Dr Rajan Philips
The value of self-esteem
motivational article was published in Oman Observer ,
one of the leading Newspapers in Oman. The article is
reproduced with the permission of the author )
Success is a magical goal that we all yearn for in life.
What we mean by success and how we go about to achieve it may vary from person
to person. Whatever the individual perception there are innumerable factors that
contribute to success.
One of the vital elements is self-esteem.
Self-esteem is something in our control and I believe a pre-requisite for
accomplishing anything worthwhile in life. It can in fact spell the difference
between success and failure.
The well-known psychologist Abraham Maslow, who charted out a hierarchy of human
needs, put self-esteem above basic survival needs such as food, shelter and
We may define self-esteem as how much we like, respect and accept ourselves. It
is a measure of how worthy, valuable and capable we consider ourselves in
Having high self-esteem is not to be confused with being egoistic which implies
an inflated opinion often based on an erroneous belief that we are superior to
Self-esteem can shape our thinking, self image, confidence levels, emotional
well-being and our very outlook to work and life.
Having a high level of self-esteem will help us to value ourselves and our
contributions and be aware of our uniqueness. This in turn will help us to value
and respect others.
Positive self-esteem paves the way to a healthy personality. Motivational writer
Nathaniel Branden rightly calls self-esteem: the immune system of our
A healthy level of self-esteem fosters positive traits like creativity,
rationality, flexibility, honesty and independence. On the other hand, low
self-esteem breeds the opposite qualities.
Everyday concerns like job status, home environment, and social relationships
determine self respect levels but ultimately our self belief can override all
these and give us the capacity to face adversities with confidence.
Low self-esteem results from a poor self image and it fuels negative thinking.
In this state we become very vulnerable to and easy victims of the negative
comments of others.
We get trapped in a vicious circle low self-esteem leads to drop in goal
achievement which in turn reduces our self-esteem even further.
Quite often, as managers or teachers we find our staff or students performing
well below their known potential. We are left puzzled and disappointed. We ought
to recognise that one of the key causes could be their low self-esteem. Once we
find this, we must swing into action and initiate measures to boost their
One writer uses the analogy of a plant growing in a pot to illustrate the impact
of self-esteem. The growth of the plant is restricted by the size of the pot.
Low self-esteem is like a small and narrow pot that stifles the growth of the
plant beyond a point. High self-esteem will ensure free and unhindered growth.
According to Nathaniel Branden, the motivational guru of self-esteem issues,
there are six steps to cultivate high self-esteem. These are living consciously,
self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, purposeful living and
Self-esteem is surely the cornerstone of a positive attitude towards living. A
high level of self-esteem will go a long way in developing a confident, happy
and highly motivated personality. So let us not spare any effort in nurturing
A few quotes:
Whether you think you can or think you cant you are right. Henry Ford
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on. Anon
- Oman Observer