Part 2- Strengthening Your Self Esteem
July 27, 2020
Yesterday, I shared details about the two key elements that make up our Self-Esteem- Self-Efficacy, and Self-Respect.
Self-Esteem issues manifest in many ways for different people.
- You feel you are not smart and inherently slow-witted.
- You think you are unattractive, physically, or in any other way.
- You are clumsy
- You are bad with money
- You are bad in relationships
- You don’t deserve happiness.
- You don’t deserve the success because you are inherently ineligible.
The good thing about self-esteem is that it is malleable. With the right intervention, coaching, support, and committed action, it is possible to transform radically.
I have benefitted immensely in my understanding of this subject from a Book by Dr.Nathaniel Brendan titled “6 Pillars of Self Esteem”. Many personal practices I have adopted in my life come from the six pillars that Dr.Brendan says are key for developing healthy Self-Esteem.
Pillar 1- The Practice of living consciously
How are your days, weeks, months organized? Are you conscious of your goals and allocating your time, energy, and effort according to what is essential for you? How does your calendar look? Do you have potent rituals to manage your physical, mental well-being, and personal energy to play your best game?
When you become more conscious about what you do every day, you have the power to take action that is directed to help you grow and develop. You need to live consciously to act consciously.
Pillar 2- The Practice of Self-Acceptance
Not everyone can be good at everything. All of us have some strengths and shortcomings that are unique. However, instead of being comfortable with who we are, we are continually trying to make ourselves look better than who we are. We try to kid ourselves and those around us. We posture for effect.
There is nothing more debilitating than your unwillingness to face up to your deficiencies.
Only when you are comfortable with and accept your shortcomings will you begin to work on improving and growing. Otherwise, you will be in a state of denial and defensiveness.
Being vulnerable to accept your gaps is an act of courage. Self-acceptance helps to grow your self-esteem.
Pillar 3-The Practise of self-responsibility
I am not aware of anyone who shirks responsibility, loves playing the victim, blames others, and operates with high self-esteem.
Giving excuses not to do whatever needs to be done is a mindset of abdicating responsibility.
When you don’t assume responsibility to manage your life better by doing whatever is necessary and essential, it will slowly erode your self-esteem. Taking responsibility for your life requires courage and willingness to endure failure and pain.
Self-Esteem grows in proportion to the self-responsibility you take and the pain you are willing to endure.
Pillar 4-The practice of self-assertiveness.
I am a teetotaller. When I was young, my friends in my college would push me to consume alcohol. They would rag me when I refused. “How can you be so uncool and prudish?”. I was advised that to blend in, I should be willing to compromise. I did not give in. I decided early enough that I would not change my behavior to please others. My friends learned to respect my space and let me be.
Being assertive does not mean lacking in social awareness and being pushy. Being self-assertive means being authentic and true to your value system unwilling to compromise. Your core values are like an anchor to your life. They help you lead your life according to a set of rules you define for yourself.
Are you willing to fight for what you believe in and willing to stand up for your core values? Are you prepared to get hurt even if it means holding your ground.? You grow in character when you stand for something.
Pillar 5- The Practise of living purposefully
Do you have a reason that powers your life every day?
A purposeful life has meaning. It is like the life of a soldier. Beyond the job description of doing a job, a soldier has the purpose of defending the country. There is meaning to the job that he does.
When you identify the purpose in your life, you no longer operate to a base standard. You play to a higher ideal, with a clear intention and hope. You maximize your resources , your money, and your leisure time. You fill your life with activities that feel good and also have deep meaning.
The purpose is the foundation that allows you to build a life of meaning and shapes a positive self-image.
Pillar 6- The practice of personal integrity.
If I act against my inner values and inner belief system, there is a witness called the subconscious mind watching me every moment. I promised myself that I would get up at 6 am to go for a jog. I sleep through and don’t get up, and the inner voice tells me that I defaulted. Similarly, I commit to respond to someone by a specific time, but I default. There is an inner voice that is tracking me.
The practice of personal integrity is in honoring commitments you make to yourself and those around you.
All of us are born with infinite potential and equal worth as human beings. That any of us is anything less is a false story that we tell ourselves. The six pillars offer a useful framework for us to evaluate our current state and work on specific actions to enhance the feeling of self-worth that already exists in every one of us.