With Highest Regards
I can come across as a very serious person. There are some things I take most seriously, things like respect, treatment of others, and honesty. However, myself I seldom take seriously. I believe having a sense of humor is vital to surviving life and I think if I cannot laugh at myself, I should not laugh at others. Now, does that mean I have a good self-worth or a poor level of self-esteem?
Self-esteem is one of those words we all throw around but seldom really think about its meaning. Most people consider self-worth and self-esteem to be synonyms but, as we discussed yesterday, they are not. A good working definition of self-esteem is the confidence and sureness, satisfaction and assurance about yourself. In other words, self-esteem is thinking highly about yourself. Many dictionaries consider synonyms for self-esteem to be ego and pride. While self-esteem is sometimes listed as a synonym for self-worth, self-worth is never a synonym for self-esteem.
Self-worth is defined as valuing oneself. The true difference between self-worth and self-esteem is found not in the definitions or even the synonyms. The easiest way to understand the difference between these two words is in their antonyms, the words that are their opposites. Antonyms of self-worth are few. In fact, generally speaking only one is ever listed and that is self-deprecation. However, self-esteem has more antonyms, some of the most popular being ego, humbleness, humility, and modesty.
Having high self-esteem can become a rocky road and lead to thinking only of one’s self. Self-worth, however, can lead to appreciating others. When we are able to accept ourselves and value our complete being, then we can accept others and treat them with respect. This recognition of our own uniqueness leads to an acceptance in the uniqueness of others. It allows us to value the contributions each person makes to the world.
Having a good sense of self-worth leads to a life lived with positivity. There is an ancient Cherokee American Indian story that tells the tale of two dogs being fed. The moral is that the dog we feed is the dog that grows. That may sound like simple logic but we often forget that fact when it comes to our own psyche. When we “feed” ourselves negative thoughts, then we are feeding the wrong dog and turning our life into a self-defeating project with no hope of success.
We should feed the figurative positive dog within ourselves and help ourselves grow, nurturing our assets and building newer and better skills while emphasizing those we already have. Discover what works for you and then capitalize on it. Your favorite colors, music, etc. all will feed the positive dog within you.
When we use our unique talents and skills to help the world, our self-worth will grow immeasurably. We will not need to follow the latest trend for a sense of self-esteem; our actions will give it to us. When we learn to accept ourselves, then we can enjoy our being and live with confidence and contribution, laughing with pleasure not dismay, replacing sarcasm with smiles and delight in our being. When our own personal value grows, then we can really blossom and enjoy being part of this wonderful garden we call earth.