The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Nathaniel Branden wrote:

* We see eyes that are alert, bright, and lively; a face that is relaxed and (barring illness) tends to exhibit natural color and good skin vibrancy; a chin that is held naturally and in alignment with one’s body; and a relaxed jaw.
We see shoulders relaxed yet erect; hands that tend to be relaxed and graceful; arms that tend to hang in an easy, natural way; a posture that tends to be unstrained, erect, well-balanced; a walk that tends to be purposeful (without being aggressive and overbearing).
We hear a voice that tends to be modulated with an intensity appropriate to the situation and with clear pronunciation.
Notice that the theme of relaxation occurs again and again. Relaxation implies that we are not hiding from ourselves and are not at war with who we are. Chronic tension conveys a message of some form of internal split, some form of self-avoidance or self-repudiation, some aspect of the self being disowned or held on a very tight leash.

* We deny and disown our emotions when we (1) avoid awareness of their reality, (2) constrict our breathing and tighten our muscles to cut off or numb feeling, and (3) disassociate ourselves from our own experience (in which state we are often unable to recognize our feelings).

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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