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Creating Self-Esteem - Part 2
Posted: 8/11/2011 | Personal Development Comments
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 "You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

- Buddha

In my last blog, I discussed what it means to have healthy self-esteem. We know that it goes beyond feeling good about ourselves and actually has us live more powerfully, more responsibly, and more compassionately. Healthy self-esteem can grease the wheels of our lives enabling us to weather the ups and downs inherent in our life experience. But if we don’t have strong self-esteem, how can we get it?
Some of us didn’t get the reassurance, encouragement and ego building that would have helped us develop into confident self-reliant adults. A critical parent or a difficult family dynamic often puts the template in place for us to suffer with low or defensive self-esteem and teaches us to see ourselves as if we are simply our mistakes and our challenges. Some children who grew up in tumultuous households seem to survive better than others. But some of those observable survival skills can still be part of a false self that will need to be examined in order to fully reach one’s potential. 
“Good enough” parenting as well as supportive schools and religious institutions help facilitate developing a deep sense of worthiness and competence. Worthiness and competence that we gain from living up to certain fundamental values and personal commitments promote human development and integrity. 
Psychotherapist Nathaniel Braden, Ph.D, defined self-esteem as “The disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.” The National Association for Self-Esteem modified this to define self-esteem as "The experience of being capable of meeting life's challenges and being worthy of happiness." I would like to add that our actions come from an inner sense of integrity and that we grow to feel worthy of happiness. 
There are those who will say, “It’s easy, just change your mind!” They will tell you that you only need affirmations and just “know” that you can do anything. Affirmations are positive beliefs that we use to contradict and counter balance negative beliefs from childhood. If the negative beliefs remain unexplored and unexamined, the affirmations often have trouble getting past our own inner blocks. Also, while affirmations can be good support, no one can do anything and everything. Part of having healthy self esteem is knowing your human and personal limitations as well as your gifts and talents.
For example, having grown up allergic to cats, working in a veterinary office might not be the best choice for me. Working with our limitations doesn’t mean we don’t want to learn and grow, but career decisions made from our childhood wounding can lead to continuous failure, disappointments or at the very least, a lack of fulfillment. True power and healthy self-esteem is grounded in reality and has us stay on our cutting edge physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Good, grounded psychotherapy, a scrupulous spiritual practice and self improvement books or workshops can help us examine, heal and release those beliefs and feeling patterns that can keep us stuck in the same place. We can change and build a strong foundation for healthy self-esteem, but it will take some time and effort. 
Nathaniel Braden, Ph.D, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, suggests that there are six practices that form the foundation of self-esteem:
  1. Living consciously. Practice being open, present and continually seeking knowledge.
  2. Self-acceptance. Give yourself the space to be all of who you are … a person with strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Self-responsibility. Own your choices and actions. Be aware of how your choices affect those around you.
  4. Self-assertiveness. Stand up for yourself and your values.
  5. Living purposely. Identify your desires, goals and intentions and take the necessary actions to make them happen.
  6. Personal integrity. Honor your word and your truth while respecting the truth of others.
By practicing these steps we honor ourselves and the world around us. We learn to live our lives with more grace, power and ease. We can cope with the challenges and pain while inviting more joy and peace into our lives. 
Have you implemented these practices? If so, how have they made a difference for you? Do you have any ideas that you’d like to add to these? In Part 3 I’ll have more steps to healthy self-esteem. I look forward to hearing about your experience. Your comments make a difference for all of us.


Kara Lane       Posted: 8/25/2011 7:53:23 PM

I read The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem years ago and appreciated the reminder in your post. It makes me want to go back and re-read it.

I also liked your point that our actions come from an inner sense of integrity and that we grow to feel worthy of happiness. Sometimes today I believe there is a sense of entitlement and a feeling that self-esteem should be "given" to everyone. But it''s not something you can give someone else and if we''re not practicing personal integrity, we know it on some level and our self-esteem suffers. Fortunately, the reverse is true, too.

Thanks for the post. I''ll have to go back and read Part I of your blog on self-esteem, and I look forward to reading Part III.

Mad P. Worker       Posted: 10/4/2011 7:11:30 PM

Great article Jen! Completely loved it! :)
You can also check out my article on being postive at work How Do You See Yourself? - A Guide on Being Positive


Tyrell Mara       Posted: 8/18/2011 10:26:38 AM

Great post Jennifer!

I really appreciate your description of self-esteem and some of the obstacles and barriers we have to overcome to understand it in our own lives (also understanding that self-esteem needs to be set in reality).

One of the most interesting points that I found in your post was around affirmations and your comment "If the negative beliefs remain unexplored and unexamined, the affirmations often have trouble getting past our own inner blocks.”

This, along with Nathanial''s 6 points really speak to me about truly knowing and understanding yourself. That our self esteem grows stronger the more we understand and are confident in our true self.

Thank you for your great perspective and insights!



maillot de foot pas cher       Posted: 3/21/2014 3:34:09 PM

Great, thanks for sharing this blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

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