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revised March 24, 2011

Arrow BulletBelieving in Yourself: Re-Thinking Values

Re-Thinking Values

  • A value is the worth that you place on something.
  • Your values are what you believe in or consider to be important.
  • Re-thinking your values is important to strengthening self-esteem because they help you decide what is right and wise for you.
  • Your values help determine the guiding principles by which you live. They influence your decisions and the goals you set.
  • For many situations in life, there aren't clear cut answers... including this effort to explore values.
Values develop in response to basic needs.
  • Children naturally adopt the values of the people they rely upon for love and approval.
  • Throughout life's stages and as a result of experiences, values evolve.
  • Teenagers question parental values and move towards their peers in the process of developing their own values.
  • A worker who is promoted to management may take on the values of the new peer group.
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1. Is my worth based on...
  • How many friends I have?
  • My level of education?
  • My income and material possessions?
  • My talents or achievements?
If self-esteem is the value you place on yourself, consider this...

What makes me a worthwhile person?

David Burns in "Ten Days to Self-Esteem" points out that using criteria such as size of social circle, level of education or income to evaluate worthiness means you have self-esteem only if you earn it.

This viewpoint of conditional self-esteem may be a powerful motivator to work hard and do your best.

But what happens when you apply your best effort and still do not reach your goal?

(Burns, D., 1993. Ten Days to Self-Esteem. Quill William Morrow.)
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What Happens When You're a Member of a Minority Group?

2. Is my worth based on society's view on...
  • My gender?
  • My appearance?
  • My sexual orientation?
  • My physical or mental abilities?
  • My religion?
  • My race, colour or ethnic background?
What happens when you're a member of a minority group or a group for which society shows little respect or openly shuns?

How do you strengthen and maintain a secure sense of self in these circumstances?

There are no easy answers to the complex circumstances provoked by intolerance and ignorance.
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Unconditional Self-Esteem

3. Is my worth based on...
  • My generosity?
  • My tolerance and respect?
  • My sense of social justice?
  • My honesty?
Burns describes unconditional self-esteem as choosing to love and respect yourself simply because you are a human being.

This viewpoint reflects an internal value of self that might include qualities such as generosity, tolerance, and honesty.

What are the advantages of this viewpoint? Are there any disadvantages? Is unconditional self-esteem necessary for survival?

The value you place on yourself can be found by spending time reflecting.
Consider how these 3 viewpoints influence how you believe in yourself.
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Revised: March 24, 2011


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