World-renowned psychologist and author Dr. Nathaniel Branden writes that knowing how to improve your self esteem results from achieving two important goals. First, acquire the skills to handle life’s challenges. Second, believe that you deserve success and happiness. While your friends, family or partner can help to nurture your self-esteem, feeling good about yourself ultimately depends on the actions that you take. These actions make up Dr. Branden’s six “pillars” of self-esteem and serve as keys for building your feelings of self-worth.
1) Live consciously
Cultivating self-esteem means living with awareness. Become aware of your priorities, your interactions and even your deepest insecurities. To gain self-respect, you must acknowledge the truth about what your actions say regarding both your personality and your character. Whether you feel proud or troubled when you shine a light on your actions, you need to face the truth of who you truly are.
2) Accept yourself
Don’t be afraid of either your bright side or your dark side. You may not be as charismatic as other leaders. You may not be a natural salesperson. Instead of worrying about what you aren’t, embrace what you are. There are plenty of people who will be drawn to who you inherently are.
3) Take responsibility
You are the chief causal agent in both your life and your behavior. As you appraise yourself honestly, you may see things that you have the power to change. You may not be naturally charismatic, for instance, but you can still improve your communications skills if you take responsibility for your own growth. As you empower yourself to become a better person, your feelings of self-worth will increase.
4) Be assertive
Having self-esteem means believing that you deserve success and happiness. Success and happiness, however, don’t happen without appropriate action. You have to work to achieve success in life, and you have to prioritize the things that make you happy. You also have to act upon your innermost convictions instead of shying away from them.
5) Live with purpose
Consider the things that you want to accomplish and take the steps needed to achieve your goals. As you purposefully work toward those accomplishments, you will build your ability to meet life’s challenges. When you know you have what it takes to handle life’s curveballs, then you will inherently have self-confidence.
6) Live with integrity
When your actions convey your ideals, convictions and beliefs, you will know that you have integrity. Let your words match your behavior in every situation. When you live with integrity, you will inevitably have a greater respect for yourself. Make sure that your actions match up with your values.
True self-esteem isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. Knowing yourself, liking yourself and living according to your values matters more than any glitzy prescription for positive self-talk. Being the best that you can be with the tools that you have is the key to how to improve your self esteem. You can always work on your weaknesses, but don’t forget to appreciate your strengths.