Today is Day 4 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

People often think that self-love and self-esteem are one and the same. But that’s not true. While they do support each other and are built from similar factors, they are different aspect of the way you view and treat yourself. Having one can help you build the other. To me, good self-esteem comes from being proud of who you and what you do. And it might be related to just one piece of you. Self-love is an overall self-acceptance of who you are as a person, despite flaws, that creates an inner desire to take good care of you and focus on what makes you happy.

I want you to understand the difference so you don’t short-change yourself by mistaking self-esteem for self-love. I believe that while you can have good self-esteem without loving yourself fully, self-love is usually accompanied by good self-esteem. I’ve worked with people who were confident in one area of their lives and thought that was also self-love. But they didn’t treat themselves lovingly.

From what I’ve seen, having good self-esteem is more prevalent than loving yourself. And you can have good self-esteem in some areas of your life and not in others. You might be confident about work but not your social skills. Or you might attract people with your good looks but don’t feel smart or skillful. You might feel fabulous behind a computer but not in real life. Or you’re a great communicator with people you know but freeze in a group of strangers. When you love yourself, you accept yourself with those shortcomings and it improves your overall self-esteem.

I had good self-esteem first. After years of feeling low about me when I was a DoorMat, I developed some businesses that did well. I was just beginning to love myself but was still insecure about many things about me. As I begin to succeed in business, my confidence increased. I felt good about how much I accomplished so my self-esteem related to work stuff got strong as I got respect from many people. Having confidence felt great and buoyed me on to achieve more.

Unfortunately this didn’t carry into my personal life, where I still struggled. One day someone called me on it. She asked if I realized that when I spoke about business stuff, my demeanor was strong and confident. But when I talked about men or issues with friends or family, I became like a wimp—the one who used to live in Doormatville! She said I sounded almost like an insecure little girl and that’s how I came across to people in my personal life.

As I went into defensive mode, she reminded me that no matter where I am or who I’m with, I’m still the successful women who has great self-esteem about her business ability. She implored me to carry my confident business persona into my personal life by remembering I’m that same person. Slowly, I integrated the confident side of me into all areas of my life. It felt great and fueled my self-love.

Sometimes good self-esteem in one area can turn into cockiness or conceit, which is not loving. It’s good to think well of yourself but not to a point where you think you’re better than some people. Good self-esteem is feeling good about you in positive, not arrogant ways. An arrogant attitude often happens when you don’t love yourself and insecurity motivates flaunting what you’re good at. People who have true self-esteem treat people well, as do people who love themselves.

When you integrate the confidence from the self-esteem you may have in one area of your life, it can blossom into strong self-love. Pay attention to how you feel in different situations. Notice when you feel the most confident and remind yourself you’re the same person in other areas. Love it all—the very good way you handle yourself sometimes—and the times you’re not as good as you’d like to be. None of us are perfect, and it’s okay, as long as you accept that. True self-esteem and self-love both include self-acceptance as you are right now. Then you can have good self-esteem and strong self love!

***************

Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts