“We are here charged with the task of completing,                                               or one might say, creating ourselves.”                                                                   William Cook

Self-esteem is the trickiest issue in personal growth. Wouldn’t it seem that of anyone who could love you most – you would be your own best fanNot so. Most of us are our own worst critics. We struggle mightily to embrace the blessing of “me.”                                    

No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to wish ourselves into our own lovability. Trying to look to others for an endorsement of this human product named, “Me,” is not only disastrous, it’s narcissistic. Self-centerness is counter to the concept of self-love. First-off, no matter how much you commit to pleasing another person, no one owes you an endorsement. No one wants to owe you anything, period.

Secondly, the word “owe” is only one letter away from “own.” Too many people experience the awful feeling of being owned. Like the organ grinder’s monkey is dependent on the crowd for a coin, too many people are dependent on others for the nod or the smile. There is zero access to inner peace or self-worth, let alone integrity, within this debilitating trap.

The formation of self-esteem begins and ends in childhood Once you are an adult, you must leave your childish ways behind. It’s time to grow up. How? Building character is your second chance at building self-esteem and feeling good about yourself. Actually, at feeling great about yourself.

Rather than attempting to love yourself from the inside outwards, the switch is to love yourself from the outside inwards. This really works. The idea is to become an action, not a response. Stop wishing and waiting for others to make you feel better about yourself – flip it around. The plan is straightforward. Use your own vote: live according to your values. Be true to yourself above all others. Here are your tools.

Tool #1 The Family Crest:                                                                                                  In  Medieval  days, when the knights proudly carried the flag of their family crest, I want you to write out a list of your 10 most important values you choose to live by.  (i.e., respect, spirituality, accountability, affection, adventure, honesty, sex, health, courage, etc.)  Using color markers, design your own crest and list your values within it. Put it  up somewhere visible for you to view every day.

Tool #2 Integrity                                                                                                                      Keep track daily how often YOU act in accordance with your values.  Pay attention to the times you breach your commitment to any of the values. Ignoring or overriding a value is an indicator that you’re out of integrity with yourself. Don’t punish yourself. Use it as a way to learn more about your weak spots- then recommit until you’re feeling more solid.                                                                                                              *Warning:  Staying in integrity causes discomfort and inner-tension in the short run, ultimately leading to peace of mind and joy.