Many people believe that self-worth is just another way to describe self-esteem; these two concepts however, are quite different. Our self-esteem is based on our actions within the world, it comes from outside of ourselves, is external to us and is based on the ‘esteem’ placed on us by others.
The more we are well thought of in our world, by our deeds and our actions, the greater our self-esteem. What then is self-worth and how does that differ to self-esteem?
Self-worth is internal, it is how we perceive ourselves and is a measure of our ability to believe in ourselves. Without self-worth, self-esteem is meaningless.
If you believe in yourself, then what others think of you does not change your inner belief. The inner core of you knows your self-worth, understands your value, regardless of how others treat you. As an extreme example, think of a celebrity who is well thought of by the public, but who harms them self – this is an example of someone with high self-esteem, but with low self-worth.
On the other hand, a homeless person may suffer from derision by people he meets on the street, but may go out of his or her way to help others in even greater difficulty. This is an example of someone with high self-worth, but low self-esteem.
How we value ourselves is partly genetic and partly environmental. As individuals we are predisposed to certain beliefs and in the way we relate to others, which can be perceived as part of our personality.
So we interact with our external world via our personality, which is a genetic inheritance, but our personality can also be influenced by our environment. This means that we learn how to treat others by the way others treat us, especially when we our young.
We are all born with an internal score card – a way of measuring our own self-worth. If we are treated badly however, our belief in ourselves can be temporarily lowered and can drop to such a low point that we consider ourselves to be so valueless that we contemplate self-harm.
This is why so many people who look outside of themselves for their self-worth, find no solace. Just think of someone who earns a high income – they may have high self-esteem, but all of their money may not necessarily have given them happiness, because their money has not increased their measure of self-worth.
Yes, how we value ourselves can change quickly or slowly and be temporary or permanent. This is because our concept of self-worth is not only based on a genetic score card, but also on our own thoughts and emotions and how others respond to us, which can all change how we feel about ourselves.
For example, if we feel loved, we can have a very high self-worth, but if our partner leaves us, our feeling of self-worth can plummet like a stone. Raising our self-worth also increases our self-confidence, our ability to love and be loved and our happiness. Once you know how to influence your own self-worth, you can pass this knowledge and understanding on to your children, ensuring their own future happiness.
At Unity Counselling, we understand the triggers that can change the belief you hold of your inner value. We can help you understand not only why your self-worth is so low, but how to challenge those beliefs, how to overcome them and how to once again believe in yourself.
Let us help you achieve your full potential, call us on 04 4925 2570, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us an online message. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you to find your inner wisdom.