2 Steps to Higher Self Esteem

I’ve been thinking about self esteem lately. When we have problems, such as financial struggles, health challenges, or we experience natural disasters such as hurricane Sandy, it is hard to keep our spirits up. It is hard to feel good about ourselves.

Instead of passing out some advice or a list of suggestions, I think you might benefit from a deeper understanding of self esteem. I turned to two pioneers in the field of counseling to help us out.

Definition of self esteem

In his book, On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers turned to a philosopher for a definition. The goal of life according to Kierkegaard is “to be that self one truly is.”

Rogers created a practical plan of action. He described moving away from a façade or mask self and moving toward your true self.

Step 1: Moving away from

In working with his counseling clients, Rogers identified four issues that were common to his clients. The first one is fear of being one’s self. If we don’t feel good enough, deserving enough, or lovable enough it is safer to hide behind a mask rather than risk rejection.

He also described moving away from social conventions. These include:

  • Being the person others want us to be
  • Conforming to cultural expectations
  • Pleasing others

When you move away from these you are moving away from what you are not. You can’t stop at this step. You need a positive direction to move toward.

Step 2: Moving toward

You begin by moving toward knowing and accepting the changing process you are. Rogers uses the word “process” to describe human beings as open, fluid, and accepting of change. He advocates less striving for conclusion and end states.

He also advocates moving toward:

  • Self direction
  • Complexity
  • Openness to experience
  • Acceptance of others
  • Trusting yourself

Finding balance

It is not always easy to find balance in times of change. When finding your true self you do not want to be more than you are – an inflated ego. You do not want to be less than you are – guilty and self depreciating.

Rogers believes that people are basically good and that everyone can find meaning and purpose in life.

Self esteem

I would like to close with some thoughts from Virginia Satir. In her book, Self Esteem, she writes:

“I have the tools to survive,
to be close to others,
to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of
the world of people and things outside me.”

If in your journey toward self esteem, you find yourself struggling with your past, there are answers. The poetry of emotion process can help you release the past and reclaim your true self.

To read more…

(Image: Pink Sherbet Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/2977652113/)

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Donna Farrer December 6, 2012, 2:06 pm

    This is a great article, I have recently been doing a lot of reading on getting back to my true self. I just read Lisa Selow’s book A Rebel Chick Mystic’s Guide (lisaselow.com if anyone wants to check out the book) and I was really inspired to get started on that journey. So in turn reading a lot of great articles related to that subject. Thanks so much for this post, it has truly inspired me today!


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