In contemporary psychological literature, there are a variety of terms used to refer to the self: Self-concept, self-image, self-representation, and self-picture are used to refer to the way a person sees and thinks of him- or herself; other terms, such as self-regard, self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, and self-love, are employed for indicating evaluation of the self – how favorably a person feels toward him- or herself.
For some theorists, “self-concept” encompasses both how one sees oneself and how one feels about oneself. For example, Morris Rosenberg purports that self-concept refers to “the totality of the individual’s thoughts and feelings having reference to himself as an object.”
I find it helpful to differentiate between self-concept and self-esteem. Self-concept refers to the way a person consciously perceives him- or herself. The central core of that concept usually consists of one’s name, body feelings, body image, sex, age, job, family, social class, religious affiliation, noted achievements, and other things that make one unique among others – the cognitive picture one holds of oneself.
According to Michael Argyle, “self-esteem is the extent to which a person approves of and accepts himself, and regards himself as praiseworthy, either absolutely or in comparison with others.” Stanley Coopersmith indicates that self-esteem refers to
the evaluation which the individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to himself: it expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval, and indicates the extent to which the individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful, and worthy. In short, self-esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in attitudes the individual holds toward himself.