Showing posts with label Nathaniel Branden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nathaniel Branden. Show all posts

Monday, April 21, 2014

Self-Esteem Has 6 Pillars

My favorite author on the topic of self-esteem is Nathaniel Branden. No one holds a close second.

Through his writing, I believe he’s done more than anyone else to show just how critical a healthy sense of self is to a person’s overall well-being and happiness.

In his masterpiece, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Dr. Branden brilliantly describes 6 elements that are core to developing strong self-esteem. I list them here with a brief summary of what each entails.

Which of these are strengths for you?

Which one could you develop more fully to increase your sense of worth and value?

1 – The Practice of Living Consciously

You choose to be aware of everything that impacts the actions you take. You’re open to gathering relevant facts that may or may not align with your existing perceptions, and you’re willing to change your opinion readily as you learn new information. You are not threatened by others whose ideas differ from yours. Instead, you welcome the opportunity to learn from them.

“Self-esteem expresses itself in a face, manner, and way of talking and moving that projects the pleasure one takes in being alive.”

2 – The Practice of Self-Acceptance

You are your own best friend. You forgive yourself as readily as you would those closest to you. You acknowledge your human frailties and imperfections, yet you do not allow these to define you. In spite of mistakes, you accept yourself completely. You recognize that if you deny any aspect of yourself, you will be less likely to change and grow in that area.

“Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.”

3 – The Practice of Self-Responsibility

You recognize the role you play in all aspects of your life – the quality of your relationships, the way you use your time, the values you choose to live by. You refuse to blame others for your circumstances. You look within for explanations and solutions. You do not feel guilt for what is beyond your control, focusing instead on those areas you can influence.

“No one is coming. If I don’t do something, nothing is going to get better.”

4 – The Practice of Self-Assertiveness

You honor your own wants and needs. You stand up for yourself. You consistently speak up for yourself. You hold a deep conviction that your wants are important. You’re willing to confront challenging situations and people rather than withdraw or avoid.

“Some people stand and move as if they have no right to the space they occupy.”

5 – The Practice of Living Purposefully

You identify the goals that give meaning to your life, and you use your powers to bring them into reality. You avoid wishful thinking. You translate your thoughts and desires into actions. You exercise self-discipline because you know the importance of organizing your behavior to make sure tasks get done. You recognize that an aspect of purposeful living includes making time for rest, relaxation, fun, and laughter.

“The root of our self-esteem is not our achievements but those internally generated practices that, among other things, make it possible for us to achieve.”

6 – The Practice of Personal Integrity

You live in congruence with your principles. Your words and behavior match. You regularly take time to reflect on actions you've taken and whether they’re aligned with your stated values. You evaluate beliefs and values you've been taught, and you’re willing to question if they are still appropriate for you today. You’re willing to forge your own, if necessary.

“When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose face in our own eyes.”

To gain a deeper appreciation about the importance of each pillar in building your own self-esteem, I highly recommend you read the book.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How Quickly Do You Get to a Place of Acceptance?

On the first day of 2014, my husband and I had a terrific fall/winter garden in place, with rows of healthy vegetables like kale (3 varieties), collards and broccoli growing nicely. But then the bitterly cold weather hit a few weeks later, with temperatures in the single-digits.

And all those lovely veggies got decimated overnight.

I allowed myself a few minutes of feeling frustrated and disappointed. We’d invested a lot of time in sowing and caring for all those plants…and then they were gone in less than a day.

But I quickly realized there was nothing I could do to change the outcome, and now we’re focused on plans for our spring garden.

When it comes to Mother Nature, I reach a level of acceptance rather quickly. I recognize that what happens with the weather is totally out of my control, and I don’t expend a lot of energy wishing for a different outcome.

But in situations involving human beings, accepting reality can be trickier.

One reason: We think we have the power to influence another person’s behavior.

And of course, sometimes you can.

But the fact is, for many situations, you have absolutely no control over people’s actions. Just a few examples…
  • A family member drinks too much, eats unhealthy foods, smokes or has some other bad habit that concerns you.

  • A potential client indicates she’s eager to work with you or buy your product, and another decision-maker in her organization shoots down the idea so the deal is dead.

  • A friend promises to help you with an important activity but has to cancel at the last minute. This is not the first time he has failed to come through for you.
When you find yourself in circumstances like these, you have a choice about your response.

You can stew and fuss about what the other person did or did not do. This expends precious emotional and mental energy by focusing on the negative.

You can replay individual scenes repeatedly in your mind, thinking about what happened and what you wish had occurred instead. This rehash of the past is futile. You cannot change what has already transpired.

You can accept the reality of what happened or is happening and move on.

This last one is tough, because you may not want to stare the truth in the face. Or you prefer to make excuses. Or blame the person, your bad luck or some other external event.

But facing the truth is the only option that can bring you to a place of calm and peace.

Acceptance is all about seeing and acknowledging what IS.

As psychologist Nathaniel Branden brilliantly observed: "Accepting does not necessarily mean 'liking,' 'enjoying,' or 'condoning.' I can accept what is—and be determined to evolve from there. It is not acceptance but denial that leaves me stuck."

Next time something happens to you – or someone does something – that elicits a negative reaction from you, monitor your thoughts and self-talk.

The faster you can recognize the reality of the situation, the faster you'll be able to  make positive, healthy choices about your next step.

“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” - Virginia Satir, American psychologist (1916-1988)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self-Esteem - Believe in Your Own Worth.

It’s natural to want others to like you and accept you. When you’re happy to be the person you are, you won’t be as concerned about what other people think. Learn why immunity to the criticism of others is a key ingredient to developing a healthy self-esteem.

What do you do on a regular basis to keep your self-esteem strong and healthy?
"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are." - Malcolm S. Forbes, American publisher

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” - Mark Twain, American novelist

"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." - Lucille Ball, American comedian

"Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other." - Maxwell Maltz, American author