What do you think is the difference between these 4 terms?

Self esteem

Self image

Self respect

Self  confidence

Is there a difference?

I think there is.  I think they are closely related, but significantly different.  Here’s how I would define them:

Self esteem: How do I FEEL about myself?  (This is an emotional view.)

Self image: How do I PERCEIVE myself?  (This is an intellectual view.)

Self respect: How to I TREAT myself?  (This is a physical view.)

Self confidence: How do I OFFER myself?  (This is a relational view.)


They are different, yet closely related.   In fact, they are often consistent with each other.  How you feel about yourself is reflected in how you perceive yourself, how you treat yourself and how you offer yourself to the world.   In fact, in an ideal world, they are not only consistent, but positive.  You feel good about yourself, you perceive yourself as a wonderfully talented and engaging person, you treat yourself with respect and dignity, and you move forward in the world, confidently navigating your life through secure and rich relationships.  Further, in an ideal world, your view of yourself is accurate.  You really ARE all that!

But are you like me?  Do you suffer from a “skewed view?”  Sometimes I don’t view  myself as accurately as I should.  I don’t view myself as good, or engaging, or dignified or secure.  I put myself down.  I treat myself poorly.  I shrink back from relationships.

And sometimes,  these 4 qualities are not consistent with each other.  I may come across as super confident, but inside, I’m fearful of failure.  That inconsistency  leads me to feeling guilty because I am not genuine.  I begin a round of self-condemnation.  YOU think I’m confident, and I know I’m not what you think I am, so the inconsistency causes me to spiral down the slippery slope towards a skewed view of self-perception.  My self image is marred.

It’s a vicious circle.

But it can end.  It starts in my thinking.

Romans 12:2-3  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.  …Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (italics mine)

Think of yourself with sober judgement.  That means ACCURATELY.  And to do that, you must know what is truth.  And truth is found in the pages of scripture.  To think accurately, we must measure our thoughts against scripture and make the adjustments.  2 corinthian 10:5 says ” We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ” My thoughts need to be in line with God’s thoughts, found in the Bible.

Easier said than done, huh?  I agree.  It’s a constant and daily effort.  But it’s possible. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13).  So can you.

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