Ego vs Self Esteem – 7 Crucial Differences

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ego and self-esteem? 

They might seem similar at first glance, but these two concepts play very different roles in our mental well-being. 

In this article, we’ll explore the key distinctions between ego and self-esteem and how understanding them can help improve your emotional health.

As you dive into this topic, you’ll find that ego is about how you see yourself and your sense of self-importance, while self-esteem focuses on how you feel about yourself and the value you place on your own worth. Recognizing these differences can empower you to cultivate a positive self-image and navigate your relationships more effectively. So, let’s get started on this journey of self-discovery and learn how to balance ego and self-esteem in your life.


Defining Ego and Self-Esteem

In this section, we will explore the core concepts of ego and self-esteem. It is essential to understand these terms and their distinctions to better comprehend their role in personal development and well-being.

The Ego

Ego is the idea that you are special, unique, and worthy of praise. It involves the belief that you are better than other people. 

The ego can be seen as the mental organ of justification, serving both cognitive and motivational functions (Psychology Today). 

It’s essential to remember that ego can be both beneficial and harmful. A healthy ego can help you take pride in your accomplishments and motivate you to reach new heights.

However, an inflated ego can lead to arrogance, entitlement, and a lack of empathy for others. People with big egos often struggle to put themselves in other people’s shoes and may not respect or love themselves. In short, the ego is a double-edged sword.

I don’t like when people become too humble because they think saying anything positive about you is perceived as bragging. The idea is to know what you are worth and be able to discuss it without bragging. I have an article on bragging vs sharing that will help you accomplish just that.


Self-esteem, on the other hand, is about finding value in yourself. It refers to your overall sense of self-worth and the belief in your abilities (Psychology Today). 

Self-esteem helps you maintain a positive outlook, boost confidence, and navigate challenging situations effectively.

Unlike ego, self-esteem is not based on the belief that you are better than others. Instead, it is about recognizing your strengths and accepting your flaws. 

Self-esteem can be shaped by various factors, such as personal successes, support from loved ones, and your mental health. It is a crucial element of your overall well-being and can significantly influence your relationships, academic performance, and career success.

Now that you have a better understanding of ego and self-esteem, you can further explore their implications for personal growth and self-improvement. 

Remember, finding a balance between a healthy ego and self-esteem is key to living a fulfilling and successful life.

7 Differences Between Ego and Self-esteem

1. Focus: Ego revolves around self-centeredness, constantly seeking to assert one’s superiority over others. Self-esteem, on the other hand, focuses on self-worth and self-acceptance, which allows you to relate better with others. 

2. Empathy: People with a big ego struggle to feel empathy, as they prioritize their own needs above others. High self-esteem, however, enables you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their feelings.

3. Respect: While ego seeks to belittle and control others, self-esteem appreciates the dignity and worth of all individuals. This helps in creating harmonious relationships and a positive environment.

4. Competition: The ego thrives on comparing oneself with others and constantly trying to outshine them. Self-esteem, on the other hand, supports personal development and growth without the need for competition.

5. Responsibility: People with high self-esteem take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes, while those with big egos are likely to blame others for their shortcomings and fail to grow from their experiences.

6. Security: Self-esteem instills a sense of inner security and confidence, while ego leads to insecurity, as it depends on external validation and approval. This makes individuals with strong egos more susceptible to criticism and social pressure.

7. Fulfillment: Lastly, self-esteem promotes a sense of genuine fulfillment and happiness in one’s life. In contrast, ego-driven individuals often feel unsatisfied and discontent, as their accomplishments don’t bring them lasting satisfaction.

How does a big ego affect your relationships?

Here are five reasons why having a big ego can affect your relationships:

  1. Causes unnecessary drama: A big ego can cause unnecessary drama in a relationship, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings.
  2. Communication breakdown: A big ego can lead to a communication breakdown in relationships, making it difficult for partners/friends, or family to connect with each other.
  3. Lack of empathy: A big ego can make it difficult for a person to empathize with their partner’s feelings and needs, leading to a lack of emotional connection.
  4. Stops growth: A big ego can make a person stubborn and unwilling to take advice from others, hindering their personal growth and development.
  5. Lack of presence: A big ego can make a person impatient and unable to stay in the moment, leading to a lack of presence and connection with others.

ego downsides


As you’ve learned, both ego and self-esteem play important roles in shaping your experiences and interactions. While the ego is the mental organ of justification and can help you feel confident and successful, it may sometimes hinder your ability to empathize with others. Meanwhile, self-esteem is the value you attribute to yourself and your abilities, enabling you to think positively, navigate challenges, and maintain self-respect.

Remember to strike a balance between these two concepts. By doing so, you’ll foster healthy self-confidence that allows you to reach new heights while also remaining empathetic and compassionate toward others. Acknowledging the differences between ego and self-esteem empowers you to embrace growth and become the best version of yourself.