The Secret to (High) Self-Esteem

“Concern yourself not with what is right and what is wrong but with what is important.” ~Unknown

I personally do not know anyone who, after all is said and done, is not after high self-esteem.

It may not be blatant or obvious to the eye, yet once you break down the motives and emotions surrounding the things people choose to do and why they choose to do them, you will find that what they really want is to feel good about themselves.

They want to have high self-esteem. So the big question is: How do we raise our self-esteem and keep it at a high level?

I know for me it has been and is still is a daily and almost constant battle to keep my self-esteem at a normal to high level. Some days I do better than others. What has changed over the past year or so is that I have realized what it is that triggers my self-esteem ups and downs.

What Is Self-Esteem?

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, self-esteem is a confidence and satisfaction in oneself or self respect. So how do we gain confidence and satisfaction in ourselves? Why is it that some people have higher self-esteem and some have lower self-esteem?

Why do some successful people have low self-esteem while at times people who have failed have a high level of self-esteem? Is it something that we gain from external sources such as praise or is it something internal?

Here is what I’ve discovered:

Self esteem is inseparable from your values and your integrity.

What Are Values?

Values are deeply held beliefs that guide us in what is right and wrong.

Values are subjective, because every single human being views life through his own subjective point of view. Every person's point of view is unique and therefore every person's set of values is unique. Our values are our compass in our lives.

There are values that are positive and there are values that are negative. There is friendship as well as hate. There is charity and there is grief. There is happiness and depression. There is family, honor, individuality, work, tolerance, respect, and hundreds of other values.

We are made up of our personal values. Our personal values are a combination of values ingrained in us from an early age as well as ones we have adopted ourselves over the years.

Why Are Values Important?

Values are the set of rules we have for leading our lives.

They let you know what is important to you and help you prioritize. Values help you gain clarity and focus in your life. Values help you make decisions—which leads us to integrity.

What Is Integrity and Where Does It Fit In?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, integrity is a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.

In order to be a person of integrity we have to live up to the values we hold to be important. (Again notice how subjective this all is—the values we hold to be important.)

With integrity, it doesn't matter what your values are. It matters whether or not you live up to them.

Integrity is integration between your values and your actions.

So How Are Values and Integrity Connected to Self Esteem?

Society may expect certain things from us, yet we are the ones who choose whether or not we internalize external social values and make them our own.

About six years ago, I was hospitalized for ten days with mild hemiparesis, one-sided numbness in my body. It was one of the worst times of my life. The uncertainty was agonizing. It was that illness that led me to rethink the truths in life and I became exposed to the whole “new age” culture.

There were things there that I was beginning to believe might have some truth in them, yet in my circles, many of those ideas were unaccepted.

I was so insecure that in order for me to feel the answers were right and that my point of view was legitimate, I needed people to agree with me and my way of thinking.

What I have learned over the years was that it is okay for other people to have different points of view, and if I truly believe something is right, in general or right for me, it does not matter what others think. I have begun to trust my own value system and not rely only on what others think.

Each of us has many values. Not all of our values are as important to us at the same time. Things also shift over time.

I try to write down five to ten of my top values every few months. Sometimes they change, sometimes they stay the same. By listing the values that are most important in my life at any given time, I am choosing to focus on them and work on them.

The more important our values, the more they will affect our self-esteem.

Sometimes we have values that clash, not because they’re opposites of each other, but because we can’t honor both at once.

For example, family and work are two of my values, and I find myself working more and having less time for my family. My family wants my attention and pulls at me. I want to feel fulfilled through work and career and that pulls at me.

The more my work value is being fulfilled, the more integrity I have with regard to that value. On the other hand, I am not living my family value with as much integrity as I would like to. When there’s a rift between how you’d like to honor a value, it leads to a loss of integrity.

That loss of integrity is the cause of lowered self-esteem.

If you have low self-esteem, that means you need to go back to your values and reassess how you can rearrange your life to feel like you are living with integrity based on what matters to you.

Is It Really That Easy?

If you’re like me, you might wonder you can possibly live with integrity based on all your varied values.

What helps me is to challenge all-or-nothing thinking. Sometimes it can seem that if you can't do things right or all the way, it’s a non-accomplishment.

Integrity is built from a pattern of small and consistent actions. Little changes can indeed build into big changes. One step at a time, a little bit each time, really does work magic.

How Can I Work On Living My Values With Integrity?

  • Know your values.
  • Keep your values at the center of your awareness. Know when you have an internal conflict between values.
  • Walk the talk. Try to make sure you have integration between your values and actions.
  • Learn how to give things up. Ask yourself, “What am I really willing to sacrifice?” If you want to start a new career, maybe you need to learn to let other things go. And if you do decide to give things up, do it without feeling bad about it or feeling guilty. It is a decision.
  • See yourself as a unique person who has many resources.
  • Use the words: “I choose to_______” instead of helpless phrases like “I can't because_________” or “I am like this because of_________”. You have a choice. You decide the circumstances.
  • Listen to the voices in your head which give you a litany of excuses why you can't do something. Those voices don't want change. They want to keep the status quo. Evict them.
  • Be authentic and be assertive. If you don't want to do something, say you don't want to do it.
  • Don't beat around the bush. If something is important, go for it.
  • Visualize and plan. Know what you want and plan for it.

Self esteem is like a bank account. When you live your values with integrity, you are making deposits into the bank of self esteem. We can be rich or poor. We are the ones who decide how many deposits we make.

Photo, with permission, by holymakeral

About Susie Newday

Susie is a happily married mother of five as well as an oncology nurse, blogger and writer.  She writes about positive thinking on her blog New Day New Lesson and is also a contributing writer at World Moms Blog.

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks Susie – self-esteem is one of those elusive things that I have found hard to find over the years. It comes with practice though and through being true to oneself – i.e. when we have the integrity to live by our values. Maybe it’s something that just happens as we get older – that’s kinda been my experience too – although that could be simply because as we get older we become less ‘chameleon’ like i.e. we stick to our own guns, and demonstrate integrity.

    I have also heard it said that “if you want self-esteem, then do esteemable things” – I thought I’d share that. It’s helped me.


  • Best post ever!! Sharing it with a friend who struggles with this. Although I’m pretty sure I will need to read this when times get hard. Thanks Susie! Stay blessed and good luck with your journey for greater self esteem. x

  • some pople are lucky and have too much self esteem.

  • julep

    I have a healthy self esteem and always have thanks, in part, to the most courageous, empowering set of parents. What I sometimes run into is that people resent me for it. This used to silence me for a while, but now I just live radiantly and proudly and try to pass that empowerment on to them… by celebrating what is wonderful about them. You don’t serve anyone by keeping your light under a dark veil. 🙂

  • julep

    I have a healthy self esteem and always have thanks, in part, to the most courageous, empowering set of parents. What I sometimes run into is that people resent me for it. This used to silence me for a while, but now I just live radiantly and proudly and try to pass that empowerment on to them… by celebrating what is wonderful about them. You don’t serve anyone by keeping your light under a dark veil. 🙂

  • Rachelk

    Thanks Susie! This post felt incredibly authentic, realistic and helpful. I love the action steps. They feel very workable and uplifting. Thanks so much!

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  • I was not really able to make a full connection between integrity and low self-esteem until reading this. Thank you. This article really has helped me see things a lot clearer and will help in re-aligning myself to…well, myself.

    Rebecca Ann

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful! Be authentic or experience self-betrayal. That’s a great reminder.

  • Thanks Steve. I definitely do believe that what you do, makes you into who you are, so I agree that doing esteemable things can raise your self esteem. (There is the very subjective point of what you deem esteemable-everyone lives life through their own subjectivity.)

    I think as we get older we know better what we want and what makes us tick. We are also smarter. At 19 I thought I knew everything, at 41 I know how much I don’t know.

  • Thanks so much for saying so.

    I think we all have periods in our lives when we have more self esteem and periods when we have less self esteem-because there are times when we live our more in balance with what is important to us and times when we let that balance slip a bit.

    Good luck on your journey as well.

  • Is it possible that you might be confusing high self esteem with arrogance? You can have high self esteem and be humble and you can have low self esteem and be arrogant.

  • You are truly blessed to have grown up in that environment.

    I find that when people resent you for something it is just jealousy on their part. It takes a lot of smarts to realize that and decide to ignore it and see the resentment for what it is.

    Your last sentence reminds me of part of the book Eat, Pray, Love where she tried to keep quiet in the ashram and it was not her personality to keep quiet. It was only when she was given the job to be the liason for new visitors and to talk, did she finally find what she was looking for spiritually.

    Continue to live radiantly and empower others.

  • Thank you Rachel. I think every day we learn. It is all about moving forward, even if it is inches at a time.

  • I only made the connection a few months ago myself. I was in class and someone made a comment about that and I had an Aha! moment.


  • Thanks so much. I think the more true we are to ourselves the happier we are.

  • Gsalemi1

    “I think therefore I am”. It’s only a thought away

  • Donna Brockman

    Thanks, Susie! I had never looked at it this way. I think self esteem can be difficult for empathic people because it is easier to get absorbed into other’s value systems and not stay true to our own.

  • Sunshine_Surprise

    I’m in week 3 of my 1st ‘100 Day Reality Challenge’ … thanks for my morning inspiration today ~ & thanks to Darryl for posting it to Fbook 🙂

  • I think that’s the first step. Thinking is not enough-you need to do (over and over) the same thing till it becomes second nature.

  • That is indeed true. I think empathic people may have it a bit more difficult because they often think deeply as to whether or not their actions hurt others and that’s why I think they get absorbed by others’ values. (because they don’t want to cause hurt)

    Even so, I think everyone except for those who really are self absorbed and don’t care (or more aptly don’t realize) what others think are somewhat affected by other peoples’ values. I think a lot of our values are rooted in our childhood and what we grew up with and were conditioned with. I’ll even go so far to think that even as we get older some of the values we hold our own we hold our own because we still think that’s what is expected of us as opposed to something that really came from us.

  • Thank you (and Darryl). Good luck on the challenge.

  • Seeking “self-esteem” is self-negating, like saying, “Ah. I’ve achieved enlightenment. Aren’t I wonderful?”

    One must have self-knowledge without seeking self-esteem. Making judgments about what is important and what is not raises barriers to critical understanding of oneself. All is important. All is unimportant.

    The concept of integrity substitutes for right thought and right action. One does not need the crutch of integrity to live authentically. One does not distinguish between thought and action; the two are simultaneous and inseparable. Integrity is the question mark between thought and action.

    Think without acting; act without thinking.

  • @c_oreilly

    Thanks Susie! This is new to me and makes a lot of sense 🙂

  • Mail

    You say you “try to write …. 10 of your top values”, what would they be today? Would you please share? ( other than work/ family time). I enjoyed your post.

  • I don’t know if I agree with you and that’s okay. Being able to agree to disagree is important as well.

    Should I not seek knowledge? Should I not update my values and what I view as right or wrong as I get older, see more of the world and gain more knowledge.

    I also think it is a check for us when our feelings are telling us something is amiss and not right. It is another way to reflect and try to figure out what is right for us.

    I think there is a time for being, a time for feeling and yes a time for thinking.

    As far as acting without thinking in some cases that is good (eg: being generous, being kind)- , in other cases it may not really be what is right and what you want to do.(eg: jumping to conclusions when you only know half a story)

  • Thank you.

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  • Melayahm

    Very interesting and thoughtful post. My partner thinks I have self esteem problems, I’m not sure why, and he seems to think it’s up to him to solve them for me. If I told him of the times when he has been the cause of certain periods of low self esteem, I think he’d be surprised, but that’s another story. My main conflict these days is between wanting to life a life according to dharma and wanting to make a creative career jewellery making (like all of a sudden at 49 I’m going to suddenly succeed with something I’ve been dabbling with most of my life, but hey). It seems that the wanting to make objects that are a source of attachment to someone is in conflict with living a dharma life, so I’m still working on that one, torn in two directions, which isn’t really good for self esteem, or succeeding!

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  • My top three would be as of right now:

    Family (inlcuding my kids and husband)
    Making a Diffference (Which I see me doing through my work among other things)

    What would your top 3 values be?

  • It seems you have a lot going on. Along with that you also have good insight into yourself, creativity, a desire for understanding and a desire to make changes that will affect you positively.

    You say that your partner thinks you have self esteem issues. What do you think? Because in the end the only person you are accountable to is yourself. Without knowing all the issues, it is also possible that part of the issue (and part of your self discovery journey) may be that you believe that what someone else has to say about you is more important than what you think about yourself.

    I am a bit confused about what you believe your dharma is and why it is in discord with your jewelry making. If it is something you are good at and brings you and tohers joy why is that not consistent. (It is possible I don’t understand the whole concept of dharma correctly and if so please someone correct me.)

    When you are confused, you might want to try journaling and posing your questions to the universe. I am often surprised at how fast I get an answer.

    I also think you might enjoy Gary Chapman’s book called the Five Love Languages. It is a great book.

    Good luck.

  • I also want to add, that right now-a lot of the discord in my life is me trying to balance those three.

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  • SeekerOfLife

    I don’t know if I agree with all of it. As someone who has been called ugly by women all my life, it has caused some low self esteem. I’m not really sure how anything in this article helps fix that. The article makes sense when you apply it to certain situations, but i’m struggling to understand how it relates to mine.

  • Anonymous

    I see what you’re saying. The article seems geared towards achievement related esteem and not necessarily self-worth, as in “I am life with value.” To be fair, a single article can’t cover everybody and every scope.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t use values to help with your self definition.

    Do you believe that you’re ugly? Does that seem right or wrong to you?

    Do you think there will ever be a future you who doesn’t hold the same beliefs? Does it seem right or wrong that you’ve put that into the future instead of being that future self now?

    Look at what you’re carrying and decide if it’s right or wrong to carry it. If right/wrong comparisons are too absolute, you can substitute the question with “is this working for me” or “does it enrich my life.”

    If you find that there’s an energy payoff of some kind eating-up the beliefs of others, that it fills you somehow, then you can decide if you want to stay that way. But if you feel that you’d be better off NOT letting someone else’s view on the world replacing/drowning/suppressing yours, you can declare that it’s NOT right that all of this happened to you, and choose next steps to end the cycle.

    You’re not broken and don’t need fixing. That would support the ugliness belief because ugliness is broken beauty. So don’t try to “fix” anything. Look only to your beliefs. Figure out what you’re carrying exactly and decide if you want to let it go. It’s never a question of can/can’t. It’s always a question of will/won’t. If you wan’t let go yet, at least decide the value in the beliefs you’re carrying. What’s it worth to you? Is the contract for you to accept and carry the belief of others (that you’re ugly) valuable to you? Is it a good responsibility? Are you tempted to ditch that job? What’s scary about quitting the belief-carrying gig and finding something else? If your arms are sore and you decide the value of what you’re carrying is “worthless belief”, then you’ll have already done most of the work and can be excited about the future.

    Once it’s all in your hand, and you’re looking right at it, open, turn, and drop. You’re free. I’m not saying this process takes 5 minutes, it may take 5 years, but that is the process. Get closer to the pain, let it rage over you, and then move the hell away from it. Those are your values experienced. You have all the power. You didn’t then, when younger, but you certainly have it now. Use it. Decide who you are on your own for a change.

    I hope this helps! *hugs* I’ve been where you are, only *I* was the one calling myself ugly, which means I had nobody to blame or go after. I had nothing external to focus on and had to carry it ALL. It led to an even tighter trap which became part of an anxiety disorder that locked me in my apartment for almost 5 years, caused poverty, and all kinds of fun stuff. 🙂 It took me 36 years to like my reflection for example, and now I’m having fun with the camera and grinning my cheeks sore that I LOVE that girl I see! She’s beautiful!

  • Anonymous

    You said it! I’ve never been as happy as when completely honest, brutally honest, even if at first it felt like a scary and windy hell. 🙂 You have to be ok with yourself, and rest in yourself, and then only be/do more as a choice instead of a nervous twitchy need to fix something.

  • Susie, you’ve taken on quite a topic here! Good on you. Your post has made me think hard and I can tell it has nudged others too.

    I actually think self-esteem comprises more layers than values and integrity although they are certainly significant pieces. I can understand how esteem can dip when we don’t live up to our values or integrity. However, I think so much of my esteem has primarily been based on how I have become aware of my inner being and my ability to nurture it and care for it without harsh judgment from me. To honor my knowings. This is truly how children’s esteem becomes healthy and steady (as one of the readers remarked about her own empowered childhood). Parents nurture with care and acceptance for uniqueness and are able to encourage and demonstrate how that uniqueness can join with the world. They connect the strength of the inner being with the outer world.

    Thanks so much for triggering so much thinking!

  • Robert Williamson

    I think if you do thinking before you act without thinking then the act will be in good direction anyway so the act is a beautiful compound of thought AND act, which will likely lead to further thoughts and acts.

    Is that complex in it’s simplicity? Writing down your values is a beautiful act.

    What a gorgeous smorgasbord of ideas!

  • sidney.

    Conflict continues when the universe, or more simply your peers/mentors/lovedones/employers, do not align with your values – all is good to list the list, walk the walk and talk the talk – but without alignment of values and goals, salmon upstream, preverbial bird flying into a window. What is the next step?

  • goober

    this was very enlightening! i found this at just the right time. thank you!

  • Thanks @Ariellabaston for answering @SeekerOfLife.

    To @SeekerOfLife

    One of the points I wrote in the article was this:
    “Society may expect certain things from us, yet we are the ones who choose whether or not we internalize external social values and make them our own.”

    We are obviously conditioned from a young age as to what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. Sometimes unwittingly, values we hold for ourselves are ones that we unknowingly adopted because we saw them in our childhood. (for good and for bad)

    For instance with me, my struggle with perfectionism with housework is something that until recently I thought was something I wanted. It was only after I realized that it was a value “instilled” in me in childhood did i realize that having a less than perfect house did not mean I was any less good. I was trying to uphold a value that wasn’t my choosing. That too is of course a source of conflict.

    I suspect that you have something similar going on. Without knowing you, I won’t venture to figure it out. What I do want to say is that it is your decision and choice to accept and internalize what others are saying to you. Try to figure out what value you are “upholding” by letting what others say have that strong of an influence in your life.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Thank you Susie for your reply. (LOL and I was not talking to myself.)

    I agree that there is no one cause and effect for any thing in our lives.

    That said, as far as self esteem, I think that the awareness you are talking about is something we need to develop in order to really sort out which values are truly ours and which values are ones we “claimed” because we think that is what society/ family or friends expect from us.

    The more we live out our OWN values, not others, the better we feel about ourselves.

    Delving into your values, the reason those are your values and how they make you feel is the first step on the road.

  • @Sidney, I ask you this: Can you change anyone but yourself?

    I don’t know about you. I do know that depending on where my attitude and self esteem is, those are the kinds of people I draw into my life. In addition, even when I have a good attitude and self esteem and others are not on the same page, MY REACTION to them is different. My reaction has also on more than one occasion, changed others reactions as well. This is especially true when it is people you are exposed to over and over like family and co-workers.

    And conflict between people means that both parties need to be in conflict. If one is at peace and has no need to change the other, there is no conflict. Does one at peace wish others to be happy and peaceful too? Sure? He knows that the other has to come to that realization on his own. The best way to change others, is to live your life as an example.

  • Thank you Goober. Have you been struggling with something specific?

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with your post.
    Being a person with a low self-esteem, your advices might be very useful to me.

    I’ll tell you if they work 🙂

  • Susie, I really enjoyed your post because it spurred on my thinking. Your connection to values and self-esteem made sense to my mind but my gut resisted so I decided to re-read your post (See how much you are stirring up?!) and do some re-thinking. That’s always a great thing for me on a blog or in a conversation.

    What if someone valued family at all cost? They would steal, cheat, lie, and possibly, kill another human being because of this value. They also valued being clever and skillful in all these actions. In this case, would it mean that one’s values clarity and action from those values would boost his or her self-esteem?

    I would be so curious to what your thinking is on this. And I appreciate your patience. (I can drive my family crazy with these kind of questions :^). Thanks.

    Many blessings.
    another Susie

  • Hi Susie (no am not talkiing to myself lol).

    I appreciate your dialogue. Questions do not drive me crazy (although my family would get along well with yours because it drives them crazy as well.)

    First of all-I don’t think people are driven by only one value. Yes one value may be most important to them.

    In your example you mentioned a person who valued family above all else and who stole to uphold that value. Unless that person had a value of honesty somewhere in his value system, he would have no issue or dilemma and nothing to lower his self esteem or shake his confidence. He would feel uplifted that he did what he did to support his family.

    I would be hard pressed to some up with a situation (except in the case of a sociopath) where someone could do something that was not in line with the social or moral conduct of the society they live in, even if it was to uphold their most important value, and not feel some kind of conflict on some level that it was at odds with another one of their values, even one that was less important to them.

    In your case, even if they didn’t have honesty as a value, they might have other values that their act would clash with.

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks again for your questions.

  • Hey Susie.

    That makes complete sense and was my line of thinking also. I really appreciate your reply as I was trying to sort it out!

    Thanks so much.

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  • Mch21493

    I thought this article was a very interesting look at self-esteem. Relating quotes to every day life,my blog serves a similar purpose to these tiny Buddha articles. I usually consider outside sources as the cause of self-esteem issues and never considered looking inward as a solution.  The only thing that confuses me is, how do we change our values consciously.  By changing things we hold dear so that we can have more integrity, doesn’t the legitimacy of our beliefs decline if we are doing it purely to give ourselves more self-esteem.

  • Sorry i didn’t see this earlier. Have you managed to implement anything?

  • Hi @Mch21493 , Thanks for your comment. I like the idea of your blog.

    I don’t think I said anything about “changing” values. (Do correct me if I am wrong.) When we are not living out the values we hold dear and we let things less important take priority-that is what causes us to “doubt” ourselves and feel uncomfortable with who we are and how we are living.

    Does that make any sense?

  • Mch21493

    I see what you’re saying.  Thanks for getting back so soon! Is this the first time being published on this site? Do you have any pointers?

  • Yes-this is the first time I have been published on this site. I was blogging for over a year when I submitted an article.

    Pointers-have a look at posts on this site, look at the page about guest submissions and then find a great topic and write the ehck out of it.

    Good luck.

  • Mch21493

    Thanks so much Susie!

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  • madhu

    so very true and beautiful! thank you!

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  • Excellent article. I always tell people that it’s impossible to increase their self-esteem if they don’t know their value. It’s very important to live with integrity – it’s one of the keys to self-confidence and happy life.

  • Thank you so much.

  • I am so glad you agree. I do know firsthand how hard it is to live with integrity all the time. I think we all have our lapses.

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  • Sporty

    Thank you so much. You make so much sense to me. Like a major break thru. Instead of dieing maybe I can choose life. I wish to know you.
    Open, Turn and Drop. Will forever be with me. I can atleast do that. I might drop alot. For the pain of letting go of my Mother and never seeing her again because of a soiciopath again, entering our family. I am left without any family.
    They can’t see it. Yet my Mom knows but is to old 84 to be willing to fight.
    So of course I look crazy and the sociopath looks fine.  Trying to have others see what I know has only made things worse. Yes, who would want to believe it.  But the truth is the truth.  I most likely won’t see and maybe never talk to her my best friend in this life time.  It tears my heart apart.  Yet my mother is willing to accept the abuse and someone taking over her house. Because she afraid and just wants to keep the peace. It’s horrible. But I panic and no one understands. They haven’t dealt with it or the sociopath is a convif.enience to them. They don’t have to do anything because they believe Mom is being cared for. Now the plans so far have worked and the pawns have done what this evil person has wanted. It was a set up and I can’t believe I fell for it by reacting, emotionally. So I have a family and the person I love most in the world, my best friend to let go of.  I feel like I am dieing. but if I don’t let go I surely will before my time, of which my Mom is willing to go before, just to keep the peace.

  • The problem with values is that a lot of them are not our own, but inherited from our parents or from society in generell. Real self esteem has to be independent of any values, otherwise we cannot find our independent self-worth, the woorth of our real self.

  • True talk susie. The values we believe in, are what defines our success or failures in the long run. By being positive with ourselves, we are gradually creating that habit of bettering ourselves and also learning to take on issues that seem to be pulling us away from success and happiness.

  • ICN

    This is such a good post on self-esteem. I’m glad I came across this blog today. 🙂

  • I respectfully disagree. With this, self-confidence is subject to change whenever we mess up. The problem is that we’re always going to mess up. The only way around it is to have absolutely no values at all (and I have yet to meet someone without them). I have found a better way, and that is finding someone whose opinion of me actually matters and will never change. It’s not about finding that “special someone” or even about self-affirmation. It’s not about how many times I mess up or how badly. It’s not even about what I can achieve, even in the sense of an integrous life.

    Feel free to check out my blog at if you want to learn more.

  • Mina

    This was a very helpful article. Thank you so much. I looked up a list of values to help get an idea and start my own list, and I found this link:

  • It’s interesting that Louise Hay’s affirmation for depression is
    “I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations. I create my life.” Reading this post just reminded me of that.

  • david

    thank you great article. for me I believe that self esteem is unconditional love for me. that I am the only one who will ever be responsible to love me completely.this requires me to disassociate my value from my acts and deeds.
    I can not judge if I am living up to my values and then decide I am good enough. I am always good enough. it is difficult to realize that self estw is simpler than one can imagine. when I do not need to add anything or loose face for anythingthen i knknow that I love me right now just the way I am. and I need to smile constantly to remind me that I am loved. it is great to be me. you too.

  • Deanna phan

    I am a girl who is struggling with her self-esteem. I fear that when i go to college, i won’t make friends and that i will be alone for the rest of my life. I also feel like i am helpless in so many ways i feel like i need to end the cycle and i don’t know how.

  • Dr. Robert Jason

    How many of us are more generous with our compliments to other than we are to ourselves?

    How many mothers put their family’s needs first, to the extent that they let themselves go, or forget who they are as individuals? The answer: unfortunately, a lot. It’s difficult to juggle numerous obligations–between taking care of work, the home, the man, the children, there’s seemingly little time to nurture ourselves.

    Think for a moment—when a woman is happy and fulfilled (as a function of taking care of herself!), is she more or less able to give to her family? Making time to take care of you will enhance your capability to take care of your loved ones and your many responsibilities. Consider the emergency plan on an airplane. Taking care of yourself is like putting on your oxygen mask first, and then taking care of your children and those around you.

    So, make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes on extra busy days. Do something you enjoy that rejuvenates you, that helps you feel good about yourself, or energizes you. Take a few minutes to enjoy a favorite activity (e.g., a hobby, read a good book), take care of your body (e.g., exercise, take a bath, eat something healthy and delicious), or whatever you need to rejuvenate. Take a moment to consider everything positive about you and express gratitude for wonderful things in your life. Lastly, just notice, observe the difference in how you feel when you do and when you don’t make time for yourself. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you do! Just a little love for yourself will make a big difference!

  • Mark Stewart

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    Health benefits of Baptist yoga

  • Hannu-Pekka Kulmala

    Here’s an excellent exercise that I use to develop mental balance, peace of mind and healthy self-esteem, I think you’ll find it interesting.

  • Rendezvous Rick

    I have a concern that many people regard self-esteem as high or low. To me, this is a negative concept in some ways, as we relate high and low as good and bad. To me, self-esteem is a skill that is developed to varying degrees. It is unlikely that all people develop the same skill at the same rate. Writing, spelling etc are examples of such skill development. It is, I feel, to consider self-esteem as a skill that is being developed throughout our life. Like any other skill that we develop, we need the right tools and techniques to help us develop and acquire that skill and, depending on the individual and the resources that are available and accessible, it can take an extended amount of time and effort to have the self confidence, self trust, and the worthiness that enable us to feel good about ourselves.

    Self-esteem flows from the inside out, not from the outside in. By that, I mean that material possessions, income, body image, education and other such factors, can’t bring to us the self-esteem that we seek. The Universal Law of Attraction tells us that we attract into our life that which we dwell upon the most with our thoughts. Think poorly about ourselves, and we feel worse over time. Think positively, and we get more positive and feel better about ourselves.

    It’s important to know that we get what we give, so if we want to have love in our life, we need to give love, and I know that for some that isn’t easy. Volunteering is a great way to start. A book I once read stated that in order to enrich our lives we need to learn to give unconditionally to others to enrich their lives. And giving unconditionally means giving without asking for, needing, wanting, or expecting anything in return. You will find that as you give to others, you are also giving to yourself.

    My apologies if this posting is too lengthy.

  • Challan Traffic

    the content in your site is really helpful. I am definitely going to use it.

  • Jackie

    I am an author of women’s fiction promoting self-confidence and encouragement. I loved your blog. If only more women would think of themselves in a different light and follow their , dreams, rather than being shrouded by peoples disparaging remarks, when one wants to make improvements in their lifetime.

  • Ashley Wells

    Self-esteem is an armor against the challenges of the world.

    If you want a coach on how to build self esteem especially to your child visit this site

  • Wolfgang

    Positive Affirmations are quiet simply
    short and powerful statements that you read aloud to your self on a daily
    basis, similar to positive thoughts, affirmations will slowly re-program the
    subconscious part of the mind and relay a new positive can do attitude to the
    conscious part of the mind.

  • Rocco

    Welllllll, I don’t know the parameters for tiny-“buddha” blog publication, but remember, in buddhism, there’s no self, so self-esteem isn’t an issue… The sense of self fluctuates, whether over the course of a lifetime, or over the course of an hour, because it is an illusion.

  • mysticaluna

    I disagree with your statement that “values are deeply held beliefs that guide us in what is right and wrong.” I think that “right” and “wrong” are subjective, “right” being something we esteem as “good” and “wrong” something “bad.” Good and bad are also relative to the observer’s opinion (or belief about what their opinion is “supposed” to be). I think a more correct statement would be that “values are deeply held preferences that reflect what we judge to be good or bad.”

  • happychoice

    I like your idea of thinking of self-esteem as bank in which we make deposits. I have been working on increasing self-confidence for awhile now. Each day takes effort but I have seen vast improvements in self-esteem and self-confidence over the last year. Being true to yourself and your values is key. Thank you for the lovely article.

  • yesica

    For a month, continually say to yourself ” I love and accept myself as I am .”
    When I poke a contrary thought , do not give importance and resume the

    If we do not have what we need , if it seems that life denies us our aspirations and needs,
    although apparently fight for satisfying them, it is likely that this occurs
    because subconsciously we do not feel deserving of success, because we feel
    unworthy of be happy, because, from a low self-esteem and a lack of love for
    ourselves, unconsciously seek failure.

    Type in a list: “I deserve to have (or be ) … and I accept it now.” Write
    each merit several times , paying attention to what happens in your body. Ask
    yourself if you believe what he says or if , on the contrary , it still feels

    If your body transmits any negative feelings , claiming : ” I renounce the party, in my
    conscience , is creating resistance to my own good ,” and repeat : ”
    I deserve … ”
    learn how to be happy and have what you want ….

  • Knowing yourself and being true to yourself can help you achieve true self-confidence. Thank you for sharing this secret to us. It is good to know that we have achieved the same realization.

  • ander70655

    commenting 3 years late but I find it funny that my definition of self esteem is “how I feel about how I feel about my appearance and intelligence. No where in my definition is there anything about integrity. My friend used to say if you want high self esteem commit esteem able acts and do not commit non esteem able acts. Maybe if I do that I won’t feel distraught about my appearance when I see a photograph of myself.

  • Tanz

    Beautiful article. I was going through loss of self esteem more than one year because of the tough time due to relationship as I have been blamed for everything for no reason. This article has given me an insight to understand the true meaning of “self esteem”. No one has right to make me believe as victim as I did what was true and as par my personality. That’s my integrity is and I am proud of myself that I took stand for it.

  • Thank you and I’m so glad this article helped you. Sending you strength and love to find your path.

  • Danny Boone

    Very positive

  • KateGladstone

    Whst about a terrorist in a society of terrorists? Does he get integrity from doing the evil that his society commends?

  • laura

    Fantastic article. SO on point. Thank you.

  • pl

    thank you Susie for this great post.It’s essential to maintain integrity.

  • adventuremonger

    Such a wonderful artical! Thank you!

  • Akshay

    one of the best articles i’ve came across during the recent past. i lost my self confidence for the past couple of years. Will try to implement what has been mentioned in this article.

  • stefan

    Great article, i had to post comment..

  • Richa Agrawal

    Thanks Susie. Very well explained and very true. This may clear way for many of my worries. God bless you.

  • annyomous

    disadvantages are boastful and rude don’t forget don’t get too high esteems neither low

  • Tenesha Graham

    I would have never thought about any of this. I wrote an article inspired by your post and referenced it so my readers will know who inspired me. Thank so much for inspiring me and giving such insight.