Dakota Center for Independent Living

February is National Boost Your Self-Esteem Month

Self-esteem is how you see yourself, your worth and capability; in other words how you feel about yourself. If you have high self-esteem, you usually are confident and positive. If you have low self-esteem, you are usually very self-critic


al and down in the dumps. This can also be present in your actions, relationships with others and even your health.

People with higher self-esteem are generally more capable and confident in helping people around them and their positivity is often contagious.

Six pillars of self-esteem

  • Living Consciously.
  • Self-Acceptance.
  • Self-Responsibility.
  • Self-Assertiveness.
  • Living Purposefully.
  • Personal Integrity.

Live Consciously

To live consciously is to be aware of your own thoughts and actions, habits and reactions. Do not act impulsively or without thinking. To simplify: be aware, think before you act, do not react immediately and focus on what you’re doing.



Understanding and recognizing your own abilities and limitations; and accepting yourself and your personality traits whether they are positive or negative. Self-acceptance gives you more confidence in yourself and makes you less vulnerable to criticism. Part of self-acceptance is also being aware of our weaknesses without being emotionally attached to them. Self-acceptance affects everything about ourselves and lets us see ourselves for who we really are.



Self-responsibility means taking full responsibility for aspects including your actions of your own life that are within your control. You are responsible for the choices in your life, the direction you choose to travel and the way you think and feel. The most important is self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. This will require work, awareness and persistence for you. Its easy to just blame others for our problems, ignore or downplay serious issues or waiting for someone to rescue you or something to happen that will make everything ok.



Self-Assertiveness is the complex ability to think, emotionally react and act in a way that is non-passive and non-aggressive. Being assertive is being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm, positive way without being aggressive.


Living Purposefully

Simply having an intentional life or a meaningful life. Living in the moment; enjoying what you have and without feeling deprived or jealous of others. Be honest and genuine, taking responsibility for your own words and actions.


Personal Integrity

Your personal integrity tells what kind of person you are by the way you treat yourself and others. Having morals and using them with the decisions you make.

How do you build your self-esteem? Change your focus of negativity to positivity. When you focus on your faults or flaws, you magnify them. However, you must accept your flaws, they make you the unique person you are. Once you accept yourself, you can discover new opportunities and strengths you didn’t know you had all along. Be proud of your accomplishments every day, no matter how big or small they are. Something as simple as getting out of bed sometimes is an accomplishment, celebrate it. Self-care is a huge thing that we often forget about, but it is one of the most important. This is simply taking the time to care for you, do things that help you live well by improving your physical and mental health. Self-care can be treating yourself to a cup of coffee, going for a short walk or even a few minutes of quiet time to ease your mind.

~Cathy Job