Self-esteem is determined by an ever changing structure set up by the society of today and can come tumbling down at anytime for anyone of us, whereas a person's self-worth is constant and will be the same forever.
Self-Esteem vs. Self-Worth
What is the value of human life? Does the sum of a person’s life correlate to the net worth found in their bank account or other assets? Is one life more valuable than another because of how intelligent they are, what they have accomplished, or their popularity? While you might state an emphatic, “No! Of course not,” both the question and the answer, begs discussion.
Those who hold to the Christian faith as well as many who do not believe that we were created in God’s own image. Christian’s believe that humankind was created at the pleasure of God with the dual purpose of ruling over all of creation and as a way of providing for a personal relationship with God uniquely different from that afforded the rest of creation.
While great value is placed on all of creation, because of being made in God’s image the value of human life is higher and cannot be seen in measurements that meet the eye. Yet, no matter what your creation or spiritual hierarchy belief, the fact is that society most often has the upper hand in dictating what is popular and what we should hold as having the highest value at any given moment.
Our society is fickle at best and even if we could possess everything that society esteems, if we were to lose even one of these things or should our personal circumstances change in the slightest degree, it can be enough to send our self-esteem crashing into a sea of disillusionment, despair and depression.
Self-esteem is built around the things or situations listed below and subject to change in a whim at any given moment. One's self-worth, however, is forever and never changing. Self-worth is dependent only upon the incredible fact that each human being is by default of incalculable value because we are made in God's image, and regardless of anything, we are loved and valued by God.
Determining a person’s self-worth should never be measured by the world’s standards, yet so often this is the way it is done. We do ourselves and others a great disservice by placing value and esteem on any of the following situations:
WHAT YOU HAVE
“Keeping up with the Joneses,” is a statement that describes a way of life that’s been around for years. It used to refer mainly to trying to keep up with what your neighbors or friends have…a big house, several cars in the garage, designer clothes or perhaps a swimming pool in the back yard. To update a bit, today your neighbors, the proverbial Jones family, will also have an iPhone, the latest iPad, the latest BluRay-3D television & recorder, a laptop or two, several large computer screens, etc.
When self-esteem is dependent on having what someone else has, regardless that the other’s income triples yours, the temptation will be to go in debt while trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” or at best, to feel embarrassed or not as important as your neighbor.
Happiness because one is able to keep up with someone else is always short lived. Things break and wear out, become unfashionable and lose their sparkle, or become obsolete and end up boring us to death. To measure our self-worth this way is as senseless as a hamster caught up in a never ending spinning wheel.
WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE
From the moment we are born, we are judged by how we look! Do we have all five fingers and toes? Does she have curly hair, or is the baby bald? From the carefully selected infant’s layette for the journey home, to the latest “must have” fad shown on every screen imaginable for teens, to hair transplants or hair color commercials for adults, to carefully placed ads published especially for senior citizens, we are bombarded with lies that equate what we look like with who we are.
Society constantly tells us that what our bodies should look like, but even this has changed with the ages. For women, from being pleasingly plump to a slim, willowy figure, according to whatever is vogue at the moment, we have lost and gained weight with as many ups and downs as a yo-yo over the ages. A large percent of American women are viewed as being overweight, yet we still hold that the thin and trim figure of a female is more desirable than the strong, more voluptuous figure.
Obviously, having more weight than your body can handle and still remain healthy is dangerous and never a good thing for either sex, but because of the stigma placed on being even a little over weight, many women have spent their entire lives feeling unattractive and unappealing. Sadly, they have never known the happiness of feeling beautiful and desirable, or the truth of their great worth.
While Women look for traits in men that relate more to character and personality than physical appearance, males are not completely exempt from the stigma of not meeting the elusive standards society has set for their sex. Fortunately for men, many of the masculine features once deemed imperative for a “manly man” are not quite as important today in society’s estimate of what he should look like to be considered a “good catch.” Still, physical attributes of height, muscle tone, hair, and looks continue to cause many a man to struggle with self-esteem.
We are often anxious to “fix” ourselves according to the standards of our society, or of someone else, when the matter of our real self-worth shouts from the background with the reality of our true importance.
WHO YOU KNOW
Teens, tweens and even younger struggle needlessly with a false sense of low self-worth when not included as part of whatever the "in" crowd. As adults we are horrified to learn of children who undergo depression, despair, and worse because of mean remarks or actions coming from peers who delight in making fun of them because of their friends.
As adults, we get angry about such cruelty, senseless comparisons and unhealthy thinking. We rightfully long to protect our children, but the reality is that we can be just as erroneous in making these kinds of value judgments when it comes to who a person knows or does not know.
It is not uncommon for a man to feel better about himself with a young, attractive woman at his side. A woman might feel more esteemed by her peers if she occasionally drops the name of a rich or well-known personal acquaintance. No age is exempt from the temptation to fall for this lie.
WHAT YOU DO
A person’s job or trade, whether a counter clerk at the local 7-11 Market or the President of a prestigious bank, should never determine the individual’s worth. Many will tend to hold a “white collar” worker in higher esteem than the “blue collar” worker because it is thought that the first will make more money and be more educated than the latter. This, however, is not always the case, and in fact the opposite is often true.
Still, the tendency has always been for the “blue collar” worker to be looked down upon. One works more with their hands and the other with their mind, but the blue collar worker may have a higher IQ than their degreed white collar neighbor, and the white collar worker might be more be more physically apt when it comes to creating, fixing or building things around the house or as a sideline than the blue collar worker.
The bottom line here is that there are advantages and disadvantages in one’s line of work no matter what color your collar. In the end, it is the person who makes the difference in the job rather than the job making the difference in the person. To suffer low self-esteem because of your job is needless, painful and pointless.