It’s An Inside Job: Scribbles On Cultivating Self-Esteem

As men and women, we get a lot of our self-esteem and identity through outside sources: work, sport, friends, partners and through roles we play. But how much of that is internally-derived self-esteem?

Depending on outside sources for primary self-esteem needs is a losing proposition in the long run. Because outside sources sometimes fail to provide or to come through for us when we need them, we need to look to inner sources of self-esteem inside of ourselves.

How do you create self-esteem from the inside?

From my work with men, a lot of self-esteem comes from identity sources, like the work that they do. Men often overidentify with their work and careers in a way that their self-esteem becomes overly contingent on their professional life. When the professional life fails to come through, then self-esteem becomes damaged. Depression and stress, as well as relationship difficulty, often come as byproducts of external sources that fail to provide for our self-esteem needs.

Refining your inner self-esteem, that place of knowing and centeredness inside yourself, is an important step in “living from the inside.” It becomes easier to weather the storms of our lives and our environment, especially when those “external” sources that we expect will come through for us fail to do so. We cling less to those sources for the fuel that we need, because we become generators of that self-esteem from within.

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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