Mind,  Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem Part 3: How to Develop and Maintain a Sound Self-Esteem

There are three basic steps to solving a problem. Self-Esteem Part 1 and 2 tackled the first two steps: 1. Understanding the problem and 2. Knowing how it’s caused. Now, it’s time for step 3: Using that knowledge to create a plan of action to resolve the problem.

In order to better understand the solution, here is a recap of Part 1 and 2.

Part 1:

A high level of self-esteem is not based on merit, accomplishments, physical appearances, talents and abilities, or any external factor. Rather, it’s loving yourself unconditionally and realizing that you are innately worthy (6).

Part 2:

Self-esteem is a direct result of our awareness, which is constantly evolving based on our life experiences, cultural conditioning, and “inner knowledge”. So, our awareness forms subconsciously (17). Furthermore, we are all doing the best our awareness allows us to do at any given point in time (39).

Now Part 3:

The self-esteem Direct Action Program developed by L.S. Barksdale aims at two things:

1. “Consciously generate positive feelings of self-esteem that will replace or cancel out old feelings of inferiority and inadequacy that have been accumulating at a non-consious level since your earliest childhood.”

2. “Provide a new life style that generates, nourishes and maintains sound self-esteem, and that will thus make you a far happier, more effective and tranquil individual.”

Building Self-Esteem, 51

Barksdale suggests we can replace our destructive negative awareness by reciting affirmations. This can be done on a scheduled basis and/or at any given time or place during our day. He also advises that instead of just thinking of it as an “exercise,” we think of it as a “way of life” (54).

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, By Carlos David

This makes sense.

It takes the course of our lives for negative awareness and cultural conditioning to develop into low-self esteem. Furthermore, our awareness is not static. It’s constantly being shaped by external factors. Therefore, once we’ve understood and deconstructed it (steps 1 and 2), reconstructing it requires time, persistence, and maintenance.

In the book, Building Self Esteem, there are a series of affirmations and groups of affirmation statements. There is also a Life Style Evaluation that helps you determine your Life Style Index, which rates how much your lifestyle aligns with having sound self-esteem.

Below are a couple of sample questions from the Life Style Evaluation along with the Basic Affirmation Statement.

Life Style Evaluation, sample questions

  1. “I allow myself the freedom to make mistakes, to be “wrong,” to fail, free of self-accusation, guilt or feeling “less than” (55).
  2. “I do not try to prove my worth by my accomplishments” (55).

Basic Affirmation

“I feel warm and loving toward myself, for I am a unique and precious being, ever doing the best my current awareness permits” (44).


Negative awareness develops over time, often subconsciously. Reprogramming our faulty awareness will, at first, require a conscious effort–consciously affirming the truth about ourselves. However, with enough time and consistency, our affirmations eventually become ingrained and embodied in who we are. Our reality is finally in alignment with actual reality. Before we know it, we have discovered a new lifestyle that promotes and maintains a higher level of self-esteem.

The reward in understanding our self-esteem and taking action steps to improve it can be extremely life-changing (see Part 1). We are truly laying the groundwork for a healthier mind, body, and soul.

Barksdale, L. S. Building Self-Esteem. The Barksdale Foundation, 1989.

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