Nathaniel Branden's Self-Esteem Every Day


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August 15 – Self-Esteem Every Day

The idea of original sin—of guilt with no possibility of innocence, no freedom of choice, no alternatives—inherently militates against self-esteem. The very notion of guilt without volition or responsibility is an assault on reason as well as on morality. Sin is not original, it is originated—like virtue.
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August 16 – Self-Esteem Every Day

If you have done something you know to be wrong, if you feel guilty about it and wish to correct it, there are usually five steps you should take:

1 - Acknowledge the fact that it is you that have taken the particular action. Face and accept the full reality of what you have done without denial or disavowel. Acknowledge, accept and take responsibility. Do not say it really wasn't me.

2 - Seek to understand why you did what you did. Understand where you were coming from.

3 - If others are involved, as they often are, acknowledge explicitly to the relevant persons the harm you have done. Convey your understanding of the consequences of your behavior. Convey your understanding of how they have been affected.

4 - Take any and all actions that might make amends for or minimize the harm you have done.

5 - Firmly commit yourself to acting differently in the future.

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August 19 – Self-Esteem Every Day

It is easy enough to say, Be true to your values. But what if your values are irrational? Or what if the virtues to which you have committed yourself are so imimical to human nature that they cannot be practiced consistently? Be careful of what you accept as your code of morality. Think carefully about whether its tenets serve your life and well-being. Exercise critical judgment. Realize how much is at stake—your life, your happiness, your self-esteem.
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August 22 – Self-Esteem Every Day

As spiritual advice, "Follow your bliss" is well intentioned, perhaps, but clearly inadequate. If one wished to reduce morality to a single sentence (which is a dubious endeavor), one had better say, "Live consciously; take responsibility for your choices and actions; respect the rights of others; and follow your bliss." But, of course, life is just too complex for moral one-liners, except insofar as they serve as reminders of basic principles.
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August 23 – Self-Esteem Every Day

In a society where political figures, religious leaders, business associates, corporate heads, and other public personalities hold themselves to high standards of morality, it is relatively easier for an average person to practice integrity than it is in a society where corruption, cynicism, and amorality are the norm. In the latter kind of society, an individual is likely to feel that the quest for personal integrity is futile and unrealistic—unless he or she is extraordinarily independent and autonomous, inner-directed rather than outer-directed.
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August 25 – Self-Esteem Every Day

The more you live consciously, the more you trust your mind and respect your worth; and if you trust your mind and respect your worth, it feels natural to live consciously. The more you practice integrity, the more you enjoy good self-esteem; and if you enjoy good self-esteem, it feels natural to practice integrity.
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September 2 – Self-Esteem Every Day

When a man and a woman encounter each other in romantic love, seeking union, seeking fusion, seeking the experience of the most intimate contact, they come to each other from a context of aloneness. An understanding of this fact is essential. Paradoxically, If you wish to understand romantic love, you must begin by understanding aloneness, the universal condition of us all.
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