Personal integrity, the pillar of self-esteem

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Robert Maurer

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Personal integrity, the pillar of self-esteem

What is personal integrity from a psychological point of view? How does it affect self-esteem?

Last update: January 22, 2021

Nathaniel Branden, a well-known psychotherapist who specializes in self-esteem, argued that the development and strengthening of self-confidence rests on six pillars. One of them is personal integrity, but what exactly is it?

According to the American psychologist, to enjoy a healthy self-esteem, or a level where one feels happy and satisfied with oneself, it is essential to work on a series of factors. In the order in which he mentions them we find:

  •  Live the present with awareness.
  • Complete acceptance of ourselves.
  • Self-responsibility, i.e. accepting that we are responsible for our life.
  • Self-affirmation, which means paying attention to our needs.
  • Having a purpose in life.
  • Preserve our personal integrity.

What is the last (but not least) point, personal integrity, from a psychological point of view? How does it affect self-esteem?

What is personal integrity?

Branden defines it as “the integration of the person's ideals, convictions, rules and beliefs with one's own conduct. When our actions conform to our values, when ideals and their practice agree, we have integrity ”.

Therefore, personal integrity is present when we act according to our value system. If not, we will probably perceive a dissonance. An annoying feeling that creates conflict in our self-esteem.

Living in harmony with desires, values, principles, beliefs and ideals that are fundamental to us therefore protects us from such dissonance. Personal integrity, therefore, exists when our view of the ego is aligned with all these elements; a union that instills serenity.

To foster this union, it is certainly important to understand what our desires, principles, beliefs, values ​​or ideals are. But be careful: they must really be ours, inculcated by others or who try to impose on us are not valid. We must ignore the values ​​of friends, colleagues, family or others. An exercise in honesty with ourselves, the result of a sincere inner dialogue.

Why pillar of self-esteem?

Self-esteem affects our decisions, our health and our well-being. It conditions life at every level: work, social, play, etc. It propagates to these dimensions through a supporting element: attitude.

It is therefore essential to have healthy levels of self-esteem and to obtain them it is necessary to work, in addition to a series of personal facets, on personal integrity. The more our lifestyle is in line with our values, the stronger our self-esteem will be.

"Developing our self-esteem is expanding our ability to be happy."

Nathaniel Branden-

In short, by acting on our beliefs, we will feel right with our conscience. Our mental state will be affected by this scenario; it will be easier for us to recognize ourselves in our actions, which will strengthen our self-esteem. It is a virtuous circle.

Let's take an example: a person has esteem in you and entrusts you with a job. You do it well, in the required time and without continually postponing it; in the end you ask him for a fair price. This, in addition to consolidating the relationship with the other person and making you feel satisfied for the job well done, it will also make you feel happy that you have acted according to what you think is correct. 

Feeling at peace with yourself will strengthen your self-esteem. You will end up associating that way of acting with the feeling of well-being, creating a habit that will earn you personal integrity.

Such conduct increases self-esteem because when we accept ourselves, we value and love ourselves. That is why it is very important to work on this fundamental pillar.

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