Improve Your Self Esteem with The 6 Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden

Inspirational Living

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the six pillars of self esteem

Nathaniel Branden- The Six Pillars of Self Esteem 

I came across a book called The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden and I thought it would be a great self improvement resource to share with you. But first let’s find out what is self esteem?

Branden provides the following definition, “Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think.”

Advertisements provides an easier explanation  “self-esteem as the extent to which we approve of and respect ourselves. It’s our personal evaluation of our own worth, and may not reflect our actual talents and abilities. It’s strictly our opinion: how we feel about ourselves.

Now why is self esteem important?


Louise Hart writes,

Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.  

Nathaniel Branden says, ”

“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.”  Nathaniel Branden was passionate about self esteem. He talked about it, lectured about it and wanted to bring it to the forefront. In his own words his biggest “challenge was to persuade people that the subject was worthy of study.”


Out of his passion, the book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem was born.  As the title suggests, in this book Branden provides us with six practices to build our self esteem. The practices are as follows:

1. The Practice Of Living Consciously

nathaniel branden
With this practice we are encouraged to bring our attention to the present. We should be able to recognise what is happening within us as well as around us. We do not disregard information just because we do not like it, but rather we accept it. In his own words,  “we have a respect for facts; being present to what we are doing while are doing it; seeking and being eagerly open to any information, knowledge, or feedback that bears on our interests, values, goals, and projects.

2. The Practice of Self Acceptance

nathaniel branden self esteem
With self acceptance, we accept who we are as we are. We own our own mistakes and we take responsibility of us. There is no denial, no judgement but just acceptance. We make the effort to love ourselves unconditionally. Another advocate for self love that I have featured on this blog is Louise Hay. She provides several self love affirmations that we can use to instill deep self love within our subconscious.

3. The Practice of Self Responsibility

This is one of my favorite. With self responsibility we take matters into our own hands. We don’t wait for opportunity, but rather make the opportunity. We use our power of choice and make conscious decisions of how we want our life to be. We own it so to speak. I think this quote from Dr Shad Helmsetter fits perfectly here,

“No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life. “
By taking full responsibility we can direct our choices to deliberately create our life experiences.

4. The Practice of Self- Assertiveness

earl nightingale conformityWith this practice we are true to ourselves. We are not pushed into doing certain things we do not like just to please other people. We stand firm for who we are and our values. We are confident to speak our mind and do not conform.  Branden says, “being authentic in our dealings with others; treating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval

5. The Practice of Living Purposefully

live purposefully nathaniel branden
This practice is about having a focus in life. Branden is encouraging that we become purposeful with what we are doing. As opposed to drifting in life, we have goals, that help to keep us on track. We have purpose at the forefront of our actions and day to day life.

6. The Practice of Self Integrity

six pillars of self esteem
We all know what integrity is. It’s about honesty, telling the truth, keeping our promises. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

So these are the Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. To build and maintain our self esteem we must be accepting of ourselves and we must love ourselves enough not to be violated by others. We must stand confidently for what we believe in and be guided by our goals.

I think The Six Pillars of Success is a great book for improving our self worth and reminding us that goals are important. Some of his books as below, available from Amazon.


Nathaniel Branden Biography

Nathaniel Branden was  a Canadian-American psychotherapist who has written the Psychology of Self-Esteem. He was born on April 9, 1930, and died on December 3, 2014.


As a gifted young student, Branden devoted his time to reading books instead of going to school. Due to absenteeism, he failed in most of the subjects in his first year of high school. So, his mother sent him to an accelerated high school for adults, where he did well.

Right after graduation, Branden took up a BA in psychology. He studied his MA from New York University and Ph.D. in psychology in 1973.

Psychology of Self-Esteem

As a psychotherapist, Branden said that self-esteem is a psychological need. He believed that elf-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as competent to handle and address the challenges of life.

His framework consists of six pillars, namely: Living Consciously, Self-Acceptance, Self-Responsibility, Self-Assertiveness, Living Purposefully, and Personal Integrity.

While other psychotherapists study self-esteem, his approach is a bit different, in which he included both confidence and worth. He had also emphasized the advantage of internally generated practices to improve and take an individual’s self-esteem to a different level.

With Branden’s contribution to the field, he was considered as the father of the self-esteem movement.


Branden started his practice of therapy as a cognitivist. But he shifted to technically eclectic stance. He utilized techniques from his sentence completion method, gestalt therapy, Ericksonian hypnosis, psychodrama, and neo-Reichian breathwork.

His mode of therapy consists of four aspects, such as education, encouragement of behavior change, emotional unblocking, and stimulation of insight. His approach is a combination of the cognitive and the emotional.

Life as a Writer

Branden wrote approximately 20 books about the psychology of self-esteem. Popular books include How to Raise Your Self-Esteem, The Art of Living Consciously, the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, and more.

Other Facts About Branden

Aside from his extensive work in the field of writing, Branden served as a lecturer. He had shared his knowledge and expertise in psychology and psychotherapy to young ones in different corners of the US. What makes Branden different from others is that he’s committed to sharing his knowledge, and seeing people change a fulfilling experience for him.

Branden worked as a corporate consultant, helping businesses of any size and niche utilize the principles of self-esteem. As a consultant for years, he assisted small, mid-sized, and large businesses to achieve quality results and continuous success.

Nathaniel Branden also founded the Branden Institute for Self-Esteem, a counseling center in Los Angeles.As a psychotherapist, writer, and lecturer, his legacy remains in the hearts of many, changing their perspective and helping them live life to the fullest.

Have you read this book or is it a new discovery? Let me know in the comment box. Remember to share if you have found this post helpful. Thank you for popping in!