Building one’s esteem or self value is an important part of functioning as a person. Obviously, positive esteem is what we are striving for, rather than having what is often termed, “bad self-esteem.” What we think about ourselves is going to determine how we act which determines much of how our life will play out.

In this post I want to focus on what I see as the three levels of building esteem.imgres

The lowest level of building esteem depends on other people. This is allowing the thoughts, opinions, and statements of others to determine how we feel about ourselves. Just as we should not let other people’s negative comments bring us down, we do not need to depend on other people’s positive comments to build us up.

The next level of building esteem is feeling good about ourselves based on our accomplishments or our abilities. While it is appropriate to do the best we can and take pride when we do well, this cannot be what our esteem is built upon. Our accomplishments and abilities will fade over time. Seeing the good in ourselves has a higher, more mature meaning.

The highest level of esteem is “God-esteem.” When we are able to see ourselves the way God sees us, as a good person just because we exist. To be able to consider the fact that we are loved by an almighty God to the extent of sacrificing his son, then we will reach the highest appreciation of ourselves. We will see the good in ourselves and feel free to be the person God created us to be, no matter what the feedback of others is or how many accomplishments we attain.

Let us work towards moving past needing to gain positive esteem by other people’s words or by our accomplishments and abilities. May we climb onto the level of “God-esteem.”


Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT