Self-esteem is not 'other esteem'

Many of us have a false and destructive notion of what is "self-esteem." We believe that how we feel about ourselves depends on how others view us. Of course others affect how we are doing; we are hard-wired for relationships. But this is not the same thing as putting others in charge of our self-esteem. When we do this we don't have self-esteem, we have 'other esteem.'


By putting our well-being into the hands of others (and, as a result, trying to "make" them like/love/appreciate/value us) relationships become messy, tangled, and dysfunctional. They often come to an end, leaving us even unhappier.


By taking full responsibility for our own happiness/joy and functioning we develop our sense of self-esteem; then we can function far better in relationships. This, then makes our lives far better. Our self-esteem improves!


The key to functioning better is by developing healthy boundaries. This means being responsible for ourselves, and respecting ourselves. From this space it is then possible to love others more unconditionally.


Self-care and self-love are not the same as selfishness. Co-dependency is (ironically) a form of selfishness! Boundaries lead to better self-respect and self-accountability, and thus lead to the ability to love oneself, and others, better.


Another important aspect is the amount of shame you are carrying around, as shame is particularly hard on our self-esteem. See more about shame here.


Making changes is not easy by oneself. Asking for assistance is not shameful. Not doing anything about your problems is worse!


Please note that this website's materials are for educational purposes only and do not replace individual counselling. These materials are not intended for those experiencing critical symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, for which emergency help should be sought.