The Practice of Personal Integrity – The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Hey you Self-esteem grower!

In this video I am going to tell you why Personal integrity is key to having a high self-esteem, and how you should go about starting to raise your level of integrity with some Simple objectives this week.

But why should you trust me? You don’t need to, I’m merely quoting the words of the well renowned self-esteem guru – who unfortunately no longer is with us – Nathaniel Branden. Although I do have some great personal experience to attest to when it comes to implementing these practices, as I’ve been doing rigorous for the last 6 months.

What is Integrity?

Integrity is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs and behavior. When our behavior is congruent with our professed values, when ideals and practice match, we have integrity.

At the simplest level, personal integrity entails such questions as: Am I honest, reliable, and trustworthy? Do I keep my promises? Do I do the things I say I admire and do I avoid the things I say I deplore? Am I fair and just in my dealings with others?

Integrity means congruence. Words and behavior match. ” (1995, Branden, p.143-144)

Why do we need Integrity?

“When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose face in our own eyes. We respect ourselves less. If the policy becomes habitual, we trust ourselves less or cease to trust ourselves at all.

Sometimes we may find ourselves caught in a conflict between different values that clash in a particular context, and the solution may be far from self-evident. Integrity does not guarantee that we will make the best choice; it only asks that our effort to find the best choice be authentic that we stay conscious, stay connected with our knowledge, call on our best rational clarity, take responsibility for our choice and its consequences, do not seek to escape into mental fog. ”

“To understand why lapses of integrity are detrimental to self-esteem, consider what a lapse of integrity entails. If I act in contradiction to a moral value held by someone else but not by me, I may or may not be wrong, but I cannot be faulted for having betrayed my convictions. If, however, I act against what I myself regard as right, if my actions clash with my expressed values,· then I act against my judgment, I betray my mind.” (1995, Branden, p.143-145)

How do we increase our level of integrity?

“..before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior-moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate-judgments about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy. In such a case, our problems are too severe to be described merely as lack of integrity. Integrity arises as an issue only for those who profess standards and values, which, of course, is the great majority of human beings. When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose face in our own eyes. We respect ourselves less. If the policy becomes habitual, we trust ourselves less or cease to trust ourselves at all.” (1995, Branden, p.143)

“If I am uniquely situated to raise my self-esteem, I am also uniquely situated to lower it.

One of the great self-deceptions is to tell oneself, “Only I will know.” Only I will know I am a liar; only I will know I deal unethically with people who trust me; only I will know I have no intention of honoring my promise. The implication is that my judgment is unimportant and that only the judgment of others counts. But when it comes to matters of selfesteem, I have more to fear from my own judgment than from anyone else’s; In the inner courtroom of my mind, mine is the only judgment that counts.

My ego, the “I” at the center of my consciousness, is the judge from whom there is no escape. I can avoid people who have learned the humiliating truth about me. I cannot avoid myself.” (1995, Branden, p.145)

With less words – acting with congruence; matching words and behaviour; externally and internally

The importance of the other Six pillars

“In such conflicts we see how essential are other practices, such as living consciously and self-responsibly, to integrity. We cannot practice integrity in an intellectual vacuum. To resolve any of the conflicts listed above, or countless others like them, one would have to rethink one’s deepest values, commitments, and priorities-or perhaps think about them for the first time-and be willing, if necessary, to challenge any and all authorities.

The higher the level of consciousness at which we operate, the more we live by explicit choice and the more naturally does integrity follow as a consequence.” (1995, Branden, p.151-152)


#1 I want you to take notice of all the crimes of integrity you do towards yourself. Did you say you were going to work out today? Yet you didn’t. Did you say you were going to call that friends of yours, tet you didn’t? Those are both breaches of integrity. Make a mark in your phone for every time you breach this band of integrity, and realize the hurt it’s actually causing your self-esteem.

#2 also, as a side mission, I want you to ask yourself at least once a day when you stand in front of that bathroom mirror brushing your teeth – If I’d raise my level of integrity today with 5%, how would I then act?”

If you feel you’ve come longer on this integrity journey – You can take on my other quest this week as well. What is it that you’ve always talked about doing or what is something that you really see yourself as being – yet you’re not living your life this way or moving towards that goal you always talk about. I’ve always talker about being a big entrepreneur when I grow up,  yet that’s not my reality. And that’s why I’m going to make sure to prioritize time this week – a projected I started last week – to outline a business idea and send that in to a business competition before Friday! What ONE action could you take to make you live the life you are telling yourself you are or will be living.

Commit to me down in the comments if you’re in for this week’s challenge – gives you that social preassure of actually doing what you’ve set out to do! Being acountable to someone is gold!




The protection of self-esteem requires a clear understanding of the limits of personal responsibility. Where there is no power, there can be no responsibility, and where there is no responsibility, there can be no reasonable self-reproach. Regret, yes; guilt, no. The idea of Original Sin-of guilt where there is no possibility of innocence, no freedom of choice, no alternatives available-is anti-selfesteem by its very nature. The very notion of guilt without volition or

responsibility is an assault on reason as well as on morality. Let us think about guilt and how it can be resolved in situations where we are personally responsible. Generally speaking, five steps are needed

to restore one’s sense of integrity with regard to a particular breach.

  1. We must own the fact that it is we who have taken the particular action. We must face and accept the full reality of what we have done, without disowning or avoidance. We own, we accept, we take responsibility .
  2. We seek to understand why we did what we did. We do this compassionately (as discussed under the practice of self-acceptance), but without evasive alibiing.
  3. If others are involved, as they often are, we acknowledge explicitly to the relevant person or persons the harm we have done. We convey our understanding of the consequences of our behavior. We acknowledge how they have been affected by us. We convey understanding of their feelings.
  4. We take any and all actions available that might make amends for or minimize the harm we have done.
  5. We firmly commit ourselves to behaving differently in the future. Without all these steps, we may continue to feel guilty over some wrong behavior, even though it happened years ago, even though our

psychotherapist might have told us everyone makes mistakes, and even though the wronged person may have offered forgiveness. None of that may be enough; self-esteem remains unsatisfied.

(1995, Branden, The Six Pilars of Self-Esteem, p.148-149)



Check out my previous 13 weeks of Rejection Therapy:

  • Week 1:
  • Week 2:
  • Week 3:
  • Week 4:
  • Week 5:
  • Week 6:
  • Week 7:
  • Week 8:
  • Week 9:
  • Week 10:
  • Week 11:
  • Week 12:
  • Week 13:

Music in this epsisode, last track:

“Acoustic guitar arrangement for song 3” and “Acoustic guitar arrangement for song” by TRow is licensed under a Creative Commons License.





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