Self-worth vs. Self-esteem

Sunflower representing self-worth vs. self-esteem.

Self-worth is the belief that we are worthy
of being seen, heard, and valued,
regardless of performance.
Self-esteem is the belief that you can do things well.
It’s all about performance.
(Halo Project International)


My narrow understanding of the word “witness” expanded this week into self-worth, as in our lives need to be witnessed by another. We need to be seen, heard, and valued. In other words, witnessing others feeds their self-worth.

In the context of Recovery Month, substance use disorder (SUD) manipulates and robs one’s self-worth, breeding lies and taking more than it ever gives, making it more difficult for loved ones to walk well with someone struggling with SUD. This in turn, can challenge anyone’s self-worth when doubt and judgement seep in. Why can’t I figure this out? It’s my fault. If only I had… 

A Worthy Resource

Invitation to Change (ITC) offers a conversation around substance use that moves from one of shame and suffering to one of hope and positive action while encompassing Understanding, Awareness, and Action. It’s a resource that sees, hears, and values those struggling with substance use disorder, and all those affected.

Understanding teaches that behaviors make sense, one (recovery) size does not fit all, and ambivalence is normal. This does not justify damaging or confusing behaviors, but it does help explain them.

Awareness encourages self-awareness and self-compassion, and a willingness “to move toward what is important, while accepting the difficult feelings that come with change.”

Action offers behavior and communication tools to assist with moving forward differently.

Click here to interact with the Invitation to Change wheel and find out why there is a piano in the center of it.

Invitation to Change believes we are all worthy of being seen, heard, and valued (self-worth) regardless of our struggles and what we may or may not be doing (self-esteem), and has dedicated its time and resources to changing the conversation around substance use disorder. 

I. Am. Worthy.

You. Are. Worthy.


Call to Action

Witness someone this week. ❤️

Take 2 minutes and 19 seconds to learn about Invitation to Change’s science and kindness approach.

And…if you’re a music lover, or even if you aren’t, if you’re simply a lover of the human spirit, watch Once Were Brothers, a brilliant documentary about Robbie Robertson and The Band and how “it was so beautiful it went up in flames.”

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