In this article, we take a look at the idea of Self Esteem & how journaling can be the one essential anchor habit towards building a positive Self Esteem.
The basic idea of Self Esteem has its foundation in the question, “Am I a good person?“. The answer to this lays the foundation for our personality traits such as confidence & leadership, as well as our success in work & personal relationships. Needless to say, positive Self Esteem is an extremely crucial & integral aspect of a healthy Self. See more details in the article – The idea of the Self.
Self Esteem & Self Doubt
It is a common misconception that there is no room for Self Doubt in the presence of positive Self Esteem. Self Doubt is actually the opposite side of the same coin, and therefore must always be present in order to drive us in the positive direction. Without Self Doubt, positive Self Esteem is conceit, or even narcissism.
Another common misconception relates to the vulnerability of Self Esteem. An individual may have a positive self esteem, but can be very vulnerable to social criticism. And that corresponds to a strong or weak sense of Self Concept. How much & how quickly you are affected by your social environment, is a reflection of the strength of your Sense of Self, and not necessarily your Self Esteem.
Self Esteem & Self Improvement
While there is ample advice available online & in academic research on developing positive Self Esteem, I have a single rule in this regard. And this rule is that – if I am improving, even just by a bit incrementally, as an individual, in my own eyes, in my own evaluation, every day, my Self Esteem is directed towards the positive direction. If I am living a life of positive change in the Self, I will feel good about myself, and this will result in a positive Self Esteem. And vice versa. This does not imply that I am not allowed to make mistakes or lapses in the process. It implies that if 75% of my life is directed in the positive direction, as I see it myself, it will result in positive self esteem.
This hypothesis raises the key question – how do I ensure that I am driven in the positive direction at least ~75% of the time?
The Six Pillars of Self Esteem
Dr Nathaniel Branden, a psychologist, has authored one of the best selling books on Self Esteem, titled ‘The Six Pillars of Self Esteem’. Here are the six pillars, as proposed in the book.
- The Practice of Living Consciously.
- The Practice of Self-Acceptance.
- The Practice of Self-Responsibility.
- The Practice of Self-Assertiveness.
- The Practice of Living Purposefully.
- The Practice of Personal Integrity
“What determines the level of self-esteem is what the individual does”The most important point made in the book is that SELF Esteem is not an idea or an affirmation. It is a Practice. It is based on actions.
Journaling & Self Esteem
If we must focus on our actions, we must ask ourselves the question – Is there any one action or practice that ties together all the six pillars?
In my view, Journaling is one such practice, that if done right, can tie everything else in your life in alignment with your true self & the pursuit of self actualization, resulting in the development of positive Self Esteem. Journaling allows you to align the different actions, from different aspects in your life, towards one central idea. Your true Self. It allows you to eliminate the noise, forced upon us in this hyperconnected world. It allows you to customize your chosen actions to suit your needs.
As an example, you may choose to take on running as a fitness habit. Journaling allows you to customize your running practice to suit your life, rather than be driven by a social trend, such as running a marathon, or aspiring towards any trendy goal.