make the individual raise his self-worth. As you will notice, self worth is very much different from self-esteem as it taps into one’s inner self. This difference can be summarized as follows.

Self-Esteem vs Self-Worth

What is the Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Worth?

Definitions of Self Esteem and Self Worth:

Self Esteem: Self-esteem refers to the appreciation that an individual has for himself.

Self Worth: Self-worth can be defined as the value that an individual gives to himself.

Characteristics of Self Esteem and Self Worth:


Self Esteem: Self-esteem is easily influenced by external factors.

Self Worth: Self-worth is determined by internal factors.


Self Esteem: Competition plays a huge role in self-esteem as the individual assesses himself against others.

Self Worth: In self-worth, there is no competition.


Self Esteem: At an instance where the individual is depreciated, his self-esteem goes down.

Self Worth: Self worth, however, is not affected by depreciation.


Image Courtesy:
1. "Smiling girl" by Eric McGregor [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
2. "Narcissus-Caravaggio (1594-96) edited" by Caravaggio - scan. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons