Sunday, March 28, 2010

Honoring Your Emotions - Nathaniel Branden and the Psychology of High Self-Esteem

Have you ever read any of Nathaniel Branden's books? He's one of my top five favorite nonfiction authors, but for some reason he never achieved what we think of as "guru" status. Nevertheless, in my opinion no one has ever written with more wisdom about self-esteem. 

Self-esteem is a supremely important but controversial topic. Some writers on self-esteem are criticized for going too far - for discouraging negative feedback as potentially damaging to self-esteem. I believe that while you should appreciate you who you are, recognize your strengths and acknowledge your accomplishments, authentic self-esteem is always earned. Saying "that's wonderful" to recognize a trivial act has the opposite effect. It creates cognitive dissonance and causes a person to distrust praise.

But Nathaniel Branden nails it in his book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. If you read "self-help" books, do yourself a favor and put this one at the top of your list.  

You have a right to your feelings. Feelings are always there to tell you something. But they're not infallible guides to your behavior. 

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., , Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .

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