Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Recently, I have posted about Nathaniel Branden in relation to Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, and also about the 6 pillars of character according to the folks at Character Counts. This post is an interesting combination of the two previous posts. Nathaniel Branden is a leading psychologist in the field of self-esteem, and his seminal work is called, coincidentally, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.

I think of my architecture professors every time I see a temple icon with an odd number of columns. The Romans and Greeks would have never built a temple with an odd number of columns! The central axis must be open and unobstructed, and that requires an even number of columns. Of course, there is a huge difference between a free-standing column and a wall that is reinforced by a pillar, but that is probably semantic.

The 6 pillars are:

1. Live Consciously

This requires us to be fully in the present moment. And for most, this takes a bit of practice, because many of us are conditioned to disown the here and now, to survive what we have thought that we cannot handle.

2. Accept Yourself

Yes. You have flaws and attributes. You also have the opportunity to enhance who you are, by accepting everything about yourself. In fact, the only way to enhance who you are is to accept yourself.

3. Take Responsibility for Your Experiences

Through my journey, I have learned to be in conversations where I say to myself, "It comes down to 'this is where you end, and I begin,'" Saying such an affirmation has helped me to congruently say what I will and will not experience. And this is quite liberating not only to myself, but also to my interlocutor (most of the time).

4. Assert Who You Are

Honor what you think, feel, believe, need, and want. Yes, for many readers this may be a challenge. But the results of accepting this challenge are wonderfully fulfilling.

5. Live Purposefully

Make an agreement with yourself to reach your highest potential, while you maintain balance in your life.

6. Maintain Your Integrity

Know exactly what your principles are. And stick to them, no matter what others think or do.

For more information, see The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field, by Nathaniel Branden. ISBN: 9780553374391.