"Separating Self-Worth and Behaviour"

Whether you are raising kids or trying to improve your own self-esteem, the relationship between who you are and what you do is important. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or simply trying to build your own self-esteem, it is important to realize that we need to separate our sense of self-worth from our behaviour.

Imagine this scene: A three-year-old asks repeatedly, "Mama, do you love me?" Each time, Mom answers, "Of course I do." Then the child takes her hand and leads her to a broken flowerpot or shattered toy and looks at her questioningly.

Here is a little child, on this earth only three short years, already asking one of the most profound psychological questions any of us can ask: "Is my ability to be loved tied to what I do? Am I the same as my behaviour?" The answer for all of us, no matter how old we are, should be the same, "No, indeed!"

The importance of this point can't be overemphasized. To increase self-worth, it is vital that we respond to behaviour while remaining friendly and respectful toward the person. This means that when a child misbehaves, we don't call him a "bad boy." And when a child does what we want her to, we don't say, "What a good girl!" Instead, we praise the behaviour and hug the child.

The same goes for how we treat ourselves. Remember that you are not simply what you do any more than you are what you wear.

Article by: Lou Tice

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The Pacific Institute, Inc.