Self-Love vs Self-Worth: Why Do You Need Both?

When I started my self-improvement journey, I struggled to discern between self-love and self-worth. And without having a clear understanding of the two concepts, it was tricky to know where to start.

Is self-love the same thing as self-love? Are the two concepts interchangeable?

I dived deep into trying to understand the two concepts with a fair amount of research to learn what others had said on the subject.

And as it turns out, they absolutely share similarities but have distinct aspects overall.

The good news is that by focusing on both self-love and self-worth, you can make powerful progress when it comes to your well-being.

So I’m here to help you understand how to nurture both concepts of love and worthiness so you get the most out of them.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Self-love is about accepting yourself unconditionally, while self-worth is an evaluation of your personal value and growth potential.
  • Both self-love and self-worth are important; an imbalance can lead to issues with self-perception and your ability to interact with others.
  • Cultivating self-love and self-worth involves building strong healthy boundaries, reflecting on your needs, enhancing your self-awareness, nurturing positive relationships, and practicing gratitude.

What Is Self-Love?

In my experience, self-love is the courageous determination to consistently prioritize yourself, regardless of the circumstances.

Throughout life, various obstacles will arise, causing challenges and potentially making it difficult, or even seemingly impossible, to maintain a sense of self-love.

Self-love does not imply being constantly immersed in warm and comforting emotions. Rather, it signifies the conscious choice to act in your own best interest, even when you feel incapable or reluctant to do so.

What Is Self-Worth?

Self-worth refers to the intrinsic value you perceive yourself to have. It’s based on several experiences you’ve had in your life, such as accomplishments, failures, how you were socialized, and your belief systems.

The self-worth theory states that you are always searching for ways to accept yourself. As a result, you try to achieve goals that align with your values and help you feel valuable, capable, and successful.

Your self-worth is directly tied to your belief in your abilities as well as your potential to grow and accomplish things. The more that you reinforce this belief in yourself, the more your self-worth increases.

Self-Love vs Self-Worth: What Are the Key Differences?

Self-love vs self-worth: what are the key differences?

As I mentioned above, these two concepts are similar but have distinct differences.

Here are four ways that self-love and self-worth differ:

Focus on Acceptance vs. Focus on Value

Self-love is a state of complete acceptance of the self. In a self-love practice, the goal is to quiet down judgemental or critical voices and to learn how to accept oneself no matter where they are in life.

Self-worth, on the other hand, is an assessment of one’s value and worthiness. This focus on value gives room for growth and progress, compared to self-love which encourages us to accept ourselves no matter what.

Nurturing the Self vs. Asserting the Self

When you tend to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, it’s a self-care practice.

Nurturing your needs involves mindfully reflecting on what makes you feel relaxed, happy, or joyous, and then making time to integrate those activities into your life.

Self-worth involves asserting oneself in an environment where it can be difficult to feel valued or accepted. This could include going after a promotion at work, asking for help when needed, or standing up for yourself in a disagreement.

Tip
Setting boundaries, making firm decisions, and offering value are all ways that we navigate our self-worth throughout life.

Inward Connection vs. Outward Perception

Tip
Self-love is a dialogue that allows us to sense, reflect, and connect with our inner world. We can delve in and ask ourselves questions like “What do I need at this moment?” and “How can I be kind to myself today?”

External validation is irrelevant when we’re taking a look inside ourselves. The goal is to connect with the self without influence from the media, our social groups, or our inner critic, which is simply a reflection of the outside world.

When assessing our self-worth, we look outward and take into consideration how we are perceived by others. We then decide if this perception is lined up with how we feel about ourselves internally.

The goal is to always align our inner worth with the worth that others place on us.

Personal Fulfilment vs. External Expectations

Practicing self-love is a form of self-parenting. We hold ourselves responsible and accountable for fulfilling our personal needs and desires, instead of looking for validation from external sources.

Self-love is about knowing deep down inside that we are enough to go after our needs.

Self-worth is about getting our needs met outside of ourselves, and it requires both courage and vulnerability. It’s about meeting external expectations while still honoring our personal values.

By doing this, we build confidence and self-esteem as well as a better understanding of what matters most to us.

The Importance of Both Self-Love and Self-Worth

While self-love and self-worth are two different concepts, they work harmoniously together to bring more happiness and self-acceptance into your life. In fact, their benefits are amplified when they’re practiced at the same time.

Many people who begin the path to self-improvement have these two concepts out of balance, and this can lead to problems in the way they think about themselves.

For example, if you’re struggling with bringing self-love into your life, you may constantly doubt yourself, punish yourself, and struggle with perfectionism issues. If you have a high sense of self-worth alongside a lack of self-love, you may be able to project an air of authority to others, but deep down inside, you don’t think very highly of yourself at all.

On the other hand, let’s say that you’re doing well with self-love, but haven’t cultivated a strong sense of self-worth. In this case, you’re in touch with your needs, and desires, and treat yourself compassionately.

But without self-worth, your boundaries are probably always being crossed, and people aren’t signaled to treat you with respect.

Tip
The key here is to strike a balance between self-love and self-worth in order to feel aligned with both your inner and outer sense of self. It may feel like a lot to work on two concepts at once, but it will actually help you to feel happier and more connected with yourself much sooner.

How to Develop a Healthy Balance Between Self-Love and Self-Worth

How to develop a healthy balance between self-love and self-worth?

So, now you know that it’s important to nurture your sense of self-love and self-worth. These 5 steps will now teach you how to how to find self-love and worth in your everyday life:

Make Sure You Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are important for a strong sense of both self-love and self-worth because they help us map out the world, both externally and internally, and help us to determine what we will accept from ourselves and others.

Take Time to Reflect on Your Needs

Another great way to cultivate these two important concepts is to take a period of time to sit down and write out your values. You can do this by free journaling, but there are plenty of internet prompts, worksheets, and even videos that can help guide you through this process.

Your values are essentially the things that make who you are and what you believe in. Knowing these values will help you when it comes to making decisions about how to take care of yourself, as well as how to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth.

Although they don’t usually change from day to day, our values may shift over time. So regularly return to them to assess if they’re still relevant. Once or twice a year should be fine.

Work on Your Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to understand, accept and acknowledge our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

It’s an important part of learning how to love ourselves as well as be worthy because if we aren’t connected with ourselves, we don’t really know how to take care of ourselves in a healthy way.

Mindfulness practices that bring you into your body are helpful for cultivating self-awareness.

You may dabble with techniques such as meditation, breathwork, long silent walks, or talking and reflecting on your life with a friend.

Nurture Loving Relationships

Self-love and self-worth are both concepts that are made easier to practice if you have people in your life who love and accept you.

Identify the healthiest relationships in your life and make sure to regularly nurture and support them.

This may look like asking loved ones if they need help, thanking a friend for being there for you, or making plans for future collaborations with people in your life.

Conversely, make sure to rid yourself of any people who drain your energy or make you feel bad about yourself.

Sometimes it’s challenging to remove these people from your life but distance yourself from them as much as possible.

Have a Self-Care Routine

Falling in love with yourself and feeling valuable are both direct reflections of how well you take care of yourself.

Make sure that you stay consistent with your sleep, diet, hygiene, and overall routine.

Self-care is like investing in things that help you grow, such as taking a cooking class, starting a side business, or traveling the world.

Make time for these big juicy self-care moves as well.

Be Thankful for What You Have and Where You Are

Gratitude has a funny way of making us feel like we are enough no matter what’s going on in our lives.

This makes it an extremely valuable tool when it comes to staying motivated and kind to ourselves on the self-love and self-worth journeys.

Starting a gratitude practice can be as simple as placing a hand over your heart and enjoying a moment of silence. You can also think of the things you’re grateful for, or write them down in a journal.

You’re Worth It!

It’s a lifelong journey to cultivate and balance self-love and self-worth in your life. But the path can be fun, interesting, and rewarding.

By putting in the effort and maintaining compassion through the ups and downs of self-discovery, you’ll eventually find that you’re truly special, valuable, and worthy of love.

Just the fact that you’re reading this article indicates that you’ve taken powerful steps to improve yourself. So celebrate your progress and thank yourself for showing up today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between self-love and self-worth?

Self-love is about complete acceptance of who you are, while self-worth assesses your value and encourages growth.

How can I nurture my self-love?

You can nurture self-love involves a good self-care routine and tending to your personal mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

How is self-worth connected to the external environment?

Self-worth involves asserting yourself externally and is tied to how you are perceived by others.

Why is it important to balance both self-love and self-worth?

It’s important to balance both self-love and self-worth because it helps you ensure your inner and outer alignment, preventing problems like your boundaries being crossed or self-doubt.

What are some steps to cultivate self-love and self-worth?

You can start by learning how to say no whenever you need to, keep very healthy boundaries, reflect on your values, improve your self-awareness, and prioritize your self-care routine.

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