Having self-esteem means appreciating yourself, to value yourself. Unfortunately, the value you give yourself may not really come from within you, since the value we give to things is learned mentally, so it may have been imposed by society, or at least great part of what you value of yourself is influenced by the way of thinking of the society of which you are a part.
Imagine a woman who was raised in a prosper home, in Mexico there are common frases for women, like “you look prettier when you’re quiet”, so imagine a girl who was raised like that, when she was happy playing and suddenly laughed out loud they silenced her -Dont be noisy!- and gave her an irritated glance. This was reinforced by observing in her own house how her mother repressed her own emotions, and that her grandmother told her that her mother was very brave for crying alone in silence and showing herself happy and smiling before the her father. Her father treated her well, like a princess, and brought her gifts from all her travels, thanks to this the girl learned that she is valuable. So she does have a high self-esteem, she values herself. On the other hand, what was imprinted on this girl’s mind is that women are more valuable if they are reserved and quiet, so even though she considers herself valuable as a woman, she does not consider herself worthy of expressing herself.
How is this related with selflove?
Only if she manages to learn to love herself, will she be able to transcend her cultural barrier to feel worthy and free to express herself.
We all have certain barriers imposed by our family and our society, as well as the values imposed by them, not necessarily because our parents did not love us, or did not love us in their own way, but they also learned behaviors and values from their parents, they did not love themselves fully and did not accept themselves completely, because they learned that by suffering in some aspects they would be accepted by others.
So getting to the point… What is the difference between self-love and self-esteem? that while self-esteem is limited to how much you appreciate or value yourself -which as we have already seen is limited by your beliefs and learned values; self-love implies the process in which you accept yourself completely the way you are (nobody has achieved this to 100% -at least no one I know- because we are precisely here as humans to learn to love). It also implies removing the masks that you put on yourself because they are learned behaviors, which not allow you to be yourself or who you really want to be according to your essence, because of fear of not being accepted. It is also the process of considering yourself worthy of love and affection, despite what you have done in the past because you may think that you have hurt others, accepting that this is how you learned and those who felt hurt by your actions also learned, is to accept everything as it is. That what loving yourself means, and at the same you’ll learn to love everything and everyone, because when you truly love, you stop feeling better than others you realize that there’s no real meaning of them and me, since we’re all the same essencially.