The Difference Between Value & Worth

Value and worth are so similar, many dictionaries use the one to define the other.

But according to the Dictionary of Me, there is a difference.

Value is acquired, it is the significance society gives something. Society gives Nike sneakers, being a bus driver, reading Architectural Digest a certain value and, accordingly, a certain status in the food chain.

Worth is innate, it is the significance we carry in ourselves. It cannot be given to us or taken away from us. It is too immense to be pigeonholed into food chains and status. It is the immeasurable and original quality we living beings are built with.

The tricky piece: value can make us question our worth. Society might not value my career zigzag or your choice to leave your job and bike to all the national parks. This devaluing has so many messengers - raised eyebrows, people not understanding us, few role models - we can question ourselves.

A reminder: the way we unshackle from value and live from worth is by staying loyal to what matters to us. When we step out of the status quo because part of us will die if we don’t, that is living from our worth.

It is not easy. But not easy does not mean not possible. We are not beholden to society’s value.

The Dictionary of Me sees value as a bit like mass produced carpeting. It covers up the original wood floor the house was built with. For many of us, the work of our lives is pulling off the carpeting to see the innate worth beneath. And there in that worth is our freedom.

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