THE SIX PILLARS OF SELF-ESTEEM BY NATHANIEL BRANDEN BOOK REVIEW
Another one of my favorite book. Nathaniel Branden breaks down what self-confidence is in this book and he does an amazing job.
I’ve always struggled with social anxiety since my parents divorced and this is one of the book that made me understand where this anxiety comes from and what to do about it.
Ultimately, your quality of life is dependent on your self-image and this book goes deep on why your self-image is the way it is and it even gives exercises that you can do to improve your self-image and improve your quality of life.
What is self-esteem?
“Self-esteem is confidence in our ability to think, confidence is our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life; confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants, achieve our values, and enjoy the fruits of our efforts”.
Basically, to know that one is worthy of happiness is the essence of self-esteem. It is also important to note that self-esteem is highly similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your level of self-esteem influences how you act, and how you act influences the level of your self-esteem.
Self-esteem is the reputation that you have with yourself. Self-esteem is related with what you do every single day. If your self-image is broken then you won’t take action and you will have poor self-esteem. This is why I say that it is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. People with a good self-image take massive action, get results, improve the reputation that they have with themselves and end up increasing their self-esteem and take even more action in their life.
It is also a self-fulfilling prophecy because your self-image will make you act in a certain way and you will send a certain set of signals to other people. If you respect yourself and require others to deal with you respectfully, you will send out signals and behave in ways increase the likelihood that others respect you. Once they treat you with respect, this will reinforce and confirm your initial belief that you are someone that should be respected.
If you are someone that doesn’t respect yourself, you will send signals that are the opposite and people won’t respect you. Once they treat you without any respect, this will reinforce and confirm your initial belief that you are someone that should not be respected…
Do you understand why your self-image is so important now? The quality of your life literally depends on it.
The higher your self-esteem, the more ambitious people tend to be. By ambitious I don’t mean necessarily in terms of finances, but also in terms of what we hope to experience in our life emotionally.
As I said before, I’ve struggled a lot with social anxiety in the past. I was really shy around people and I would not express myself. I was shy and quiet and I did not like to be the center of the attention…
The higher our self-esteem, the stronger our drive to express ourselves to other people. The lower the self-esteem, the more evasive and inappropriate our communications will be because of the huge lack of uncertainty about our own thoughts and feelings. People with low self-esteem are not certain and are anxious about the listener’s response.
Self-esteem is truly like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every single time someone asks me what’s the key to success, I always answer with : a good self-image and good beliefs. If you don’t have a good self-image and good beliefs, you won’t go anywhere in life and this is when I realized that and actually decided to change my self-image and my beliefs that my life started to improve.
Self-esteem creates a set of implicit expectations about what is possible and appropriate for your life. It literally control the signals that you will send to others and how you will behave in life. These expectations will then turn into reality and this reality will confirm the original beliefs…Your Self-image= Your reality.
With self-esteem, joy is your motor, not fear. With self-esteem, it is happiness that you want to experience, not suffering you wish to avoid. Your purpose is self-expression instead of self-avoidance.
The two components of self-esteem:
- A sense of basic confidence towards life’s challenges; self-efficacy.
- A sense of being worthy of happiness; self-respect
Self-efficacy basically means being self-reliant. It is confidence in the good functioning of the mind, the ability to understand, to learn, to make good decisions…
Self-respect is basically being at ease with asserting your thoughts, wants and needs.
When you are self-confident, you will at ease with life challenges and with other people.
The six pillars of self-esteem in a nutshell:
Living consciously. Being aware of the reasons behind our actions. Living consciously means not tying to escape reality to feel good temporarily. It means seeking the truth no matter what you find.
“We cannot feel competent and worthy while conducting our lives in a mental fog. Our mind is our basic tool of survival. Betray it and self-esteem suffers.”
Self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is the precondition of change and growth. You cannot learn from a mistake if you cannot accept making mistakes. The most productive people on earth are often those that failed the most. This is how they became good; by failing and learning more than anybody else.
“Self-acceptance is the willingness to say of any emotion or behavior, “This is an expression of me, not necessarily an expression I like or admire, but an expression of me nonetheless, at least at the time it occurred. It is the virtue of realism, that is, of respect for reality, applied to the self.”
Self-responsibility. Immature people tend to believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to make them happy and productive in life. Self-responsibility allows you to control the course of your existence. Unproductive people tend to blame external factors and by doing so, they lose their power to change.
“I am responsible for the achievement of my desires. No one owes me the fulfillment of my wishes. I do not hold a mortgage on anyone else’s life or energy. If I have desires, it is up to me to discover how to satisfy them. I need to take responsibility for developing and implementing an action plan.”
Self-assertiveness. Self-assertiveness means bringing ourselves into the world; to be able to say “while my life was happening, I was there, I lived it”.
“Self-assertiveness means the willingness to stand up for myself, to be who I am openly, to treat myself with respect in all human encounters.”
Living purposefully. To live with purpose means not living at the mercy of chance. It means having a purpose and living productively. It means that you have a vision and you take massive action towards that vision.
“To live purposefully is to use our powers for the attainment of goals we have selected: the goal of studying, of raising a family, of earning a living, of starting a new business, of bringing a new product into the marketplace, of solving a scientific problem, of building a vacation home, of sustaining a happy romantic relationship. It is our goals that lead us
forward, that call on the exercise of our faculties, that energize our existence.”
Personal integrity. Integrity means congruence. When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgement of what we think is appropriate, we lose faith in our own eyes.
“At the simplest level, personal integrity entails such questions as: Am I honest, reliable, and trustworthy? Do I keep my promises? Do I do the things I say I admire and do I avoid the things I say I deplore? Am I fair and just in my dealings with others?”
What you have to realize is that true self-esteem is neither comparative nor competitive…It has absolutely nothing to do with trying to make yourself superior to others. In fact, is has everything to do with our relationship with ourselves and with reality. That’s the only thing that matters in the end. Your self-esteem is based on the relationship that you have with yourself.
Someone without a healthy self-esteem will try to find the source of his approval in the external world. People with self-esteem transferred the source of their approval from the external world to themselves. They made a shift from the external to the internal.
There are thousands books out there on how to get rich and get anything that you want in life, but none of these books talk about the importance of your self-image. This is why I like this book so much. In the end, how you relate to yourself will affect how you relate to others.
The #1 barrier to success is life is not lack of talent or ability, but the fact that your success in life will depend on the quality of your self-image.
Your self-image = your destiny.
Self-esteem is basically the reputation that you have towards yourself. It is how you feel about yourself.
Again, I highly recommend reading this book. This is one of my favorite book ever and as I said, you simply cannot be successful in life if you don’t have high self-esteem. Also, self-esteem is the single biggest predictor of your happiness level in live. Nathaniel Branden also gives exercises inside the book on how to increase your self-confidence and the exercises truly work!
Please leave a comment below or let me know any questions you have. I’d love to hear what you think!