The difference between self-love and self-esteem baffles many of us. When we listen to our heart, however, self-love blossoms quietly, but joyfully, filling each of our pores with immense peace and satisfaction. That is something that self-esteem cannot achieve.

The public has become familiar with the term self-esteem. It has become a household term. Yet, self-love is rarely mentioned. People believe that the terms are synonyms. Even wikipedia surprised me with a definition that equates self-love with self-esteem. This is what Wikipedia says about self-love.

"Self-love is the strong sense of respect for and confidence in oneself."

Respect? Confidence?

Is it the same to respect a person as to love them? I don't think so. The same applies to the self. Respecting yourself is a sign that you value yourself. But this does not necessarily mean that you love yourself. Self-love, as the term "love" implies is a feeling, perhaps a spiritual state, but it is not a thought, knowledge or conscious value.

Is being confident about someone's behavior or ability the same as loving them? No again.

What wikipedia describes above is self-esteem, not self-love. And the difference, while subtle, is at the core of self-empowerment and self-fulfillment.

How is self-love different from self-esteem?

Many of us believe that we are OK because we have a good self-esteem. What this often means is that we "know" that we are valuable and that what we do is good. We know it because we have a sense of the value of our talents and skills. We may have had experience in the past of helping others. We have received positive feedback. We may have gotten promotions in our job. All this lets us to know intellectually that we are valuable. As a result, we have a strong degree of confidence in the value we bring to the world.

This is our logical thought, our conscious mind. But then someone ridicules or rejects us and the card house comes tumbling down. We feel bad about ourselves, defensive, insufficient or threatened. We begin to doubt ourselves. We contract and feel small. We react defensively. Why?

Because in our unconscious there are old, toxic emotions and limiting beliefs --you know those-- that interfere with our valuing, accepting and loving ourselves UNCONDITIONALLY. These beliefs are old, irrational and deeply linked to our sense of self, to what shamans called Primary Identity. They may respond to insults or put downs we received in childhood, like:

"You are lazy. Who do you think you are? You'll never amount to anything!"

Or these "old voices" from the past may have be unspoken, like the projections that a poor, ignorant and insecure mother may throw onto her daughter, making her feel that she could not possibly be rich or important ever.

We've all been there. Your family is the last one to know or believe that you got an important award, that your business is successful or that you've been helping thousands of people. You've told them, but it goes into one ear and out the other. Why? Because, being one of them, you cannot possibly be more... more successful, important, visible, intelligent, whatever. Then you come out in the news or someone tells them and they are shocked. Perhaps they then accept it and basque in your glory. Perhaps they still stay on denial.

The sabotage, diminishing reactions and lack of support from their families impact millions of people who are trying to manifest their dreams or improve their situation. It especially impacts women.

All these attitudes, beliefs and silent or overt negative expectations are embedded in our emotional field and create what I call an Emotional Undertow; a quagmire of old, toxic emotions that drags you down and under. You are not aware that this undertow is there until something triggers it. Then it all rises to the surface, drowning your conscious knowledge.

That's why we are OK until some devalues us or we hit a hidden limit.

In contrast, when we experience self-love, there are no IFS. We feel, experience and enjoy UNCONDITIONAL love and acceptance of ourselves just as we are right now.

This is a deep, physical, soulful feeling of love, satisfaction and complete acceptance of our Self as it is now, an embracing of who we are in wholeness, without judgments or conditions. This feeling is rare, but it is healing, invigorating and joy producing.

Self-love is soooo liberating. It brings peace, supports your self-esteem and creates an impenetrable light of love shield against any attack or mistake. Not even our darkest Shadow can make us hate ourselves when we love ourselves.

Because it is a feeling, you can't make it happen with your mind. You need to free it from the core of your being. You need to release it from the bondage of the conditional love and damaging beliefs you inherited. You need to cultivate it every day until it flourishes within you and blossoms in your life.

That's why I've created the Self-love Give Away, to help you grow self-love. Everything else is a breeze!

Get self-love gifts, virtual hugs, tips on self-love and events to inspire your self love at

Author's Bio: 

Maria Mar is the Dream Alchemist, an author, poet, shaman and spiritual teacher whose life mission is to inspire women and all creative, spiritual beings to live a rich, fulfilling and magical life right now! Maria has helped thousands of women in three continents to break free from limitations so that they can unleash their greatness and fulfill their life purpose. Maria is the author of "Rewrite your Fairy Tales for Success" "Do you Deserve Success? The Answer is Yes!" "The Success Seed Gardening Kit" and the upcoming novel "Angelina and the Law of Attraction." Find out more about Maria at her blog, or her website, You can also find Maria Mar in Facebook and Twitter as the Dream Alchemist.