Self-esteem on one page – forging a strength by fire

My (then 15 year-old) daughter phoned me to get something off her chest.

I was busting at the seams to tell her what was wrong with the way she was looking at things and I was frustrated because she wasn’t letting me tell her how to fix her problem. The call ended with my daughter feeling hurt and my feeling annoyed. My annoyance transformed into guilt as I realized this was not who I wanted to be.

I love my daughter with every fiber of my being. I needed to dig deep and find a healthy way forward.

Then it came to me.

I was reading ‘Six Pillars of Self-Esteem’ (by Nathaniel Branden); I challenged myself to capture the essence of the book on one page. If I wasn’t able to do this, I had no right explaining the concept to my daughter.

I spent 4 hours the next morning and studied the book with such intensity that when I finished I had ‘version 0.1’ of the one-pager. Although I’ve refined the original over the years, I think 95% of the essence was captured that Sunday morning.

Six Pillars of Self-Esteem – one pager by Omer Aziz

Definition – Trust in my mind to apprehend and deal with reality appropriately & confidence in my right to happiness

The Six Pillars

  1. Living consciously – Expand my awareness – A curiosity and desire to continually seek out salient points
  2. Self-acceptance – I am compassionate to myself
  3. Self-responsibility – I am responsible for the fulfillment of my goals
  4. Self-Assertiveness – Honor my needs, wants and values and find appropriate forms of their expression
  5. Living purposefully – Formulate goals, identify actions, monitor behavior and pay attention to outcomes
  6. Personal integrity – When my ideals and practice match

Good habits

Catch and observe negative feelings and thoughts without acting

Count strong moments

Identify and derive salient points

Set clear, demanding goals and persevere

Course correct – monitor and adjust behavior

Bad habits

Belief that feeling is fact

Fear-driven actions

Avoid, ignore or deny relevant facts

Blame my low self-esteem on external factors

Powerless over emotional pain (fear, anxiety, depression, rage, etc)


Knowing others is intelligence;

Knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength;

Mastering yourself is true power

– Lao Tzu

I learned that it was not my daughter’s self-esteem we needed to focus on, it was mine.

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