Six Pillars of Self esteem is an absolutely amazing book by Dr. Nathaniel Branden. In this book he writes about what are the 6 practices by which we can increase our self esteem. Having high self esteem is imperative for self love for respectful relations, for high performance at work and being at peace with yourself. When we have low self-esteem, we operate from a vibration of negativity and tend to project our feelings and insecurities in every aspect of our life. Our work will suffer, we get jealous and envious of people who are doing better than us & our relationship suffers because we project our own feelings of inferiority & inadequacy onto our relations and that is not a healthy frame of mind to be with anyone. Your health will suffer because you do not love yourself enough to respect your body like a temple. So here are certain practices which Dr. Nathaniel, who is the self-esteem guru has charted out by which we can transform our self esteem and be at peace with ourselves:
1. The Practice of Living Consciously
Consider the example of two people. One is a person who wakes up feeling demotivated, has low energy and drags himself to get fresh and ready for office. He thinks his life is miserable for him & it is yet another day has to drag himself out of the bed and go to office, eat, work, sleep and repeat. Now there is another person who wakes up every morning feeling well rested, well slept and grateful for his life. He is enthusiastic for his work and is ready to learn new things and contribute to his best possible way. He has his own interests and hobbies which he pursues during the same day after work. He has a healthy family life and is not at all complaining and bitter towards them or his life in general. Now the difference between these two people is that the person one is living unconsciously and person two is living consciously. When we are aware of why we are on this planet and how we are living our day to day life and we live a life with intention that is called living consciously. Most people live unconsciously and this impacts their self esteem as they behave like life has happened to them while the person who lives consciously behaves like life is happening for them. This shift in perspective drastically increases your self-esteem as you can create your life the way you want to. The choice is in your hand and when we are in control of the way we want to create a life, our self esteem automatically shoots up.
2. The Practice of Self Acceptance
Now take another scenario where one person is overweight and when somebody points out to him that you are turning obese, the person first denies saying it's just a little holiday weight, then starts to blame his circumstances that he doesn't have time for exercise or his work life is such that he has to sit for long hours, there is no one to cook for him and he doesn't have time to cook food for himself so he has to eat out so he'll give plenty of excuses to justify his obesity while there is another person who is also overweight but when he is pointed out the fact that he might turn into obese, he accepts it and plans to reduce his weight by taking action steps. Unless you accept your situation you won't be able to change it. You live in denial and when this happens your self-esteem will be very low because your circumstances and your thought process are in complete mismatch. You are not accepting that you are overweight and reality is that you are overweight so when this mismatch occurs your self esteem dips and you find ways to cover it up with all sort of excuses so self acceptance is accepting your situation as it is and taking steps to change it because unless you accept it there will be no question of changing it.
3. The Practice of Self Responsibility
Self responsibility is taking responsibility for the situation. In the previous example itself, the person starts blaming his circumstances, his situation, his work, his lack of time, in this way he puts the blame on the outside and becomes a victim here. When one operates in a victim mode the self-esteem is bound to suffer because you are here a helpless individual who cannot do anything to change his circumstances but if you become a hero & stand and take responsibility for your situation, then your self-esteem will increase & will take steps to improve your self-esteem gradually with proper plan and structure.
4. The Practice of Self Assertiveness
Imagine you are going to a friends party and everyone is drinking. You are a teetotaler and do not drink at all but your friends pressurise you to have a drink or two. Self assertiveness is when you state your boundaries clearly and refuse to drink no matter how much one pushes you. As long as you are not pressurizing anyone to change their ways, self assertiveness is a healthy tool to maintain your self respect and esteem. This way you learn to state your needs & boundaries clearly, which in turn shows that you respect yourself and your needs and when this is happening your self-esteem will be automatically high. The word of caution is that don't be pushy & don't force anyone else to go your way. If they are drinking, it is fine but you stand to your own ground and do not drink. You can inspire people but can never push anyone to change.
5. The Practice of Living Purposefully
Majority of the people in the world are living in auto mode. They are living a life like a zombie where they get up, go for work, come back, eat, sleep and repeat. This is bound to have a huge impact on self esteem as one feels like a puppet whose controls are in others hand while a person living with intention and purpose has his everyday driven and filled with purpose and intention. Even if he has a regular job, his entire day will be filled with activities that give him a sense of meaning accomplishment and fulfillment. Living this way can enhance self respect and self esteem as you become the creator of your own destiny. You become the person who gives meaning to your own life & is not a puppet in someone else's hand.
6. The Practice of Personal Integrity
Dr Nathaniel Brandon described that when there is a mismatch between thoughts, words and actions there is a lack of congruence in a person and with this lack of congruence comes lack of self-esteem. In order to have high self esteem one should have congruence between what he thinks, how he feels, what he says and what action he takes. For example a person feels low energy all the time and he thinks that one should exercise to have high energy, his words say that he is committed to exercise but his action comprise of watching television, Facebook, internet series all the time with junk food by his side! There is a lack of congruence and subconsciously his self-esteem will degrade. Thus, it is imperative for one to have consensus between how you feel, how you think, what you say and what action you take as a result of it.
The important point in all the six points is that every point is preceded with "the practice of" which means that these are lifelong processes of developing these habits for one to have high self esteem but when one has begun this journey, he lives a life filled with high self love which maximizes his experience in career, health, relationship, spirituality, creativity and every area you can imagine Which point you love the most? Comment below and share your knowledge with everyone.
Six Pillars of Self esteem by Dr. Nathaniel Branden