Self-esteem is a crucial component of your mental health and well-being. It is also crucial to your performance as a leader – let’s face it, no one wants to follow someone who has low self-esteem! It is the foundation of your confidence, resilience, and ability to achieve your goals. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with low self-esteem, which can have a negative impact on our relationships, career, and overall quality of life. The good news is that building self-esteem is possible, and it’s a journey that anyone can embark on.
One of the most influential voices on the subject of self-esteem is Nathaniel Branden, a psychotherapist and author who coined the term “self-esteem” and developed a framework for understanding and building it. In his book, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Branden outlines six key practices that are essential for cultivating healthy self-esteem.
The first pillar is living consciously, which means being present and engaged in your life, rather than living on autopilot. This involves being aware of your thoughts and feelings, taking responsibility for your choices, and actively pursuing your goals and desires.
The second pillar is self-acceptance, which involves embracing all aspects of yourself, including your strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. It means acknowledging that you are imperfect and making peace with that reality, rather than striving for an unattainable ideal of perfection.
The third pillar is self-responsibility, which means taking ownership of your life and your choices. It involves recognizing that you are the author of your own story and that you have the power to shape your own destiny.
The fourth pillar is self-assertiveness, which involves expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a clear and direct manner. It means standing up for yourself and setting boundaries, rather than allowing others to dictate your life.
The fifth pillar is living purposefully, which means aligning your actions with your values and goals. It involves identifying what is important to you and pursuing those things with passion and determination.
The sixth and final pillar is personal integrity, which involves living in accordance with your principles and values. It means being honest with yourself and others, keeping your promises, and being true to your word.
While the six pillars provide a useful framework for building self-esteem, there are also other practices that can be helpful. Here are a few additional tips for cultivating healthy self-esteem:
- Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness, care, and understanding that you would offer to a good friend. When you make mistakes or face challenges, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and that it’s okay to fall short sometimes.
- Challenge your negative self-talk: Notice the critical or judgmental thoughts that run through your mind and question their validity. Ask yourself if there is evidence to support these thoughts, and if not, challenge them with more realistic and positive alternatives.
- Celebrate your successes: Take time to acknowledge and appreciate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize your hard work and the progress you have made, and allow yourself to feel proud of yourself.
- Surround yourself with positive influences: Seek out people who uplift and encourage you, and avoid those who bring you down or drain your energy. Build a support network of friends, family, or professionals who can offer you guidance, feedback, and encouragement.
Building self-esteem is a lifelong journey, and it requires patience, persistence, and self-compassion. But with the right mindset and practices, it is possible to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence. So take the first step today and commit to building your self-esteem, one pillar at a time.
- The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, by Nathaniel Brandon (affiliate link)