Four Legs of Self-Esteem

I listened to a fascinating talk by Denis Waitley on self esteem, particularly in respect to our children. He suggests there are four elements of self esteem, like four legs on a chair. Remove one leg, and the chair becomes unstable.

  1. Sense of Belonging – we all like to feel we are part of a larger whole. A team; a family; a gang. What can we do to make our son or daughter feel proud of the family team? Make them feel safe, loved and welcome. Make your home a place where your children want to bring their friends rather than a place they want to leave as soon as possible!
  2. Sense of Individual Identity – how can we encourage our kids to express themselves as individuals?
  3. Sense of Worthiness – show your children unconditional love. Help your children to feel comfortable in his or her own skin. Worthiness can only be anchored in core values, rather than external motivation.
  4. Sense of Control and Competence – this is self-efficacy, a functional belief in your ability to control what happens to you in a changing, uncertain world. You need a sense of worthiness to give you the emotional strength to carry on, but you need self-efficacy to believe you can succeed.

I read this over and over with a Father’s eye, thinking how can I help my son. The more I think it through, the more true it is for us as adults, as well. I know I feel a much higher degree of self-esteem when I demonstrate self-efficacy. My sense of belonging can be a tough one, when I work out of a home office or spend days on the road. My sense of worthiness can take a battering from customers or the boss – at the close of the day, look in the mirror and ask yourself “did I make a difference today”?


About Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart exists to serve by igniting potential. Husband. Dad. Leader. Cyclist. Friend.
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