Self Improvement

Self-Esteem versus Self-Respect versus Self-Compassion – What’s the Difference?

Self-esteem, self-respect and self-compassion. Three important things, but are they one and the same? What is the difference between them and what difference does it really make? Actually, although there are many similarities, there are a few differences as well. Here is what you need to know.


Self-esteem is a person’s overall personal value and sense of self-worth. It is the core of how an individual values themself as a person. Self-esteem is of deep importance in a person’s life because without it, a person will live their life without taking care of the things that are important to them.

Self-esteem is essential for normal, healthy development and growth. It arises deep from within one’s consciousness and is affected directly by a person’s beliefs. If your self-esteem is lacking, you cannot change it without first changing how you think and process things. Because self-esteem is a realistic respect of oneself, it has its most positive effect when balanced with humility.


What is self-respect? It is a proper respect for yourself and your worth as a person. It is valuing yourself enough to make choices that will bring you good things in life. Self-respect is knowing that you deserve these good things and aspiring to attain them.

Without self-respect, your choices will begin to reflect it and bring you down. Every person needs self-respect, because without it you will not treat yourself with value, nor will anyone else. Self-respect basically comes by making a decision to believe that you are good and worthy of good treatment by yourself and others.


Have you ever wondered why you are more forgiving with others than you are with yourself? Why would we give others the benefit of the doubt when we often cannot do the same with ourselves? Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same grace that you extend to others.

Life does not always give us what we want or expect, and it is far too easy to blame it on ourselves and be inwardly harsh and critical. Self-compassion is realizing that life is not perfect, not drowning ourselves in self-criticism when things go wrong. We realize that all people suffer from the same setbacks, and we are able to offer ourselves some kindness.

How They Work Together

Although there are small differences to these three qualities, they all work together for the ultimate goal of a healthy relationship with oneself. This, in turn, leads to healthy relationships with others. If you want to achieve your greatest potential, you must first love yourself.

When you live with the conviction that you need to think of yourself as kindly and lovingly as you do with other people, you will begin to see change. Self-esteem, self-respect and self-compassion are all things that you need to learn in order to lead a happy and fulfilling life. You owe it to yourself.

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