Defining Some Terms


Self Esteem and Self Worth

Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves, based on how we engage in the world. Selfworth is recognizing ‘I am greater than all of those things’. It is a deeply emotionally felt knowing that I am of value, that I am lovable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth”. “Self worth is knowing who I truly am, my inherent value.” — Dr. Christina Hibbert.

Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment – happiness – are right and natural for us. The survival-value of such confidence is obvious; so is the danger when it is missing.” — Nathaniel Brandon.

Self Confidence

Self confidence is not an overall evaluation of ourselves, but a feeling of confidence and competence in specific areas. For example, we could have a high amount of self-worth but low self-confidence when it comes to extreme sports, certain subjects in school, or our ability to speak a new language.”

Self Concept and Self Image

“Our self concept is about who we believe ourselves to be.” — Shona Keachie.

Self concept is the understanding and knowledge we have about our own existence and how we see ourselves in relation to others and our surroundings. It requires knowing ourselves, loving ourselves, and being true to ourselves.” — Zorka Hereford.

“Self concept is an understanding we have about ourselves that is based on our personal experiences, body image, thoughts, and how we tend to label ourselves in various situations.

It can also be defined as the all encompassing awareness we have of our past and present, as well as the expectations we have of ourselves for the future.

It is built upon perception – upon how we perceive ourselves based on our lifetime of experiences.

Essentially it is the perception we have of our image, abilities and our own individual uniqueness.” — Adam Sicinski.

Self image is the internalised mental picture we have of ourselves. It is how we think and feel about ourselves based on our appearance, performance and relationships that consistently impact our outlook on life, as well as our level of happiness and fulfilment.

Our self image is how we see see ourselves in terms of our strengths and weaknesses. It is the labels and beliefs we give ourselves that form the foundations of our belief system.

Self image is not based on reality, but our perception (correct or not) of how we believe we are perceived by others. It is created by all we have learnt and societal influence. Therefore our self image is fluid.” — Adam Sicinski.

Perhaps the main difference between self concept and self image is:

  • Self concept is our perception of ourselves.and
  • self image is our perception of how we believe others perceive us.

As both self concept and self image are based on perceptions, they are a subjective reality and do not necessarily reflect what is true.