Harvesting self-esteem is one of the popular topics of discussion within the self-help field today. It is often talked about how we need to bolster our self-esteem in order to be able to resist the pitfalls of life, but it isn’t often that there are specific ways in which to accomplish this feat. We will start from the bottom up in our discussion of how we can work to improve this crucial facet. Unfortunately, some of us have come from homes that lacked adequate support, compassion, and connection. What often results as a consequence of these types of family systems is an inability to harvest realistic levels of self-confidence and efficacy. In cognitive behavioral therapeutic language, we create distorted and often false “core beliefs” that drive our actions in a maladaptive manner. For those with this familial background, and even those without, the proper question is how do we foster self-esteem in a practical manner?
We start to harvest self-esteem by being able to take a realistic inventory of our strengths in order to identify where we need to focus our energy. For example, if an individual is a talented artist, it may not be advantageous in relation to building self-esteem for that person to pursue work in accounting. If we engage in a professional context, or even merely as a hobby, in endeavors that we are prone to not do well in, it will actually hurt our self-esteem rather than bolster it. We can also work to keep commitments and honor responsibilities in order to create more trust with other individuals, while simultaneously keeping ourselves accountable for doing what we say we will do. When we honor commitments, we also honor ourselves in the process which creates a deeper sense of self-esteem. From an intrapsychic standpoint, we can also implement a policy of unwavering honesty. Committing to honesty is important because it recreates the general plight of the recovering addict which is the notion of delaying gratification in the present in order to preserve a better result in the long term. Once we begin to implement these small changes, we will slowly begin to see our belief in our abilities and potential blossom into an increased level of self-esteem. The more consistently we can engage in esteem elevating actions, the more potential there is for the “tipping point effect” whereby our right actions compound on one another in order to make exponential change possible, and that will also legitimately improve the way we see ourselves and the potential we have to effect growth.