What is Self-Esteem?

Are you moving through the world trying to become a somebody? Do you feel defensive and reactive?


Are you a Somebody expressing yourself in this world? Do you feel open and responsive?

There is a difference, and it has huge implications for how we act and feel in our day to day lives.

In the first instance we seek experience and things in the world in order to feel worthy and valuable, even respected and loved. Our self-esteem is dependant on what happens, and thus we personalize everything that happens to us.

However, when we can realize that we are worthy, valuable, respectable and lovable, we are free to express who we are, and not feel the need to justify our existence.

Self esteem is about “being” – it’s about who we are rather than what we do.  We are born human beings. And as such we are worthy, valuable.

The way we express ourselves or act may sometimes be a bit clumsy or unwanted. Yet we are still human beings- we are still lovable and respectable – it’s just that behaviour or those words that we said that are not respectable or valuable.

Thus there is a clear distinction between human being (self-esteem) and human doing (self-confidence).

Why Develop Self-Esteem?

Would it be valuable to you to have a sense of self which says “I am valuable; I have nothing to prove and everything to experience”? A frame of mind like that frees us to be ourselves and become all we can be. It allows us to see the world as an exciting place to explore and enjoy. It also gives us a sense of choice – we can choose those things that enrich us and allow us to reach for our potentials.

Some of the other benefits of a healthy self esteem include:

  • being open and responsive
  • experiencing loving and caring relationships
  • enjoying being fallible and accepting of making mistakes
  • being vulnerable
  • being creative
  • feeling free to express and explore our passions
  • being able to develop our talents
  • being able to contribute more

Thus there are many benefits to being able to esteem yourself highly. The first step in developing a healthy self-esteem then is in understanding the concept- human being vs. human doing. In our next post we’ll look at 5 more steps that can be used to establish a solid sense of self.

Part Two here