The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

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The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.jpg
Author Nathaniel Branden
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Bantam Books
Publication date
January 8, 2003
Media type Hardcover/Paperback/Digital
Pages 346
ISBN 0553095293

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is a 1994 book by Nathaniel Branden that outlines his definition and theory of self-esteem and practical ways to improve it.

Branden's formulation of self-esteem differs from mainstream theories in that Branden considers self-esteem to be an "immune system" of the consciousness, defending it against nihilism and ideas of self-hatred.

A program of sentence-completion exercises is included in an appendix for improving self-esteem.

The Six Pillars[edit]

  1. Living Consciously: "A mind that is active rather than passive. An intelligence that takes joy in its own function. Being 'in the moment,' without losing the wider context..."[1]
  2. Self-Acceptance: "It is the refusal to regard any part of ourselves—our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our dreams—as alien, as 'not me'."[2]
  3. Self-Responsibility: "I am responsible for the achievement of my desires. I am responsible for my choices and actions."[3]
  4. Self-Assertiveness: Sincere belief in one's own right to exist.
  5. Living Purposefully: "Taking responsibility for formulating one's goals and purposes consciously."[4]
  6. Personal Integrity: "When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose face in our own eyes."[5]


  • "The stability we cannot find in the world we must create within our own persons."[6]
  • "Underneath all my work, the core idea I wanted to teach was: Your life is important. Honor it. Fight for your highest possibilities."[7]
  • "There is no greater barrier to romantic happiness than the fear that I am undeserving of love and that my destiny is to be hurt."[8]
  • "Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and as worthy of happiness."[9]
  • "If human life and happiness are the standard, not all cultural traditions are equal."[10]


  1. p. 72
  2. p. 91
  3. p. 105
  4. p. 133
  5. p. 144
  6. p. xi
  7. p. xiii
  8. p. 8
  9. p. 27
  10. p. 287