High self-esteem is essential for a well-lived life.

Having high self-esteem means experiencing life from a place of worthiness. With this attitude, it’s easier to find success, because high self-esteem encourages optimism, confidence and resilience. It’s easier to find meaning, because seeing value within yourself makes it easier to see value outside yourself. And it’s easier to find happiness, because to fully experience pleasure, belonging and love, you need to believe that you are worthy of these blessings.

Internal and external forces push us toward lower self-esteem. We remember our failures longer and more vividly than our successes. We compare ourselves to others and dwell on areas where we don’t measure up. We see all our flaws but others hide their flaws from us, so we think our flaws are more numerous. Marketers cultivate and then prey on our sense of inadequacy, manufacturing needs they can claim to fulfill.

No matter who you are, you deserve high self-esteem. You are one of the most remarkable things in the universe. Your body is a marvel of precision engineering, with countless parts working so well that you’re aware of them only during their rare malfunctions. Your mind is even more amazing, capable of thoughts, emotions, consciousness, love. You have the power to choose, and to act on your choices. You can change the world. You are beautifully unique and uniquely beautiful. Anchor your self-esteem in these wonderful truths.

If I haven’t persuaded you of your value, find another way to develop self-flattering beliefs. Look for evidence that you’re skilled, lucky, virtuous, and valuable. Notice your successes and reflect on your positive qualities. And respect yourself now; don’t have false prerequisites for worthiness, ifs and whens that confer esteem only to some potential future version of you. The more you can persuade your conscious self that you are valuable, the more it will seep into your unconscious and shape the frames you use to view the world.

Even if you don’t think you deserve your respect now, pretend like you do. View high self-esteem as a benign illusion that will soon be justified. As you follow the tips on this site, your best self will take shape and you’ll grow into higher self-esteem.

Silence your inner critic and listen to your inner cheerleader. Successful relationships have at least five times as much positivity as negativity. Have a successful relationship with yourself by maintaining this same ratio, in your beliefs, attitudes, frames, and opinions about yourself.

Have an internal locus of self-esteem. With an external locus, you cede control of your esteem to others, become approval-seeking, compel yourself to continually demonstrate value in order to preserve your sense of self-worth. Don’t base your self-esteem on external conditions like acceptance, recognition, and status. Don’t think “I’m loveable because I’m loved.” Just know that you’re loveable, and you will be loved.

Anchor your self-esteem in the fundamental aspects of your identity: desires, beliefs, passions, purpose. Uncover, connect with, and nurture your best qualities. Look for other qualities worthy of pride, and develop those too. Courage, compassion, creativity, integrity, discipline, authenticity: build your self-esteem on enduring traits, not ephemeral states or external circumstances.

Today's Activity

  • What 10 things about yourself are you most proud of? Why? What other traits would you be proud to have? These lists are useful not just for building self-esteem but also for finding strengths, flow activities, and worthwhile goals.