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Our sense of self-worth plays a major role in our journey through life.
Self-esteem or self-worth is important in all our relationships and dealings in our world.
We begin building self-esteem from the beginning of our lives. Babies who cry are comforted, fed and rocked to sleep; this begins the journey of self-discovery.
Learning how to be a friend and have friends is another milestone. Our sense of self changes and changes with our development.
Self-esteem, as defined by Nathaniel Braden, Ph.D. author of “The Six Pillars of Self Esteem,” is “an experience.”
It is a good deal more than a mere feeling. Self-worth is our definition of our self.
We approach our lives from the perspective of who we are and what we are worth.
It is truly a wonderful experience to be popular, receive awards, have honors and achievements, yet this is really what we do, not who we are.
Liking and believing in ourselves is more important than who likes us. Our sense of self starts from the beginning of our lives and develops, re-develops and grows over the life-span.
From time to time most of us feel sad and blue, if not depressed, with ourselves, our achievements, our very lives.
Thankfully for most of us this is a temporary state of mind and using our inner resources we are able to bounce back, sometimes bounce higher than before.
Positive self-worth is a necessity in facing life’s challenges, set-backs and disappointments.
If drugs are a necessity to maintain our self of well-being we need to ask ourselves questions. We can experience a temporary happiness and elation through the use of drugs, a relationship or praise; yet self-worth is built over time. Self-esteem/self-worth comes from our commitment to our self.
What seems clear is our sense of self is priceless.
If my worth depends on you it would seem I have no control over my own inner world and I am always looking to someone outside of myself to determine my sense of well-being.
Sometimes we confuse self-esteem/self-worth with a superior attitude; feeling superior is a façade which blocks our ability to relate to others in a genuine manner.
Knowing we did well on an exam, a project at work, or being a parent does not mean I am better than you, rather it means I feel positive about myself and my abilities.
It also means I can feel genuine joy and happiness when a friend, relative or co-worker does well.
The guidelines for developing our inner resources presented in “The Six Pillars” are:
• Living Consciously – being present and open in our lives,
• Self-acceptance – owning our experience and taking responsibility for our lives,
• Self-responsibility – owning our choices and actions,
• Self-assertiveness – the willingness to stand up for ourselves in appropriate ways,
• Living with purpose – identifying our goals, and
• Practice of Personal Integrity – honoring our commitments and values.
As Shakespeare stated “To thine own self be true.”
The Wakulla County library is willing to order the above book.
Rita Haney is a licensed social worker who works in Wakulla County. She can be reached at 926-2039.