When I think of self esteem help, I think of a feeling that I have which is mostly contentment, and confidence, that I can successfully respond to the issues and people around me. It is coupled with a curiosity, a questing for knowledge.
Here is another defintion.
3. Nathaniel Branden in 1969 briefly defined self-esteem as "...the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness". This two-factor approach, as some have also called it, provides a balanced definition that seems to be capable of dealing with limits of defining self-esteem primarily in terms of competence or worth alone.
Branden’s (1969) description of self-esteem includes the following primary properties:
"1. self-esteem as a basic human need, i.e., "...it makes an essential contribution to the life process", "...is indispensable to normal and healthy self-development, and has a value for survival." 2. self-esteem as an automatic and inevitable consequence of the sum of individuals' choices in using their consciousness 3. something experienced as a part of, or background to, all of the individuals thoughts, feelings and actions.
Self esteem is a concept of personality, for it to grow, we need to have self worth, and this self worth will be sought from embracing challenges that result in the showing of success."
I like that self-esteem comes from "embracing challenges that result in the showing of success."
It has been my experience that difficult challenges are extremely important in developing a sense of competance to handle and even not handle a novel learning experience.
These days, my 10 year old son loves to tease me about not being able to work the dvd player. Based on what I know about myself, I do not have to 'win that battle' or any battle I do not choose to enter. Even if folks mock me, I do not need to enter out of shame. That to me is self esteem in action.
I can say to my son, for example, you are right, I cannot work the dvd player, and I would appreciate it if you not taunt me.
I do not think self esteem is a constant. In other words, in spite of the challenges I have participated in over the course of my life, and even with the successes I have, there are days when I feel ashamed rather than confident.
However, I can switch my thinking to change my feelings, simply by doing my HeartMath, or the Serenity Prayer, or an act of service, or remembering what I have to be grateful for.
If I were to offer self esteem help to folks, it usually involves asking them to remember challenges which seemed to test them severely, and to remind themselves that they made it through successfully, and they can use those same qualities of endurance, perserverance, and strength again.
Usually folks can get back to their experience of a feeling of quiet competance when they do this internal exercise.
It is sometimes a little unsettling for folks to think of the process of their brain as so manageable, that to change the feeling, they simply need to change the thought, which is a key component of cognitive behavioral and rational emotive behavioral therapy or counseling.
And the next step in self esteem help for me would be to introduce folks to HeartMath or heart rate variability biofeedback or some of the computerized brain fitness programs.
Since those tools are brief interventions, which teach folks how to manage physiological processes that are not usually available to conscious control, the hope is that folks will feel a new sense of efficacy, that they can manage their arousal, health, fitness, and even increase IQ, then most anything else can be tackled in manageable steps too. The locus of control becomes internal and comparisons to the external world stop.
First of all, in research published late in 2008 about the dual n back task, which is practiced on your computer, IQ can be increased, and there appears to be no upper limit. In other words, the more you practice the more IQ you can get. More IQ can be a factor in efficacy or self esteem and can help in problem solving especially when linked to emotional intelligence.
Want to take a crack at it?
The next self esteem help tool is HeartMath, also done on your computer, or on a hand held unit.
HeartMath is a biofeedback tool which gives me information on my computer about the time between my heart beats. I can learn to make the time between heart beats very coherent, which feels very nice, and I can learn to do that on demand, and it took about six practices, or about three hours, for me to do that. (I have had two people take more than 10 practices, or five hours, to learn the HeartMath process in eight years).
It turns out that my heart has a very sophisticated nervous system which the HeartMath folks call the brain in the heart, and that brain sends a significant amount of data to the brain in my head and can even open highter perceptual centers in the brain.
HeartMath is a wonderful stress management tool, which makes it a key part in any brain fitness strategy.
When folks get an experience of managing their heart rate, most are quite amazed, and self esteem is helped. And most like the feeling of relaxation that comes with HeartMath, and like to practice it.
And what you have really done is to teach folks that significant factors like IQ and physiology can be managed internally, which takes us back to the Nathaniel Branden definition of self esteem above.