• Cam Christoff

What Are the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, and Why Are They Important?



When we look at society today, we can see that there are certain standards of how to dress and how to look; after all, it’s all over social media! If you don’t fit these (albeit impossible) beauty standards, you may begin to experience feelings of low self-esteem.


Dr. Nathaniel Branden, known as the “father” of self-esteem, authored The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. In his book, Dr. Branden describes the factors that can raise or lower an individual’s self-esteem. Here are his six different pillars of self-esteem and why they are important:


1. The Practice of Living Consciously


To live consciously is to be aware of your actions and to think before you act; another way of living consciously is practicing mindfulness. According to Psychology Today, practicing mindfulness is “a state of active, open attention to the present. This state is described as observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.”



Our lives are so busy, we often forget to stop and simply live in the moment. The next time you are at work, school, or even at a red light, practice mindfulness by looking around, taking a deep breath, and being present in that moment. When you live consciously and practice mindfulness, you can understand the actions of others and yourself, which in turn can help improve your self-esteem in the long run.


2. The Practice of Self-Acceptance


As we are only humans, we all inevitably make mistakes. The practice of self-acceptance is becoming aware of all of your qualities and learning to accept your strengths just as you accept your weaknesses. Self-acceptance can help us realize that the mistakes we make, make us who we are.


While recognizing your flaws and past transgressions is an important aspect of practicing self-acceptance, you must also be kind to yourself by acknowledging and celebrating your strengths and accomplishments throughout your life!


3. The Practice of Self-Responsibility


Part of having good self-esteem requires the practice of self-responsibility; this means that you must take ownership for your choices, actions, and behavior. In The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Dr. Nathaniel Branden says that “to be ‘responsible’ in this context means responsible not as the recipient of moral blame or guilt, but responsible as the chief causal agent in my life and behavior.”



Simply stated, you must accept the fact that you are responsible for your life! When you set a goal for yourself in the future, own up to it. Take responsibility for the goals you set and the choices that you make; in the long run, this amount of confidence and self-awareness will greatly boost your self-esteem.


4. The Practice of Self-Assertiveness


Dr. Branden describes the practice of self-assertiveness as “to live authentically, to speak and act from my innermost convictions and feelings—as a way of life, as a rule.” The way I like to think about self assertiveness is writing a story, except that story is your life! Don’t be afraid to guide your life in the way you want it to go, as it is yours’, no one else’s.


If something in your life isn’t going the way you want it to, you have the ability to assert yourself and make changes to improve the situation.


5. The Practice of Living Purposefully


The practice of living purposefully is, in my opinion, one of the easiest of the six pillars to comprehend (and actually accomplish!). This practice involves living your life with purpose, and with your goals in mind.



In his book, Dr. Branden states, “People rarely ask themselves, ‘If my goal is to have a successful relationship, what must I do? What actions are needed to create and sustain trust, intimacy, continuing self-disclosure, excitement, growth?’” Throughout your life, you must evaluate your desires, wants, and wishes for fulfillment; you then must figure out how to best achieve them.


6. The Practice of Personal Integrity


Having personal integrity means living life based on what you believe in—whatever your morals or beliefs are, you must live and act based on those. According to Dr. Branden, “When our behavior is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match up, we have integrity.”


This pillar relates a lot to self-assertiveness. Without the practice of self-assertiveness, you wouldn’t have the ability to stand up for yourself or what you believe in, and thus could not practice personal integrity.


My advice? Don’t be afraid to change your behaviors as your beliefs change along with you!


The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, and Why They Pertain to You


Self-esteem is an important factor that helps you live a happier life. The next time you feel as if your self-esteem is low, look upon the six pillars of self-esteem; by studying each of the pillars, you can learn how to adjust your life to improve your feelings of self-worth.


Having problems with self-esteem during quarantine? Well, who isn’t?! Especially with the “quarantine-15” and the challenge of practicing self-care during isolation! It’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle during a global pandemic. Just remember, no one is perfect: we all have bad days, especially when our self-esteem gets low. But, by taking these steps to raising your self-esteem, you will be bettering yourself and your life! There may be setbacks, but don’t get discouraged! Have confidence and faith in yourself and your journey.


#TheSixPillarsOfSelfEsteem #SelfWorth #SelfLove

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