Self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect are three things that many people struggle with, including myself. Before I get into what I am really aiming for with this article, why don't I define self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect. When googling these three words I found that self-worth was defined as "The sense of one's own value or worth as a person;self-esteem; self-respect." Self-esteem is defined as "the confidence of one's own worth or abilities; self-respect." And lastly, self-respect is defined as "pride and confidence in oneself."
These words all seem to be overlapping in the definition area, don't they? However, they are not the same. I asked a few friends about these terms and one had a very good explanation of how she saw the differences between them. In her eyes, they were different stages. The first stage was self-worth, because knowing that you are worth something is where it all starts. Then comes self-esteem. Now that you know you are worth something, what are you going to do with that worth and how are you going to present yourself to the world? This is a major component of self-esteem. And lastly, is self-respect. In order to be secure with yourself and to understand the value of yourself, you have to respect yourself. Sounds simple, but sometimes that can be a very difficult task.
Now, there is no reason that these three words have to be looked at as separate entities or stages that have to go in a certain order. Especially, because you can have self-respect without self-esteem, self-worth without self-respect, and so on.
I also took the time to look up what a more professional opinion was on the cases of self-esteem and self-worth. On psychalive.org Dr. Lisa Firestone was quoted as saying that self-worth is "less about measuring yourself based on external actions and more about valuing your inherent worth as a person. In other words, self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do." This would be opposed to self-esteem tying more into how one presents themselves due to their self-worth.
The thing is, self-esteem and self-worth can mean exactly the same thing, but it is society's practice to build or diminish self-esteem by comparing oneself to others. The problem with this is that there is no way that we will always be above average in everything we do, which is perfectly alright.
It has been tested and proven that those who base their self-worth on external sources report more stress, anger, academic problems, and relationship conflicts. They are also more likely to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. On the opposite end, it has been found that those who base self-worth on internal sources do better in school, have less stress, and are less likely to use and abuse alcohol, drugs, and develop eating disorders.
Personally, self-esteem is the area where I get hit the hardest. I know I am worth something, but sometimes it is hard to know just how much. In the self-respect area though, I usually do pretty alright and am happy with how I treat myself and my body. But, it is hard to not compare yourself to others. It is hard to not judge yourself based on that girl who is running faster than you on the treadmill, or that person who got an A on their paper, or anyone who does anything better than you. It's just good to remember to base yourself judgement on whether or not you personally are doing better or even just well. Yeah that girl is running faster than you are, but have you been running longer than you did last time? If you are, good. If you aren't, that's okay too because you are there and you are trying.
So, before I conclude, here are some good ways to love yourself and possibly raise your self-worth.
1) Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Yes. this can be difficult because a lot of times how can we not? It is important to remember that we are who were are and we should be proud of that.
2) Become More Self-Aware
Knowing yourself better will help you to better appreciate yourself and be happier with who you are.
3) Do Things that Make You Happy
If this involves hanging out with friends, family, or even alone, do it. If this involves taking a big risk that could potentially make you amazingly happy, do it because where do we get when we do take chances in life?
4) Help Yourself by Helping Others
Charity and service, if done for the true purpose of charity and service, can give you a major confidence boost because by making others happy, you can make yourself happy
Is is important to remember to love yourself, however I fully understand that this can be very difficult at times. Just remember, there are people out there who think you are the greatest things ever created.