Challenges for self esteem


Nathaniel Brandon’s six pillars of self esteem are:

1. mindfulness
2. self acceptance
3. self-assertion
4. responsibility
5. living with a purpose
6. living with integrity

I got this surprising revelation today that the practice of self assertion needs a lot more conscious effort. I had thought that Brandon’s pillars could be glossed over as there are better tools and techniques in more more recent philosophical research.

But a retook at the pillars in the following link was a very interesting reading.

The author Brian Johnson has made an excellent work by summarizing what Brandon has to say.

The key is ‘PRACTICE OF..’, (which I capitalized) followed by the six pillars: it is not the idea that is important,but only the conscious practice can lead to self esteem.

I noticed that self-assertion can be a big challenge for persons who have been living in unfair conditions for many years. Speaking about myself, living in India and the Middle East and Africa for many years has ingrained a sense of unresponsiveness to unfairness and disrespectful treatment from people in authority.

One key aspect of authority in these countries is the association of disrespect and unfairness with it. Everyone is part of it either inflicting unfairness on direct reports or suffering unfairness at the hands of people in authority. The automatic limbic system is conditioned to ignore some cues of unfairness, but subconsciously it is adding to frustration.

It takes a while to get used to the idea that right for respectful treatment by others is indeed enforceable. can see that it is happening and I am able to bring in more of mindfulness, self-acceptance and self assertion into everyday life. But the challenges are still there.

The silver lining in this is the realization of the problem itself. Being aware of the problem is the beginning of eliminating it.

As a postscript, I noticed that Brandon’s six pillars are not his inventions. They are a re-telling of Buddha’s eightfold path. The following link makes a good study of the eightfold path, which is very much about living consciously, purposefully, wholesomely and with integrity.

The eightfold paths are:


1. View
2. Intention
3. Speech
4. Action
5. Livelihood
6. Effort
7. Mindfulness
8. Concentration

So the principles have very much been there. The major step is actually practising it.


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