The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem % Nathaniel Branden % _. Introduction. Let us identify the most important factors on which self-esteem depends. If self-esteem is . The six pillars of self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden; 4 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Self-esteem, Psicologia aplicada, Accessible. The six pillars of self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden, , Bantam edition, in English - Bantam trade pbk. ed.
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The best book about self esteem ever created. Identifier TheSixPillarsOfSelfEsteem_ Identifier-arkark://t7sn7hf7g. Ocr ABBYY. Immense in scope and vision and filled with insight into human motivation and behavior, The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem is essential reading for anyone with a. DOWNLOAD The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field By Nathaniel Branden [EBOOK EPUB.
It felt very complicated at the time. Branden devoted his life to the psychology of self-esteem, which culminated in the publication of this book in He discovered six pillars, which are the foundation on which one can develop a healthy amount of self-esteem, to live a fulfilled life. Accept yourself and take full responsibility. Living purposefully and practicing personal integrity are the hardest pillars of self-esteem.
Calcium strengthens our teeth and bones and is essential for a healthy body, while self-esteem is vital for strong psychological development. Why is this? These expectations influence our behavior in a way that turns them into reality. Self-esteem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because of his low self-esteem and the low expectations he had for himself. In order to steady his nerves, he chose to drink, became very drunk, behaved rudely and lost the job.
Unfortunately, his low self-esteem led to his downfall. Key ideas in this title Self-esteem is the immune system of consciousness, essential for performing at your best.
Self-esteem is about fighting for your right to happiness and facing challenges with confidence. The first pillar is the mind-set and practice of living consciously. The second and third pillars of self-esteem will teach you to accept yourself and take charge of your own happiness. Self-esteem, high or low, tends to be a generator of self-fulfilling prophecies.
Self-concept is destiny. Or, more precisely, it tends to be. Our self-concept is who and what we consciously think we are -- our physical and psychological traits, our assets and liabilities, possibilities and limitations, strengths and weaknesses. A self-concept includes our level of self-esteem, but is more global. We cannot understand a person's behaviour, without understanding the self-concept behind it. People sabotage themselves at the height of their success all the time.
They do so when success clashes with their implicit beliefs of what is appropriate to them. It is frightening to be flung beyond the limits of one's idea of who one is. If a self-concept can not accommodate a given level of success, and the self-concept does not change, it is predictable that the person will find ways to self-sabotage.
Poor self-esteem places us in an adversarial relationship with our well-being. Too Much Self-Esteem? The question is sometimes asked -- "Is it possible to have too much self-esteem?
No it is not. No more than it is possible to have to much physical health, or too powerful an immune system.
Sometimes self-esteem is confused with boasting, or bragging, or arrogance. These traits reflect not too much self-esteem, but too little.
They reflect a lack of self-esteem. Persons of high self-esteem are not driven to make themselves superior to others. They do not seek to prove their value by measuring themselves against a comparative standard.
Their joy is in being who they are, not in being better than someone else. I recall reflecting on this issue one day while watching my dog playing in the back yard. She was running about, sniffing flowers, chasing flowers, leaping into the air, showing a great job in being.
I'm sure she was not thinking she was more glad to be alive, than the dog next door. She was simply delighting in her own existence. That image captures something essential of how I understand the experience of healthy self-esteem. People with troubled self-esteem are often uncomfortable in the presence of those with higher self-esteem.
They may feel resentful and declare "They have too much self-esteem. The sad truth is, whoever is successful in this world runs the risk of being a target. People of low achievement often envy people of high achievement. Those who are unhappy often envy and resent those who are happy. And those of low self-esteem sometimes like to talk about the danger of having, as they put it, too much self-esteem.
Self-esteem as a Basic Need When Nothing is "Enough" A poor self-esteem does not necessarily mean that we will be incapable of achieving any real values. Some of us may have the talent, energy and drive to achieve a great deal, in spite of feelings of inadequacy, or unworthiness. An example is the highly productive work-aholic who is driven to prove his worth to, say, a father who predicted he would always be a loser.
But a poor self-esteem does mean that we will be less effective, and less creative than we have the power to be, and it means that we will be crippled in our ability to find joy in our achievements. Nothing we do will ever feel like "enough".
If my aim is to prove I am enough, the project goes on to infinity -- because the battle was already lost the day I conceded the issue was debatable. So it is always "One more victory". One more promotion. One more sexual conquest. One more company.
One more piece of jewelry.
A larger house, a more expensive car, another award. Yet the void within remains unfilled. In today's culture, some frustrated people who hit this impasse announce that they have decided to pursue a spiritual path, and renounce their egos. This enterprise is doomed to failure.
An ego, in the mature and healthy sense, is precisely what they have failed to attain. They dream of giving away what they do not possess.
No-one can successfully by-pass the need for self-esteem. A word of caution If one error is to deny the importance of self-esteem, another is to claim too much for it. In their enthusiasm, writers today seem to suggest that a healthy sense of self-value is all we need to assure happiness and success. The matter is more complex than that. A well developed sense of self is a necessary condition of our well-being, but not a sufficient condition. It's presence does not guarantee fulfilment, but it's lack guarantees some level of anxiety, frustration, or despair.
Self-esteem is not a substitute for a roof over one's head, or food in one's stomach, but it increases the likelihood that one will find and meet such needs. Self-esteem is not a substitute for the knowledge and skills one needs to operate effectively in the world, but it increases the likelihood that one will acquire them.
The Challenges of the Modern World The survival value of self-esteem is especially evident today. We have reached a moment in history when self-esteem, which has always been a supremely important psychological need, has also become a supremely important economic need.
It is the attribute imperative for adaptiveness in an increasingly complex, challenging and competitive world. In the past few decades, the United States has shifted from a manufacturing society to an information society.
We now live in a global economy characterised by rapid change, accelerating scientific and technological breakthroughs, and an unprecedented level of competitiveness. These developments create demands for higher levels of education and training than were required of previous generations.
Everyone acquainted with business culture knows this. What is not understood is that these developments also create new demands on our psychological resources.
Specifically, these developments ask for a greater capacity for innovation, self-management, responsibility, and self-direction. A modern business can no longer be run by a few people who think and many people who just do what they are told. Today organisations need not only an unprecedentedly higher level of knowledge and skill among all those who participate, but also a higher level of independence, self-reliance, self-trust, and the capacity to exercise initiative.
In a word: self-esteem. The challenge extends further than the world of business: we are freer than the generation before us to choose our own religion, philosophy, or moral code. To adopt our own lifestyle. To select our own criteria for the good life. We no longer have unquestioning faith in tradition. We no longer believe that government leads to salvation, nor church, nor labour unions, nor big organisations of any kind. We have more choices and options than ever before in every area.
Frontiers of limitless possibilities now face us in whatever direction we look. To be adaptive in such an environment, we have a greater need for personal autonomy. This is because there is no widely accepted code of values and rituals to spare us the challenge of individual decision making.
We must learn to think for ourselves. To cultivate our own resources, and to take responsibility for the choices, values and actions that shape our lives. The greater the number of choices and decisions we need to make at a conscious level, the more urgent our need for self-esteem.
The Meaning of Self-Esteem Self-esteem has two, interrelated, components: A sense of basic confidence in the face of life's challenges. This is self-efficacy, A sense of being worthy of happiness. This is self-respect. Self-efficacy means: Confidence in the functioning of my mind; In my ability to think, understand, learn, choose, and make decisions Confidence in my ability to understand the facts of reality, all within the sphere of my interests and needs Self-trust, and self-reliance "Assurance of my value".
It means, An affirmative attitude toward my right to live and to be happy. It means, Comfort, in appropriately asserting my thoughts, wants and needs. It means, The feeling that joy and fulfilment are my natural birthright. We will need to consider these two ideas in more detail, but for the moment, consider the following: If an individual felt inadequate to face the challenges of life -- if an individual lacked fundamental self-trust, confidence in his or her mind -- we would recognise a self-esteem deficiency, no matter what other assets he or she possessed.
Or, if an individual lacked a basic sense of self-respect -- felt unworthy or undeserving the love or respect of others, not entitled to happiness, fearful of asserting thoughts, wants or needs -- again, we would recognise a self-esteem deficiency, no matter what other positive attributes he or she exhibited.
Self-efficacy and self-respect are the dual foundations of healthy self-esteem. Absent either one: self-esteem is impaired. They are the defining characteristics of self-esteem. Within a given person there will be inevitable fluctuations in self-esteem levels, much as there are fluctuations in all psychological states. We need to think in terms of a person's average level of self-esteem.
While we sometimes speak of self-esteem as a conviction about oneself, it is more accurate to speak of it as a disposition to experience oneself a particular way. What way? Let me sum it up, in a formal, precise definition: Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life, and as worthy of happiness. Now, the value of a precise definition, is that it allows us to distinguish a particular aspect of reality from all others, so that we can think about it, and work with it with clarity and focus.
If we wish to know what self-esteem depends on -- how to nurture it in our children, support it in schools, encourage it in organisations, strengthen it in psychotherapy, or develop it in ourselves, we need to know what precisely we are aiming at. We are unlikely to hit a target we cannot see. If our idea of self-esteem is vague, the means we adopt to build it will reflect this vagueness. Am I suggesting that the definition of self-esteem is written down in stone?
Not at all. Definitions are contextual. They relate to a given level of knowledge. As knowledge grows, definitions tend to become more precise. I may find a better more exact way to capture the essence of the concept during my lifetime, or perhaps someone else may.
But within the context of the knowledge we now possess, I can think of no alternative formulation that identifies with more precision the unique aspect of human experience we are exploring. To have high self-esteem then, is to feel confidently appropriate to life. To have low self-esteem, is to feel inappropriate to life. To feel wrong. Not about this issue or that, but wrong as a person. To have average self-esteem is to fluctuate between feeling appropriate and inappropriate.
Right and wrong, as a person. It is also to manifest these inconsistencies in behaviour -- sometimes acting wisely, sometimes acting foolishly, thereby reinforcing the uncertainty about who one is at one's core. Competence I have given the name Self-efficacy to that experience of basic power or confidence that we associate with healthy self-esteem, and Self-respect to the experience of dignity and personal worth.
While their meaning is clear in a general way, I want to examine them more closely. First, self-efficacy. To be efficacious in the basic, dictionary sense, is to be capable of producing a desired result. Confidence in our basic efficacy is confidence in our ability to learn what we need to learn and do what we need to do in order to achieve our goals, insofar as success depends on efforts.
Rationally, we do not judge our competence in the sense meant here by factors outside our control. Self-efficacy is not the conviction that we can never make an error. It is the conviction that we are able to think, to judge, to know, and to correct our errors. It is trust in our mental process and abilities. Self-efficacy is not the certainty that we will be able to master any and every challenge that life presents.
It is the conviction that we are capable in principle of learning what we need to learn, and that we are committed to doing our rational and conscientious best to master the tasks and challenges entailed by our values. Self-efficacy is deeper than confidence in our specific knowledge and skills based on past successes and accomplishments, although it is clearly nurtured by them. It is confidence in what made it possible for us to acquire knowledge and skills, and to achieve successes.
It is confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our consciousness and how we choose to use it. Again, it is trust in our processes, and as a consequence to expect success for our efforts. The distinction between trust in our processes, and some particular area of knowledge, is of the highest importance in virtually every sphere of endeavour.
In a world in which the total of human knowledge is doubling about every 10 years, our security can rest only on our ability to learn. No-one can expect to be equally competent in all areas, and no-one needs to be.
Our interests, values and circumstances determine the areas in which we are likely to concentrate. Worthiness Now lets consider the second component of self-esteem, self-respect. Just as self-efficacy entails the expectation of success as natural, so self-respect entails the expectations of friendship, love, and happiness as natural, as a result of who we are and what we do. We can isolate the two components conceptually, for the sake of analysis, but in the reality of our daily experience they constantly overlap and involve each other.
Self-respect is the conviction of own value. It is not the delusion that we are perfect, or superior to everyone else, it is not comparative or competitive at all -- it is the conviction that our life and well-being are worth acting to support, protect, and nurture.
That we are good, and worthwhile, and deserving of the respect of others, and that our happiness and personal fulfilment are important enough to work for. To appreciate why our need for self-respect is so urgent, consider this: To live successfully we need to pursue and achieve values. To act appropriately, we need to value the beneficiary of our actions. We need to consider ourselves worthy of the rewards of our actions. Absent this conviction, we will not know how to take care of ourselves, protect our legitimate interests, satisfy our needs or enjoy our own achievements.
Thus, our experience of self-efficacy also will be impaired. If we respect ourselves, we tend to act in ways that confirm and reinforce this respect, such as requiring others to deal with us appropriately. If we wish to raise the level of our self-respect, we need to act in ways that will cause it to rise, and this begins with a commitment to the value of our own person. The need to see ourselves as good is the need to experience self-respect.
It emerges very early. As we develop from childhood, we progressively become aware of the power to choose our actions -- we become aware of our responsibility for the choices we make. We acquire our sense of being a person. The experience and need to feel that we are right. Right as a person. In our characteristic way of functioning. This is the need to feel that we are good.
The Face of Self-Esteem The level of our self-esteem is not set once and for all in childhood. It can grow as we mature, or, it can deteriorate.
There are people whose self-esteem was higher at the age of 10 than at the age of 60, and the reverse is also true.
Self-esteem can rise and fall and rise again over the course of a lifetime. Mine certainly has. I can think back over my history and observe changes in the level of my self-esteem that reflect choices I made in the face of particular challenges.
I can recall instances where I made choices I am proud of, and others I bitterly regret. Choices that strengthen my self-esteem, and others that lowered it. We all can.
With regard to choices that lower self-esteem, I think of times when I was unwilling to see what I saw, and know what I knew. Times when I needed to raise awareness, but instead I lowered it. Times when I needed to examine my feelings, and I disowned them. Times when I needed to announce a truth, and instead I clung to silence.
Times when I needed to walk away from a relationship that was harming me, and instead I struggled to preserve it. Times when I needed to stand up for my strongest feelings, and assert my deepest needs, and instead I waited for a miracle to deliver me. Any time we have to act -- to face a challenge, to make a moral decision -- we affect our feelings about ourselves for good or bad depending on the nature of our response, and the mental processes behind it; And if we avoid action and decisions in spite of their obvious necessity, that too, affects our sense of self.
Our need for self-esteem is the need to know we are functioning as our life and well-being require. What does self-esteem look like? There are some fairly simple and direct ways in which self-esteem manifests itself in ourselves, and in others. None of these items taken in isolation is a guarantee, but when all are present together, self-esteem seems certain: Self-esteem expresses itself in a face, manner, and way of talking and moving that projects the pleasure one takes in being alive.
It expresses itself in an ease of talking of accomplishments or shortcomings with directness and honesty, since one is in a friendly relationship to facts.
It expresses itself in the comfort one experiencing when giving and receiving compliments, expressions of affection, appreciation, and the like. It expresses itself in an openness to criticism, and a comfort about acknowledging mistakes, because one's self-esteem is not tied to the image of being perfect. It expresses itself when one's words and movements tend to have a quality of ease and spontaneity, reflecting the fact that one is not at war with oneself.
It expresses itself in the harmony between what one says and does, and how one looks, sounds and moves. It expresses itself in an attitude of openness to and curiosity about new ideas, new experiences, new possibilities of life It expresses itself in the fact that feelings of anxiety and insecurity, if they appear, will be less likely to intimidate or overwhelm, since accepting them, managing them, and rising above them, rarely feels impossibly difficult.
It expresses itself in the ability to enjoy the humorous aspects of life in oneself and others. It expresses itself in ones flexibility in responding to situations and challenges, since one trusts ones mind and does not see life as doom or defeat. It expresses itself in ones comfort with assertive behaviour in oneself, and others.
It expresses itself in an ability to preserve equality of harmony and dignity under conditions of stress. Physical manifestations of self-esteem include: Eyes that are alert, bright, and lively, Shoulders that are relaxed, yet erect, Hands that tend to be relaxed and graceful, Arms that tend to hang in an easy, natural way, A posture that tends to be unstrained, erect, well balanced, A walk that tends to be purposeful, and, A voice that tends to be modulated with an intensity appropriate to the situation, and with clear pronunciation.
Notice that the theme of relaxation occurs again and again. Relaxation implies that we are not hiding from ourselves -- not denying our feelings, and are not at war with who we are. Inner tension conveys some form of internal split.
Some form of self-avoidance, or self-repudiation. Some aspect of the self being disowned, or held on a very tight leash. The Illusion of Self-Esteem When self-esteem is low, we are often manipulated by fear. Fear of reality to which we feel inadequate. Fear of facts about ourselves, or others, that we have denied, disowned, or repressed. Fear of the collapse of our pretences.
Fear of exposure. Fear of the humiliation of failure, and sometimes, the responsibilities of success. We live more to avoid pain, than to experience joy.
If we feel that crucial aspects of reality with which we must deal are hopelessly close to our understanding, if we face the key problems of life with a basic sense of helplessness, if we feel that we dare not pursue certain lines of thought because of the unworthy features of our own character that will be brought to light -- if we feel in any sense whatever, that reality is the enemy of our self-esteem -- these spheres tend to sabotage the efficacy of consciousness, thereby worsening the initial problem.
If we face the basic problems of life with an attitude of "Who am I to know? A mind does not struggle for that which it regards as impossible, or undesirable. If low self-esteem dreads the unknown and unfamiliar, high self-esteem seeks new frontiers. If low self-esteem avoids challenges, high self-esteem desires and needs them. Low self-esteem looks for a chance to be absolved, high self-esteem looks for an opportunity to admire.
In these opposite principles of motivation, we have a guide to the health of the mind, or spirit.