How to Build Self-Esteem: The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

How to Build Self-Esteem: The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem, the regard one holds oneself, is a cornerstone of our mental and emotional health. It influences our relationships, decision-making, and overall satisfaction with life. This article explores six pillars of self-esteem, providing a roadmap to cultivate a healthier, more positive self-image.

1. Be Mindful of Your Strengths as Well as Your Weaknesses

Self-awareness forms the first pillar of self-esteem. It involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses, which requires honesty and introspection. Recognizing your strengths allows you to leverage them, fostering confidence and self-assuredness. Whether it’s creativity, problem-solving, or empathy, each strength contributes to your unique value.

However, self-awareness also involves acknowledging your weaknesses. No one exists without flaws, and accepting them forms an integral part of self-esteem. Rather than viewing weaknesses as failures, consider them areas for improvement. This perspective transforms weaknesses into opportunities, promoting growth and resilience.

2. Accept Yourself as You Are Now but Believe in Growth

Self-acceptance, the second pillar, involves embracing who you are in the present moment. It means acknowledging your current abilities, characteristics, and experiences without judgment. Self-acceptance provides a solid foundation for self-esteem, fostering a sense of inner peace and contentment.

However, self-acceptance does not mean complacency. Embrace the concept of a growth mindset, the belief that abilities and intelligence can develop over time. This mindset encourages perseverance in the face of challenges and fosters a love for learning, both crucial for building self-esteem.

3. Start Small and Achieve Early Success

The third pillar involves the power of small wins. Achieving small, manageable goals can boost your confidence and motivation, leading to a positive cycle of success. Start by setting realistic goals that align with your abilities and interests. No matter how small, each achievement is a stepping stone toward more significant accomplishments.

4. Visualize the Future You Want

Visualization, the fourth pillar, involves creating a mental image of your desired future. This powerful tool can enhance motivation, increase confidence, and improve performance. Start by visualizing your goals as already achieved. Imagine the feelings, experiences, and benefits associated with your success. This process can solidify your commitment to your goals and increase your belief in your ability to achieve them.

5. Develop Faith in Yourself and Your Potential

The fifth pillar centers on self-efficacy, the belief in your ability to succeed. This belief can influence your choices, effort, and persistence, all crucial for building self-esteem. Cultivate self-efficacy through mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, and positive self-talk. Remember, faith in yourself forms the foundation for all achievements.

6. Hold Yourself to High Standards of Ethics and Behavior

The final pillar involves maintaining high ethical standards and behavior. Personal ethics and behavior reflect your values and beliefs, influencing how you perceive and feel about yourself. Upholding high ethical standards can foster self-respect, integrity, and self-esteem. It involves making choices that align with your values, even when faced with challenges or temptations.


Building self-esteem involves a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and growth. It requires mindfulness of your strengths and weaknesses, acceptance of your current self, belief in growth, achievement of small wins, visualization of your desired future, faith in your potential, and adherence to high ethical standards. Each pillar is a stepping stone towards a healthier, more positive self-image.

Remember, the journey to self-esteem does not involve a destination but a continuous process of growth and self-improvement. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself, not in comparison to others, but in alignment with your unique potential and values.

Developing self-esteem is not an overnight process. It requires patience, consistency, and a lot of self-love. But the rewards are immense. High self-esteem can enhance your relationships, improve your career prospects, and contribute to overall happiness and satisfaction in life.

As you embark on this journey, remember to be kind to yourself. Celebrate your small victories, learn from your mistakes, and, most importantly, believe in your ability to grow and improve.

Further Reading

  1. “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” by Nathaniel Branden​1: This book comprehensively explores self-esteem, why it’s essential, and how to cultivate it. Branden, a renowned psychologist, presents six practices individuals can adopt to bolster their self-esteem. (While this article has the same title as this book, the pillars are different.)
  2. “Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem” by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning​2: This book offers a step-by-step guide to help readers assess their current self-esteem and build it up over time through cognitive behavioral techniques.
  3. “The Self-Esteem Workbook” by Glenn R. Schiraldi3: This book provides practical exercises and strategies to help readers understand self-esteem and foster a positive self-image. It’s an excellent resource for those who prefer a more hands-on approach.
  4. “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero​4: While not solely about self-esteem, this book offers inspiring advice on overcoming self-doubt and embracing your power, which can significantly boost self-esteem.
  5. “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha” by Tara Brach​5​​6: This book explores the concept of self-acceptance, a key component of self-esteem. Brach combines teachings from Western psychology and Eastern meditation to guide readers toward a more compassionate, confident self-view.