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Self Esteem

What is self esteem? According to Nathaniel Branden self esteem can be defined as, “the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life, and as being worthy of happiness.” [1][1]

Self esteem has to be grounded in reality through conscious living, having a sense of self-responsibility, and living with integrity. Self esteem does not boast of qualities that one does not possess or seek to prove that one is superior to someone else. In fact, those qualities show a lack of self-esteem.

Six Pillars of Self Esteem

Nathaniel Branden gave six pillars of self esteem that can be summarized as follows.

1) Live consciously, be present, and respect facts.

2) Have self acceptance, be willing to own thoughts, actions, and feelings without harsh judgments.

3) Practice self-responsibility and acknowledge that each of is are responsible for our lives and wellbeing. No one exists to serve us, so if we need the cooperation of others there has to be a fair value exchange.

4) Be assertive and authentic when dealing with others.

5. Live with a purpose, have short and long term goals. Organize ones behaviors in order to align to those goals.

6. Live with integrity and coherence. What you think, do, and know should be congruent.


Activities to Build Self Esteem

1. Use positive affirmations that resonate with you. If an affirmation causes distress when you repeat it, then it’s not going to be helpful. Instead choose words that are in harmony with your current presence.

2. Seek to solve your problems by asking “What possibilities for action exist?” You may not be able to make huge changes all at once, but you can reflect on your choices and then follow through on what makes sense. This will help to avoid falling into learned helplessness.

3. Know your power and your limits. Know what you have the power to do and know what your limits are. Accept both sides. Avoid feeling bad about things that are outside of your control.

4. Appreciate your uniqueness and beauty. Don’t compare yourself to others. Get off of social media if it’s draining you.

5. Set a goal and work towards it. Wherever you are in life, you can set some kind of goal. Maybe you will exercise a certain amount of times each week, maybe you will commit to improving your hygiene routine, maybe you will find a book about a topic you like and enjoy it, maybe you will write a story. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, what matters is that it’s relevant to you and that you identify it and work towards it. When you complete that goal, move on to the next one.

6. Work on silencing your inner critic. It is not your friend or protector.


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