how to apply the 6 pillars of self-esteem to your life



Self-esteem is closely linked to well-being. Well-being is closely linked with both physical and mental health.

It is hard to have a healthy body without a healthy mind and vice versa.

In order to live your most optimal life, we believe you must implement each pillar of Life By Design.

Power by Design addresses the brain-body connection and restores prone spine and nerve system function through chiropractic care. We check for core problems with the communication network between your brain, spinal cord, nerves and the associated muscle and organ systems they connect to.

Eat By Design works in harmony with your body’s genetic makeup. It’s an approach for fulfilling your body’s fuel requirements… we teach you how to meet these requirements while maximizing nutrient density and decreasing toxicity.

Move By Design forms the foundation for optimal human movement. It focuses on your simple principles that optimize health and longevity… mobility, strength, speed and stamina.

Lastly, Think By Design addresses the most overlooked step when it comes to health…the mind’s requirements. In fact, health is greatly governed by the actions and processes that occur right between your ears. A healthy sense of self-esteem is one of your mind’s foundational requirements for health.

What is self-esteem?

Dr Nathaniel Branden was the pioneer of the self-esteem movement… he literally wrote the quintessential book on self-esteem… The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem (and many more).

We highly recommend you grab a copy of this book, so we’ve provided a couple of links.

Listen to the entire book on Audible.

Get the paper or Kindle versions on Amazon.

Let’s begin with Dr Branden’s definition of self-esteem:

“Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think.

By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change.

It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfilment – happiness – are right and natural for us.”

When the pillars of self-esteem are met… we are fulfilled and happy. After all, we are designed to be extraordinary!

When the pillars of self-esteem are not met… our minds will not be at our best and may actually develop symptoms of depression, unhappiness and a lack of fulfilment with life.

Self-esteem affects virtually every aspect of our lives.

Dr Branden breaks self-esteem into 6 pillars, which outline practical steps on how to achieve a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Pillar 1: Living Consciously

Reality exists… don’t avoid your own reality because you don’t like it.

There are rules to living on this earth and to creating health in your body… on top of this, each person is unique and reacts differently to every situation. No two people are alike.

Living consciously means acknowledging the rules of life… the rules of health. After acknowledging the rules, start living in integrity with these.

Be conscious of the decisions you make and don’t make… there’s as much power in what you do as what you avoid doing.

Pillar 2: Self-Acceptance

Accept where you’re at in your life journey.

I have made a lot of mistakes with regards to my health. At one time I didn’t know the rules for building health and my choices were actually leading me down a path of destruction and disease.

I’ve “started over” with regards to living my Life By Design many times. Sometimes old habits creep back in and requires the re-evaluation of decisions you are making…at some point you may need to re-visit the basics again.

No matter where you are starting from, you have the power to begin to make great health decisions today.

The second part to self-acceptance is accepting your greatness as well. Humans often focus only on the negatives or challenges they are facing without acknowledging all the great things they do.

A great way to acknowledge your greatness is to keep a daily gratitude journal.

Write down just 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day…

… after a few weeks, you’ll have a collection of positive stories from your life to look back on, and bring you joy when you’re not feeling as grateful.

Pillar 3: Self-Responsibility

Be responsible for your choices and actions.

Committing to great habits is a choice.

Lack of commitment will lead to your day being filled with less important actions that may keep you busy, but leave you unfulfilled.

This also means worrying less about what you can’t control.

You can’t control the actions of others… but you can always control your reaction to any situation.

Pillar 4: Self-Assertiveness

This is having the confidence to step up and take action. Self-esteem is largely about following through with what you say you’re going to do… and knowing you can.

If you take action on your values and beliefs, you will be living authentically.

Have the confidence to speak from your innermost convictions. This is not forcing your opinion upon others, but have the confidence to speak up when it’s required.

Pillar 5: Living Purposefully

Questions you must ask and answer yourself are:

  • Why are you here?
  • What’s the point of my existence?

We all have a purpose in life…and if you are truly living your purpose, you will have a relatively “smooth” life. If you are encountering lots of friction in your life, you probably aren’t living your purpose.

Your purpose is linked to what you want to achieve in life.

  • What makes you happy?
  • Do you like to travel?
  • What kind of experiences do you enjoy?
  • Do you want a family?
  • Do you want to run a business?
  • Who will you spend your time with?

These are all examples of questions that can help you find your purpose.

Pillar 6: Personal integrity

Integrity is the glue that keeps your self-esteem intact. It’s ingrained in each of the pillars.

What is integrity?

Integrity is simply aligning your actions with your beliefs.

In order to do this you must first clearly define your values and develop a conscious philosophy (or world view).

Again, your level of integrity will determine how frictionless your life is… because when you act out of integrity in regards to what you believe, you create a contradiction… and contradictions always cause destruction.

Sentence completion… first step towards better self esteem

Sentence completion is a really powerful tool developed by Dr Branden to help you develop a greater sense of self-esteem.

Click here to access the sentence completion exercises.

This is not an overnight solution… it takes time and work, but is worth it to live a better life.

Each time you make a decision in line with your values, you add to your self-esteem bank account.

Also, each time you make a decision outside of your values, you take away from your self-esteem bank account.

The idea is to build up more deposits than withdrawls… so you become more confident in your ability to navigate the world.

When can I find time to do the sentence completion?

During one of our favourite times of the day, the Power Hour.

Each day, the exercise can take 5-15 mins of journaling.

Make it a daily practice until you complete the program.

Confused about how to structure a Power Hour routine?

Download your Power Hour guide here.

Want to dive deeper?

When it comes to your psychological health, you must do the work, not only to build up your mental well-being but then to protect it.

Mental well-being isn’t a destination, it requires constant upkeep…like any area of health. Brushing your teeth once or twice is not going to protect you from cavities for life.

Follow the Think By Design method to empower each of the 8 branches of your Life By Design.

Click here to download the Think By Design manual.



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Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.