Sometimes it’s difficult to explain what self-esteem means because the word “esteem” is rarely used as a daily word. Esteem has the same con-notion as respect. So self-esteem is the same as self-respect.
Self-respect means that you believe in your own integrity, in your own worth and dignity. The same definition you can give to self-esteem. Esteem means nothing else than integrity, worth and dignity.
Self-esteem or self-respect means knowing that you are equal to every other being on the planet. You are unique as a very valuable personality. You can’t compare yourself to anybody else. There is no other person like you.
There is a strong connection between esteem, honesty and integrity. These three powerful words create positive images in our minds.
Living esteem requires honesty and integrity. Being a person of integrity means that we do what we say. This makes other people believe in us because our integrity reveals our honesty.
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said: “If it is not right do not do it, if it is not true do not say it.” We can’t express better the close connection between honesty and integrity.
Whenever we express esteem toward somebody we do it with honesty, otherwise it wouldn’t be genuine esteem. When people give esteem but they don’t live it themselves the significance of their gesture fades away. We can’t believe that their sign of esteem is true and honest.
The connection between esteem, honesty and integrity is strong and mutual. None of them can truly exist without the others. Isn’t this a great motivation to integrate esteem in your daily life!
Can we agree to define truth as opposite of injustice?
Perhaps it becomes more clear when we try to express it with other words such as sincerity, veracity, integrity and justness.
There is no question that esteem and truth are closely connected with each other. Each helper word we used to explain truth we can use also to express esteem.
Often we distinguish between esteem as reward and genuine esteem. Esteem as reward seems to be superficial and non-durable. This kind of “esteem” can sometimes cooperate with injustice.
Genuine esteem on the other hand brings truth with it, shows reliability and empathy.
When we experience truth in our life we rejoice in it because we are connected to genuine esteem – for others and for us.
One of the most obvious signs of integrity is keeping a promise.
Laziness or opportunism can lead us to break a promise. Both reasons are far away from a life full of esteem. Esteem toward other people prevents us most often from breaking our promises.
Esteem means that we consider our fellow men as precious and worthy of our full attention. With this attitude we don’t put ourselves in the situation of breaking a promise because we make our promises very considerately. If there is a life situation forcing us to break a promise, honest communication can help us to explain our reasons and to therefore keep our integrity.
The connecting link between esteem and keeping a promise is honest communication.
Communication based on esteem looks at our fellow man with an attentive eye. We communicate carefully with regard to the feelings of the others and with regard to ourselves. Our inner communication based on our self-esteem supports us in realizing the background of others and of ourselves.
Keeping a promise is a very unselfish behavior which goes together with esteem.
Sometimes there are moments in life when we are tempted to do or say something against our will. We might do this simply for the sake of peace or harmony.
Most often we realize later that this kind of peace and harmony was just temporary. It didn’t have an honest basis.
Authenticity means being ourselves. At the moment we say and act the same it’s because in our deepest conviction we show integrity.
As we wrote some months ago we feel immediately if somebody acts with integrity. We feel the honesty without doubt.
Integrity is just another word for authenticity. People who are authentic can give the most honest esteem. They are believable and they can make the most convincing difference. When we want to integrate esteem in our life we are on the way to learning and internalizing authenticity. It makes our esteem toward others honest and forceful.
Somebody is said to be behaving with integrity when his words are the same as his actions. People who speak about kindness and generosity but don’t act accordingly aren’t considered as persons with integrity.
It’s the same with esteem. If somebody just talks about esteem but doesn’t act on it, his intention doesn’t feel genuine.
Often you don’t have to debate if others are acting with esteem and integrity, you just feel it.
Everybody is on his way to reach the goal of living esteem and integrity in life. Even when there are moments when we make mistakes, everybody deserves to get a second chance. Esteem and integrity are both growing goals in life.