Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

How often do you think, “I know the way I’m eating is wrecking my health.”  Yet you go ahead and do it anyway?

For the past 3 months my team and I have been reading a very thought provoking book about self-esteem.  I find it intriguing to learn why people have more confidence in some situations than others; what factors from our childhood impact our self-esteem as adults; and the fact that conflict between thoughts and actions is sabotaging to our self-esteem… even when we don’t know it.

Self-esteem, as defined by Nathaniel Branden in his book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, is simply the reputation we acquire with ourselves.

Branden has outlined six pillars of self-esteem.  They are:

The Practice of Living Consciously

The Practice of Self-Acceptance

The Practice of Self-Responsibility

The Practice of Self-Assertiveness

The Practice of Living Purposefully

The Practice of Personal Integrity

Now, at first glance, these seem pretty self-explanatory.  However, have you ever considered what living consciously means? Or more importantly, what it means to you? 

What would happen if you brought 5% more awareness to your most important relationships?  (Click here to read more…)

These questions just skim the surface of the complexity of self-esteem.  When our thoughts and our actions contradict, this leads to destruction of our self-esteem.  Once self-esteem is damaged, the only way to re-build it is by practicing thought-action congruence in the specific area which has suffered.

The extent to which the pillars of self-esteem are integrated into our daily life is the extent to which self-esteem is strengthened and supported.  The converse is also true. 

One of the most powerful tools I’ve ever seen for strengthening self-esteem is sentence completion.  Branden created this exercise to increase the connection between subconscious action and conscious thought.  Here are some examples I encourage you to try.

For each of the following sentence stems, write down 7-10 endings as fast as possible.  This is not a think-and-ponder type of exercise.  Rather, a quick instinctual response is best.

If I bring more awareness to my life today…

If I take more responsibility for my choices and actions today…

If I pay more attention to how I deal with people today…

If I boost my energy level by 5% today…

Then consider: If any of what I wrote is true, it might be helpful if I…

So tell me this, how important is your self-esteem to you?  Even if it’s great, could it be better?  If you’ve been intrigued by any of these questions, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Branden’s book, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.  Branden asserts that self-esteem is not a gift, but rather a possession over time that represents achievement.  If you raised your self-esteem by 5% today…