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#36313 - 06/02/03 08:43 AM Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
James_dup1 Offline

Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Ok guys tonight in the chat room the question came up


It was a great chat and a lot of good idea's were given to this question. So I wanted to ask on the board. What do ya'll think the difference is between the two of them.

Here is mine.

Self Worth: is how one looks at ones self ie: when you work out and like the way you look.

Self Esteem: is how one feels about one's self. ie: I feel good about who I am and where I am in life.

OK so guys now it's your turn. I think this will be cool to see what each of thing the differences are with each of us.

I have more issues than Rolling Stone!

#36314 - 06/02/03 01:00 PM Re: Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Self worth and self esteem


They are, I think tied inexorably together.

You are going down the right road James. I would say that self worth has a lot to do with not only how you look and your general health but also how you perceivethe you as playing an important part in the scheme of things. In other words do you believe that you have value and give value added for yourself and others.

Self esteem, on the other hand, seems to look at your personality as it relates to you. The distinction, I believe, comes when you say " Yes I provide value added and like how I am looked at, but if they only knew what I am hiding others would consider me to be a lowlife and not deserving of their time."

Could it being at peace with what you are and more importantly who you are according to yourself.

Like I said tied enexorably together.

Wuamei, the big head wolf can probably provide a better insight into this topic than i can and I would like to hear how he feels about this.

See, that is an example of knowing my self worth but doubting my self esteem. Can't help it. Automatic reaction. I WAS NOT GOING TO PUT THIS LAST IN BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS RIGHT CAUSE THAT IS WHAT FIRST CAME TO MY MIND.

It shows I think he difference.




#36315 - 06/02/03 03:50 PM Re: Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
Thad Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 08/28/01
Posts: 1752
Loc: Oakland, CA
It was an excellant discussion last night.
I proposed the following:

Self worth is based on a worth system which is largely learned (ie: many of us learned a low worth system from a parent or abuser - it has a lot to do with what we learn to value) We can modify our worth system by looking at where it came from, it's connection to our trauma, and reconstructing a new self worth system.

Self Esteem is how we feel about our selves - (often reflecting our worth system) but sometimes at odds with it, too. It is a deeper gut level feeling - often reflexive - and deeply held. When it is low it feels like it reflects the "truth" (not always really the truth) we feel about ourselves in spite of evidence to the contrary.

"..this place isn't a discussion's a portal..." Lupin
"The truth will set you free, but first it will probably piss you off." dwf's AA sponsor.

#36316 - 06/02/03 04:33 PM Re: Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
I wasn't part of the chat, but when I read this thread earlier, I thought that self esteem would have to be more related to feelings than self worth is. I think I like Thad's post in that.

Maybe self worth is something that seems more "objective" and self esteem is something that I recognize as coming from my feelings, especially feelings about my "objective" self worth.

It's not really objective, of course. It was learned in childhood and beyond, and warped, in CSA, and beyond. Now that I can see some of the "twists" I can start working to straighten it out, and my self esteem will improve.

I dunno, but it sounded good when I thought of it. \:\) (Where's the smiley with a smile and question marks?)



"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#36317 - 06/02/03 05:33 PM Re: Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
This is some coursework I did for my Counselling training.
It's a bit long winded, but I thought I'd throw it into the discussion.



Many problems can be improved upon, or possibly even cured, by helping someone to gain a realistic vision of themselves. Once someone believes, or realises, that they are a better person than they first thought the chances are that they will find within themselves the answers to their problems.
But when we do have a problem that we can’t seem to escape from we often believe we are incapable of sorting ourselves out. Our thinking becomes mired in a negative cycle of believing we aren’t worthy or good enough of living a wholesome life like other people seem to do. Or at least how we see other peoples “better lives” than our own. The problem remains unresolved and often gets deeper rooted within us.

These concepts of how we actually are, and how we see ourselves, are fundamental to any helper wanting to help someone.
Distinguishing the two points and bringing them closer will help the person to create a new, more accurate and better self image of themselves and allow their own thinking to work on the problem in a clearer manner.
This becomes a person centred approach rather than one suggested, or led to, by other people who might not be fully understanding of the problem, or empathic, with that person.

Our self concepts include the Ideal Self Image that we have of ourselves, the image of ourselves we would like the rest of the world to see.
This image is made up from our early influences our parents imprint on us, and have a great effect on the way we grow up and live, as does the way we learn from our peers in later life.
Societies other role models, the media, our peers and our educations also have a big influence on shaping the way we would like to be and be seen.

The aim isn’t to raise the Ideal Self-image that someone might hold of themselves, but more importantly to close the gap between the Ideal Self-image and the Perceived Self-image they have of themselves.

Once this is achieved, their vision of themselves begins to meet the actuality of how they actually are much more closely.
And although these two points are never likely to meet, their "Self-Concept" - the perception we all have of ourselves - becomes clearer.

Opposing our Ideal Self-Image ( what we would like to be )is the altogether different image of how we actually perceive ourselves - our Perceived Self-Image (what we actually believe we are )
And these two images can be a long way separated from each other.

If our influences are poor or negative this pair of ideals are forced apart by the low self-esteem we have of ourselves.
Lack of encouragement as children, or a traumatic experience, can radically lower our self-esteem and widen the gap to such an extent that we adopt a Persona and show a false face to the world hoping that it becomes accepted by others as our Ideal Self-image.
If the damage done by poor influences is great enough the persona can be just that of "normality", the lack of Self-esteem creating a desperately low perceived Self-image.

However, positive influences create high Self-esteem and we learn the positive aspects of life that make it easier to deal with the problems we might encounter.
Relationships with others become easier and more rewarding.
The gap between the Ideal Self-Image and the Perceived Self-Image becomes closer as our Self-esteem grows, and we no longer need the Persona to hide behind.
Instead we become the "real me”, a more rounded and capable individual who possess' the confidence to look inside ourselves and exert our own influences on our individual models of self-concept.

If a helper can identify these two important points in a persons model of self-concept, and then work with them to restore self esteem by establishing the distance between the Ideal and Perceived Self Images, then the two points can be brought together and the real person emerges, better equipped to deal with their problem.

Throughout our lives we are also subjected to other influences that make significant differences to our Self-esteem and Self-concept.
The behaviours, standards, opinions and attitudes of other people can alter our outlook greatly.
We gather these influences from introspection and identification.

Introjection is when these influences are taken in unconsciously, a child learns most of it’s behaviours from it’s parents this way, or, as adults if we just accept other peoples opinions without making our own judgement on them.
If the influence is consciously and uncritically taken in from a role model the process is called identification.
Both ways can of course take in positive and negative influences.

All these influences and concepts come together in what can be a very confusing picture for both the client and the helper.
A client may well have had no previous need, or the skills, to have separated those aspects of their life. Or indeed recognised they were actually there as separate spheres of influence upon them.
The helper however , through skill and knowledge, does know of their existence and can with care separate them, show them to the client who can then save, discard and alter them to create their new, improved Self-esteem.

Our Self-esteem is central to our well-being, and it’s something that is at the mercy of a great many negative influences for all of our lives. And once destroyed it’s so hard to put back together again.
We can do it, but often we need guiding.

David Lloyd

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#36318 - 06/02/03 06:29 PM Re: Self Worth vs. Self Esteem
andrew-almost52 Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
We're talking semantics here guys. If there is a difference .... Peace, Andrew


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