What Is The Difference Between Self Esteem And Self Acceptance?

What Is The Difference Between Self Esteem And Self Acceptance?

self acceptance

In the modern world, we are used to hearing about self-love terms but sometimes these terms can become intertwined and lose their true meaning. Two such terms and self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Self-esteem refers to how worthy we see ourselves as; we will judge ourselves and decide whether we think we are good enough. In contrast, self-acceptance refers to our ability to embrace who we are as a human being and sit with that.

In this article we will be looking at self-acceptance vs self-esteem and showing you some useful things that you can do to improve your self-acceptance.

Self-Acceptance vs Self-Esteem

It is widely accepted that self-esteem places more of a focus on how others view us. In a sense, we develop our self-esteem based on how we see ourselves and how others see us. For example, if you were to go to a place and everyone there were to tell you how wonderful you are; you are beautiful, you are intelligent, you are successful, you are loved and so on, it would be very easy to develop a strong sense of self-esteem. This is because you are being told things that improve your ability to practice self-love and you are left feeling good.

Conversely, if you were to go to the same place and have other people telling you terrible things about yourself, you would likely focus on these weaknesses and your self-esteem would plummet. However, self-esteem isn’t only based on the thoughts of other people, it also develops as you build more confidence in who you are as a person.

There are some people who thrive off the things that others say about them and who will search out these things to feel good; provided this isn’t done in arrogance, it’s fine. In contrast, there are others who, no matter what anyone else tells them, focus solely on their weaknesses and have trouble feeling anything good about themselves. In this case, it can be beneficial to get help, mental health programs with a therapist can improve these feelings.

Your level of self-esteem is based on the value you place on yourself and whether you feel good enough. In modern society, is is easy for us to experience feelings of low self-esteem as so much emphasis is placed on anyone who does not fit the social norm or who is not as successful in life as they ‘ought’ to be.

Self-acceptance is something totally different; regardless of your level of self-esteem, many people are able to embrace who they are as a person and demonstrate self accepting behaviours. This is not about meeting the expectations of others but more about your own feelings and accepting that, despite your flaws, you are worthy.

One of the great things about this is that it is something that, once you develop, you can use to increase your self-esteem. Many people will tell you that the answer lies in having a little self-compassion and focusing on your strengths. Nobody is perfect and as people, we need to accept this. It is not something that is easy but many will start by reducing their self-criticism and will place a focus on the present moment – right now, you are grateful and good things will come your way, because you are a good person.

These affirmations may seem small but more and more of us are using them as a starting point to improve confidence and well being.

What Is Different Between Self Love And Self Esteem?

Self-love is another term whose meaning has gotten a little lost. Self-love refers to the love and respect we show ourselves. It is easy to feel overcome by the responsibilities in your work or family life and when we feel criticised, this is something that is easy for us to believe. In contrast, when another person offers us a compliment, something that is intended to be positive, it is easy for us to deflect this.

One therapist describes self-esteem as being an evaluation of yourself and self-acceptance is more of an attitude; self-love is a combination of both of these things.

In short, our confidence and self-acceptance will never be able to grow if we do not show some self-compassion and self-love – they all go hand in hand.

Each of these things will overlap; it would be almost impossible to have a deep self-love without having a good level of self-esteem and someone without seld-esteem, or confidence would unlikely be able to be self-accepting.

How Do You Gain More Self-Acceptance?

Depending on your personality, you may find it easy to gain self-acceptance, but for many others, this is a difficult concept. The way in which you develop your self-acceptance will vary but once you are able to take the help, you will notice that your esteem is vastly improved.

Of course, one of the most effective ways to address this type of issue is to share your thoughts with a therapist who will be able to share suggestions with you on how to improve your overall sense of mental well being. But there are other ways that you can increase your self-acceptance.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that you do not need to use self-acceptance as a way of permitting yourself to behave in a negative way or condone any negative aspects of who you are. We all have flaws but this process of self-acceptance is about exactly that; accepting both the good and bad and working with it. Many of those who have a good self-acceptance are much more easily able to address the negative traits and feelings that they have and improve these.

  • Try standing in front of a mirror and look at various aspects of yourself; these can be good and bad but try not to judge them; simply observe and allow yourself to accept every part of who you are. This can take some practice but is important for your personal growth.
  • You might try some self-acceptance meditation sessions, and whether you choose to use an app or go to a meditation teacher this is a great way to grow your confidence.
  • Self-acceptance mantras are an excellent way to promote self-compassion and love and repeating these every day can yield positive results in your life.
  • Celebrate your positive points and get others involved too – invite your parents over and share a happy story about your day or spend some time with a friend and talk about your positive feelings – it is OK to enjoy who you are. Similarly, do not be afraid to talk about and accept any bad feelings, the more you can face these, the easier it will be to accept them as part of who you are.
  • Allow yourself to grieve; this doesn’t need to be over the loss of someone, although that is OK but more about grieving things that you have lost; that important promotion, the apartment you wanted to rent. Doing this will allow you to see if your choices led to this and will allow for self-improvement. But remember not to judge yourself.


Self-esteem is a feeling of worth or value that we have about ourselves whereas self-acceptance is our ability to accept who we are without judgement. Furthermore, having self-acceptance means that we can be more successful in the future because we are easily able to look at the good and bad aspects of who we are and learn to live with them and work on them.

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