This is How Our Students Build Self-Esteem

Self-esteem and resilience go hand-in-hand.


Because when you have self-esteem, you judge yourself on your own set of standards and aren’t easily thrown from your seat when others behave badly. You bounce back from external adversity more easily when you know you can rely on yourself. 

We can teach our students that one of the pillars of self-esteem is having the integrity to be truthful with ourselves and others.

We can help them learn to trust their true north, which is the built-in internal directional signal that leads us to wholeness.

It’s critical to disable the automatic self-judgment impulses and become the observer.

If we choose to be impartial observers of our thoughts and behaviors, we become better truth-tellers

Teach your kids to notice (but not judge) when they tell a lie. What does their inner rationalization say? 

“It’s harmless.” “I’m just trying to prove my point.” “Everyone changes the truth now and then.” “No big deal.”

We can be gentle and self-compassionate about why we don’t always tell the truth. We probably have a really good reason. 

We lie to shield ourselves and others from pain. We lie to hide our insecurities and make ourselves look good. We lie when we don’t want to disappoint someone or hurt their feelings. We lie thinking it doesn’t really matter.

But lying isn’t free.

We pay with the currency of our integrity. Our light dims a little every time we do or say something we know deep down isn’t true. 

The good news is that the way to integrity and increased self-esteem rests in our willingness and courage to be present with the truth, no matter how difficult. 

Acceptance of the truth paves the path to sovereignty.

Our souls whisper to us through our bodies. We have to get quiet enough to hear.

“(G)round yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others. You won’t get it right every time and you’ll make mistakes, like we all do, but if you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself, even when it’s hard, even when it’s inconvenient, people will notice; they’ll gravitate toward you, and you’ll be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

Barack Obama, 2020 Commencement Speech 

Self respect is hard earned. Accepting ourselves for who we are, accepting our students for who they are, and celebrating uniqueness brings us there. 

We can become fearless truth-tellers of our own journey and hold space for our students to be the truth-tellers of their journeys. This is how we build self-esteem.

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