What’s the Difference Between Self-Esteem and Self-Image?

Understanding the difference between self-esteem and self-image is an important step on the road to a healthy sense of self. So let’s take a closer look at each one.

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a term that describes a person’s general opinion of themselves. It’s how you perceive yourself as a person, both your strengths and your weaknesses. Your self-esteem can be high or low, and it can change over time. 

People with high self-esteem generally think positively about themselves and have a good opinion of themselves. They have confidence in their abilities and are pleased with themselves.

In contrast, people with low self-esteem tend to think negatively about themselves and have a poor opinion of themselves. They often doubt their abilities and are unhappy with themselves. 

Most people have a mixture of high and low self-esteem at different times in their lives. Some people may struggle with their self-esteem more than others, but everyone has times when they feel good about themselves. 

With that being said, it is important to note that self-esteem isn’t always static. It can change depending on our circumstances and experiences.

What Is Self-Image?

Self-image is the mental picture, idea, or concept that a person has of themselves. It’s based on how we see ourselves and can be shaped by our experiences, beliefs, and opinions. Our self-image can affect our self-esteem, which is our assessment of our worth as a person.

Here Are Factors That Affect Our Self-Image:

Internal factors include physical characteristics, habitual behaviors, and thoughts.

  • Physical characteristics can be either innate or acquired. Innate physical characteristics are those that are present from birth, such as sex or race. Acquired physical characteristics are those that are not present from birth but are acquired over time, such as scars or tattoos.
  • Habitual behaviors are things people do regularly, such as brushing their teeth or taking a shower.
  • Thoughts about oneself can also affect self-image. Negative thoughts can lead to low self-esteem, while positive thoughts can lead to high self-esteem.

External factors also include feedback from others. Social comparisons are comparisons between oneself and other people, usually in terms of attractiveness or accomplishments. Social comparisons can be either of the following:

  • Upward comparisons are when someone compares themselves to someone who’s doing better than them
  • Downward comparisons are when someone compares themselves to someone who’s doing worse than them.

Consequently, a positive self-image can make one feel more confident and happier. People with a positive self-image are more likely to take on new challenges and feel good about themselves when they succeed.

A negative self-image, on the other hand, can make one feel insecure and unhappy. People with negative self-images may avoid new challenges and feel bad when they fail.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that our self-image is not set in stone. We can work to change the way we think about ourselves, and over time this can improve our self-esteem. The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem and seeking help from a professional therapist or counselor.

With time and effort, it’s possible to develop a more positive self-image that will boost your self-esteem and help you live a happier life.

Self-Esteem Is a Measure of Your Overall Worth as a Person, While Self-Image Is a Reflection of How You See Yourself

Self-esteem is a measure of your overall worth as a person. It’s not just about how you feel on a particular day, but it reflects your life as a whole.

When you have high self-esteem, you generally believe that you are valuable and worthwhile. That doesn’t mean you’re always perfect or never make mistakes, but it does mean you have a healthy overall perspective of yourself.

Moreover, people with high self-esteem tend to be more confident and assertive. They’re more willing to take risks and achieve their goals. They also tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives.

People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, often feel they are not good enough or worthless. They may be shy and withdrawn or they may engage in risky behaviors in an effort to boost their self-image.

There are many factors that can affect your self-esteem, including your family history, cultural background, and the way you were raised. However, there are things you can do to boost your self-esteem. These strategies include setting realistic goals, accepting compliments, and practicing self-compassion.

Regardless of how high your self-esteem is, it’s important to remember that it’s always possible to improve it.

Meanwhile, self-image reflects how you see yourself. It can be shaped by your own experiences and the opinions of others. The way you see yourself can determine how you feel about yourself and how you behave.

Some people have a positive self-image, while others have a negative self-image. People with a positive self-image usually feel good about themselves and have healthy self-esteem. They are confident and optimistic and can face challenges with confidence.

People with a negative self-image, on the contrary, often have a poor self-image and low self-esteem. They are often pessimistic and doubt their ability to overcome challenges.

Self-Esteem Is Based on Your Achievements and Your Qualities as a Person, While Self-Image Can Be Influenced by Things Like Your Appearance or Your Possessions

Self-esteem is based on your accomplishments and your qualities as a person. Your accomplishments can be anything: good grades in school a new job, or winning a championship. No matter what it is, being proud of yourself for accomplishing it will boost your self-esteem.

The same goes for your qualities as a person. If you’re kind, honest, and compassionate, your self-esteem will be higher than if you’re selfish and mean.

High self-esteem is important because it allows you to feel good about yourself no matter what. When you have high self-esteem, you’re more likely to take risks and achieve your goals because you believe in yourself.

High self-esteem also means that you are more likely to have happy and fulfilling relationships because you know you are worth something. So if you want to boost your self-esteem, start by celebrating your successes and appreciating your qualities!

On the other hand, self-image can be influenced by things like your appearance or possessions. For example, if you are overweight, you may feel bad about yourself and have a low self-image. This may be because society puts a lot of emphasis on being thin, and you feel like you don’t belong.

Alternatively, if you have a lot of money, you may feel superior to others and have a high self-image. This may be because society often values wealth and status.

However, your self-image is not entirely determined by external factors. It is also shaped by your own thoughts and beliefs. If you believe that you are valuable and worthy, then you’re likely to have a high self-image regardless of your appearance or possessions.

Also, if you believe that you are worthless or inferior, you’ll probably have a low self-image, regardless of your external situation. External factors may play a role in shaping your self-image, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what image you want to have of yourself.

Self-Esteem Comes From Within, While Self-Image Can Be Shaped by Others’ Opinions

Self-esteem comes not from what others say about us, but from what we think about ourselves. Our self-esteem can be affected by many things, such as our successes and failures, how we compare ourselves to others, and our own thoughts and beliefs.

There are a few important reasons why people need to develop their self-esteem from within.

  • If self-esteem is based on external things, it can be easily taken away. For example, if a person’s self-esteem is based on their appearance or possessions, and those things are taken away, they may feel worthless.
  • When self-esteem comes from within, it is more stable. It is less likely to be affected by external factors.
  • When self-esteem comes from within, it leads to a sense of authenticity. People who base their self-esteem on external factors often feel that they aren’t being true to themselves.
  • Self-esteem that comes from within leads to a greater sense of peace and happiness.

On the contrary, our self-image can be shaped by the opinions of others. This is especially true when we are young and our sense of self is still being developed.

For instance, our parents, teachers, and friends can have a big influence on how we see ourselves. If they tell us we are smart, talented, or beautiful, we may start to believe that and develop a positive self-image. But if they tell us otherwise, we may begin to doubt ourselves and develop a negative self-image.

Self-Esteem Is About Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin, While Self-Image Is More About How You Present Yourself to the World

When you have high self-esteem, you feel comfortable in your skin, no matter what other people say or think. You know your strengths and weaknesses and feel comfortable enough to be yourself around other people. You don’t need external validation to feel good about yourself, and you can accept compliments without letting them go to your head.

Self-esteem is about being comfortable in your skin and having a positive attitude about life. It’s about accepting yourself for who you are, and not letting others’ opinions or judgments affect how you see yourself.

It’s about being proud of your accomplishments and not comparing yourself to others. It’s about accepting your weaknesses and mistakes and learning from them.

Self-esteem is something that comes from within and something you need to constantly work on. It’s not something you achieve once and then never have to worry about again. It’s a continuous process of building yourself up and strengthening your self-confidence.

There are many things that can affect your self-esteem, such as your family life, your friends, the media, etc. But the most important thing is to focus on the things that make you feel good about yourself and not let the negative things get you down.

You must learn to love and accept yourself for who you are, with all your flaws and weaknesses. If you do that, your self-esteem will be strong enough to withstand whatever life throws at you.

Self-image, on the contrary, is about how you present yourself to the world. It can be influenced by many things, such as your family, friends, culture, and the media. It’s also shaped by your own thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

Your self-image can be positive or negative. If you have a positive self-image, you believe in yourself and feel good about yourself. You believe you’re capable of great accomplishments and you’re proud of who you are.

If you have a negative self-image, you don’t believe in yourself and don’t feel good about yourself. You believe that you’re incapable of doing anything good and are ashamed of yourself.

Your self-image can also be healthy or unhealthy. A healthy self-image means that you like and accept yourself as you are. You know that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and you don’t judge yourself too harshly.

An unhealthy self-image means you constantly put yourself down and are always looking for ways to criticize yourself. You never feel good enough and are constantly chasing after an ideal that doesn’t exist.

No matter what your self-image is, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t last. You can change it if you want to. You can work on building a positive self-image by accepting yourself as you are, thinking positively about yourself, and focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

What Are the Types of Self-Esteem?

People usually have one of three types of self-esteem: 

Inflated self-esteem is when a person has an unrealistically positive view of themselves. This might make them appear arrogant or overbearing to others. 

Authentic (high) self-esteem is based on a realistic view of oneself and one’s strengths and weaknesses. People with this type of self-esteem usually don’t need to brag about their accomplishments because they feel good about themselves without needing external validation. 

Eroded (low) self-esteem occurs when a person’s negative view of himself or herself outweighs his or her positive view. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, low self-confidence, and depression.


In short, self-esteem is a measure of how worthy we feel of love and respect, while self-image is a mental representation of how we think we look. 

Self-esteem is a much more internalized concept, while self-image can be more influenced by what others say or do. Generally speaking, people with high self-esteem have a good self-image, but this isn’t always the case.

Likewise, people with low self-esteem may have a poor self-image, but this doesn’t mean that their self-esteem is also low. 

Both self-esteem and self-image are important aspects of our lives, but it’s important to understand the difference between them so that we can work on building a healthy sense of self.

Building a healthy sense of self is an ongoing process, and it’s important to work on both your self-esteem and your self-image. Be kind to yourself, give yourself credit for your accomplishments, and focus on your strengths. And most importantly, don’t let others define who you are – only you can do that.

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