The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

the six pillars of self esteem

Nathaniel Branden was a psychotherapist (he died in 2014) who studied the psychology of self-esteem. He wrote books about the importance of it, including his 6 pillars of self-esteem that would explain how individuals could nurture their confidence and relationships.

More About Nathaniel Branden

Although not directly tied into his work with self-esteem, it is still interesting to note that Branden was a supporter of the philosophy of Objectivism, which was started by Ayn Rand (whom Branden had a personal and business relationship with).

He spent most of his time (before, during, and after his relationship with Rand), however, developing psychological theories and working on therapies.

He was also into politics, mainly backing Libertarianism and having a prominent role in this political movement.

What are the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem?

Branden believed that healthy self-esteem was a cornerstone to happiness. He believed that if your self-esteem needs were not being met, it could cause psychological issues, like depression and anxiety. He also thought could affect relationships and more.

To him, having self-esteem was having to competency needed to function in life and be happy. He understood that well others can nurture your self-esteem, it is mostly an internally generated feeling that one needs to focus on for themselves.

To help people focus on themselves and develop self-esteem, Branden came up with the six pillars of self-esteem. It was meant as a framework to guide people on the path to happiness.

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem are:

1. Living Consciously – Being aware of your thoughts and actions is an important component of healthy self-esteem. Branden believed in living mindfully as a tool for happiness. Many people in the fields of therapy, metaphysics, and psychiatry would agree.

2. Accepting Yourself – Self-acceptance is an important tool in your self-confidence arsenal. You are who you are, and until you accept it you can’t do anything about it. It’s important to accept yourself, flaws and all.

3. Personal Responsibility – You are responsible for who you are. While your past shapes you, you need to take responsibility for who you’ve become. Your actions are your own, no one else forces you to do things (in normal cases, anyway). When you actually take responsibility for who you are you can learn to work toward who you want to be.

4. Being Assertive – Do you stand up for yourself and your needs, or do you feel like a doormat to someone else? This is where assertiveness comes in – it is not a bad thing. Being assertive is simply expressing your needs, just make sure you do it appropriately, and without rudeness.

5. Living Purposefully – Everyone has a purpose, but not everyone strives to meet that purpose. In fact, many people don’t even know what their purpose is or how to find out what it is. Being mindful of who you are and the things that interest you will help you determine your life purpose.

6Integrity – Being whole and sticking with your moral principles is important when it comes to developing healthy self-esteem. In the six pillars, Branden meant this to be a point where people matched their behaviors and their convictions.

These 6 pillars of self-esteem, when followed, are meant to help you have high self-esteem. This is the healthy high self-esteem, not selfishness. In the book, they are listed as “practices,” because they are something you need to consciously be doing on a daily basis in order to make them a normal part of your life.

Other Beliefs Held by Nathanial Branden

Branden, in his studies, would encourage people to build both their self-worth and self-confidence through the building of their self-esteem. He also believed in individualism as an essential part of human freedom.

To be free and find happiness, Branden also believed that people need personal autonomy.

That means being able to make your own choices and pursue your own passions. For people that have started their own businesses or done work in a field that they are passionate about, this dream of personal autonomy has been realized. People that are forced into the family business or to go to a college that is not of their own choosing are robbed of personal autonomy.

The Self-Esteem Movement

Because he included an emphasis on internal practices, instead of relying on others to help boost self-esteem, his form of bettering self-confidence was seen as different from other people in the same field.

His beliefs started what some people referred to as the “self-esteem movement,” something we need more of right now.


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