I’m concerned with actions. I’m concerned about the actions of others and it’s got me down for years. I have always looked up to friends and family members with a lack of personal judgement or any inkling of thinking of my own integrity. What tends to translate from this kind of thinking is autonomous behaviour and action. It’s the monkey see and monkey does kind of policy you hold within. In Nathaniel Branden’s book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem there is a focus on action and conscious living. I think because of his intimate work and life relationship with Ayn Rand he became a strong influence in the ‘objectivists movement’.
Appropriately I don’t know much about that movement but conducting my life subjectively through the opinion and judgements of others never brought me to a profound sense of self-esteem. If I love myself, accept myself, accept responsibility for my own life and actions then I should and must be conscious of my decision-making ability, my will to succeed in life, to be objective about reality. There is a great quote from The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem that says, “What determines the level of self-esteem is what the individual does.” A lot of the time I’ve noticed that mistakes whether conscious or unconscious always brought me to a place of self-examination, reactivity and negative spirals due to irrational thinking and interpretation of events. We are complex beings, emotional, mental, physical, and for this reason, we behave in ways that we sometimes don’t reap the reactions or rewards in a setting that our expectations prescribe. Earnestly helping someone and having your efforts thrown in your face can lead to sadness, inadequacy, fear, negative spirals and irrational thinking. This isn’t usually the defining moment of how we should be thinking, feeling, behaving about our situations because it is just our biological filters doing what worked for us in the past. Sometimes new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving are required for new experiences.
By all effort of taking conscious control of how we respond to events and circumstances, we are taking responsibility for ourselves and therefore able to be of assistance to others. If a child is told the same message over and over soon the child will begin to believe it. A nagging wife will always be a nagging wife, unenjoyable partner or not. Sometimes our feeling of inadequacy is created by blind spots in our objective reality. Not everyone is a good communicator and not everyone wants to listen. When we are dependent children, dependent on authority figures, dependent on role models, we expect to see the exceptional behaviour, good morals, good influence in a worthy role model and expect to maintain good emotional, mental and physical well being. Many times the transition from adolescence to adulthood can be difficult due to the world telling us how we should be, think, act, do. Very little is taught about how self-esteem is more important than the approval of others. We don’t need to be perfect, it would drive us mad trying to obtain perfection, but we need to be objective in relation to those around us, to our role in the world, and to our own psychology and well being.
What is it then that should be given merit with regards to the contributions we make in the world? Another quote from The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem states, “We must become what we wish to teach.” Objectively you may have had poor social influence, may have dealt with life events in a less than respectable way or irrationally thought about circumstances in a way that was not useful. It can be difficult to know the right way of doing things, thinking, feeling and behaving, sometimes you need to ground and centre yourself before coming to conclusions and growing dependence on the approval of others or the encouragement of poor behaviour from peers who haven’t gone through the same events. What we need is self-esteem. What we need is a great role model for how we can manage life tasks and events.
Interacting with others is always dependent on the respect of the participants and also of yourself. You must never forget yourself and you must be aware that other people also have thoughts, feelings and behaviours based on how you treat them. We need to convey good emotions, good thinking, good behaviours to others. We need to build up their self-esteem as much as our own. We must praise each other for good attributes, good moral judgement, good behaviours. You cannot go around being selfish to the point you hurt others or you will fall into irrational thinking, feeling and behaving and therefore damage your own self-esteem. Sometimes when people are not treating you the way you’d appreciate then it’s usually because you are being irrational, autonomous with your biological reactions and not living consciously and independently. It means that you are objectively not building the self-esteem of others and building self-esteem builds your own self-esteem. That’s how it works. This is personal integrity. Personal integrity then is a match for doing what is right contextually in the objective world and subjectively living consciously and independently. We should live by reasoning in this way. You can’t take, take, take and expect to never give in return. You need to keep your word, believe in fairness and have an ideal for personal integrity.
We don’t live in a perfect world, this is probably why a lot of online authors advocate strong boundaries and sometimes abrasive rationalisations of dealing with an individuals attitude to certain circumstances. Do they live by their word? Sometimes you must think critically about what you read online. Is the author the embodiment of what they teach? Are they a good role model? Do they lose their shit over the small stuff or do they disagree without being disagreeable? A lot of what people preach is based on a self-image, self-esteem, self-acceptance. Would you want to think, feel and behave like that person does or not? What is it that you really want? What is your own self-image, self-esteem, self-acceptance all about? Who do you represent yourself as? I ask you these question because I want you to be personally responsible for the way you think, feel, behave in the world. I want you to be responsible for yourself. I want you to have more opportunity and respect in the world. I want you to live consciously from your self-esteem and I want you to be responsible for the role model you are to those who add meaning to your life.
This isn’t an excuse to be self-absorbed. I am concerned with actions. The objective perspective states that you abide by the laws in your community, the laws of your country, the laws of humanity, the laws of the universe and the responsibility to uphold these. You are responsible for your life and those around you. You are here for a reason, a higher purpose. What is your higher purpose? I still haven’t discovered mine but my path has led me to live consciously and learning about self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love. I may not know what I’ve been doing all this time but I can now move forward by valuing myself, valuing my self-respect and valuing my right to thrive in this life. I must take action, I must take the right action. I must embody what I want to teach because everything I stand for is a part of my self-esteem. This is the implication of action in the world. You embody what you are through action. Sure enough, we make mistakes, we learn, we move forward with new knowledge, wisdom and think, feel, behave in new ways that benefit our self-esteem and the self-esteem of those around us.
What is within our control should be the only thing we focus on when it comes to living consciously and making decisions to take action in the world. Our self-esteem is based on what is within our control, our personal integrity to take action on what is within our control. You are always in control of your responsibility for yourself, your thinking, feeling and behaving, your self-esteem. You cannot avoid this condition. You are always in the sole responsibility of yourself whether you are unaware of it or not. You should be concerned with actions. You should be concerned about what your actions mean to those around you and conscious of what actions you take through personal integrity. You should esteem yourself enough to be responsible. You should take action and use the psychic energy to persevere with conscious living and improving the self-esteem of yourself and those around you. Take action on this. We teach what we are, so do your best to bear this in mind. When you take action, be sure to add the right and useful meaning to your actions, nurture the self-esteem of others and nurture the self-esteem in yourself.