Personal Integrity, One of the Pillars of Self-Esteem
How can you have a healthy self-esteem? Various factors are involved, including working on your personal integrity.
For Nathaniel Branden, a well-known psychotherapist, doctor in psychology, and specialist in self-esteem, the development and strengthening of healthy self-esteem is based on six fundamental pillars. The last pillar, but certainly not least, is personal integrity. That’s what we’ll be discussing in this article.
According to this well-respected specialist, it’s important to have healthy self-esteem. This includes certain specific aspects that will help you to be happy and satisfied with yourself. He reveals that it’s crucial to work on the following areas, in the same order they appear here:
- Living consciously in the present.
- Total self-acceptance.
- Accept that you’re responsible for yourself. In other words, self-responsibility.
- Pay attention to yourself.
- Practice self-assertiveness.
- Have a purpose in life.
- Respect your personal integrity.
To improve your self-awareness, and indirectly your self-esteem, it’s necessary to know exactly what personal integrity is. Thus, the first step is to define it from a psychological point of view.
What’s personal integrity?
Nathaniel Branden’s definition states that: “Integrity is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs, and behavior. When our behavior is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match up, we have integrity”.
Based on that definition, you could say that someone has personal integrity when they act in accordance with their values system.
For instance, if someone believes that people should act a certain way in life, but they do the exact opposite in practice, it’s likely that they’ll feel discordance. It’s a disagreeable feeling that conflicts with self-awareness.
Now, if a person acts in accordance with their desires and the principles, convictions, beliefs, and ideals that are of most importance to them, they’ll be protected from feeling discordance. Their vision of self will be in line with those areas mentioned, and this harmony will bring them peace.
Of course, to be able to achieve this harmony, it’s important to know what you believe, which includes your principles, values, convictions, and ideals. We’re talking about your personal values, not those that you were brought up with or that someone else has tried to impose on you.
It doesn’t matter what family members, friends, or colleagues tell you. Defining your personal values has to do with being honest with yourself, and is the product of sincere internal dialogue.
Why is personal integrity a pillar of self-esteem?
Self-esteem marks every single decision we make, with repercussions for our health and well-being. It will determine your life in every sphere: work, social, recreation, etc. Self-esteem becomes evident in all these areas by means of an essential element: your attitude.
Of course, it’s indispensable to enjoy healthy self-esteem. To achieve that, you’ll need to work on other personal areas. However, it’s very important to develop the area of personal integrity, since the more the way you live your life coincides with your values, the healthier your self-esteem will be.
The results of personal integrity
When you act in accordance with your convictions, your conscience will be at peace. When this is true in your case, it’s easier for that tranquil mental state to affect other areas of your life. You’ll also find recognition in what you do, reinforcing your self-esteem.
For example, imagine that someone puts their trust in you to do a job for them. You do your best on it, in a reasonable time, without constantly putting it off, and you charge them an appropriate price.
Some of the benefits will be that the other person will be happy with you, and the satisfaction you’ll feel in doing a good job. But besides that, you’ll be happy with yourself. Why? Because you’ve acted in harmony with the way you believe you should act.
This process, when you feel good about the actions you’ve taken, will improve your self-esteem. In that way, you’ll be able to create habits that will continue to contribute to your personal integrity.
When your self-esteem is at a healthy level, you’ll accept yourself for what you are and appreciate your worth. That’s why it’s so important to work on personal integrity, looking after one of the fundamental pillars of self-esteem.