Your self-esteem is defined in psychology as your overall self appraisal and sense of worth. In essence, it's how well you value your own emotions, thoughts and actions.
When your self-esteem is accurate, life seems to be in balance. When it's not, you feel out of control and victimized.
In the words of one of my patients, you can "feel like a pawn" when your perceived reality leaves you feeling drained and unfulfilled. Fortunately, there are tools and resources at your disposal that can help you gain back some degree of control and a sense of satisfaction.
Dr. Nathaniel Brandon, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, describes the following strategies for achieving mental and emotional balance.
Live Consciously: Develop the ability to regularly reflect on your thoughts and actions.
Realize who you are and accurately witness how that is affecting different aspects of your reality.
Self-Acceptance: Be willing to accept who you are. Acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, virtues and eccentricities.
Self-Responsibility: Your life is your responsibility. You make your own choices and must live with the consequences. Give others the growing-space to do this as well.
Self-Assertiveness: Stand up for what you want (assuming that you know what you want) in ways that are confident, clearly communicated, courteous and mature.
Live Purposefully: Your life has direction and you have a certain degree of control over where you are going. Live in the present while also planning ahead for where you want to go and how you will get there.
Personal Integrity: Match your values and your behavior so that you do not betray who you are or what you currently believe. Congruency in judgments that you make about yourself will tend to be positive when they are based on self-respect.
I suggest reading Dr. Brandon's book during wellness presentations as well as during patient visits. It's one of those rare books you can open to just about any page and glean valuable information from it.
Also, please feel free to contact me if you'd like an emailed copy of our nine-page self-esteem guide. You'll be glad that you took the time to grow this aspect of your self.
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