We are continuing our journey into Dr. Michael Arloski’s Ten Tenets of Wellness with this series, taking a closer look at each. Last time, we explored Tenet One – Wellness Is Holistic. Today, we’ll look at Tenet Two – Self-Esteem Is Critical.
Tenet Two – Self-Esteem Is Critical
Self-Esteem is your sense of self-worth. What does self-esteem have to do with wellness? It’s pretty simple. You have to care enough about yourself to even want to make a change, much less plan for it and successfully carry it out.
It’s not necessary to spend hours in therapy to effectively work on self-esteem. Seeing a therapist may indeed be indicated if you are suffering from a deep rooted trauma, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, the trauma of a war experience, or other serious psychological shock. In these cases, a talented and patient therapist is your greatest ally and I encourage you to seek this person out to help you.
For others, though, assuming they don’t have that sort of serious difficulty in their past, working with a coach who is trained in, and effectively uses the techniques of positive psychology, can be a very powerful way to improve self-esteem. Many of us have been negatively affected, at some point in our lives, by the influence of a powerful authority figure – a teacher, parent, older sibling or others – and that influence has affected our sense of self-worth.
The Parts Are Greater Than The Whole
Dr. Martin Seligman, the ‘father’ of positive psychology, cautions that self-esteem is not an “…end to itself…but is just a meter that reads the state of the system.” In 1995, psychotherapist Dr. Nathaniel Branden, author of Six Pillars of Self-Esteem took a close look at self-esteem and broke it down into six component parts or ‘practices’ which he defines as: the practice of living consciously, the practice of self-acceptance, the practice of self-assertiveness, the practice of living purposefully and the practice of personal integrity.
Thinking of healthy self-esteem not as a solid, monolithic concept, but as made up of a collection of individual strengths which can be cultivated, helps to bring the sometimes fuzzy, theoretical notion of “increasing our self-esteem” into the realm of the possible. Another way to look at it comes from Francine Ward, author of Esteemable Acts, who says: “Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts.”
A competent coach can work with you, without engaging in therapy, by staying in the present and leveraging the techniques of positive psychology to help you increase your confidence, resilience and hopefulness, as well as helping you identify and utilize your strengths to live a beautiful, purposeful and meaningful life.
Next time, we’ll take a look at Tenet Three: Supportive Relationships Are a Must.