Tuesday, 27 November 2012

how to improve your self regard

Self Esteem versus Self Regard

Self esteem is about your overall opinion of yourself and has to do with how much you like yourself. When you have healthy self esteem you feel good about yourself. Low levels of self esteem indicate a dislike for oneself and a concern that one is not ‘good enough’.


One of the most profound differences we see in to-day’s parents, compared to a generation ago, has been the development of the preoccupation with ensuring that our children have high levels of self esteem. However a very high level of self esteem is not desirable. When this happens a person can feel deserving of special privileges and superior to others. These feelings can lead to arrogance and self indulgence. Empathy with and sympathy for others is diminished as the individual focuses on meeting their personal needs with a sense of entitlement. It’s no surprise that an exaggerated sense of self and self adoration are characteristics of sociopathic behaviour. Clearly too much of a good thing can be bad for you. 


Self Regard is subtly different to Self Esteem. Reuven BarOn, creator of one of the most valid and widely used Emotional Intelligence tools on the market, has defined Self Regard as the ability to accurately perceive, understand and accept oneself. Warts and all. There is nearly always room to enhance your self regard as every new opportunity in your career, community and in your relationships opens a door to learning more about yourself, stretching your perception of yourself and engaging in new ways to learn more about what you are good at and not so good at. You won’t enhance your self regard if you stand still and resist “the good life” as Carl Rogers calls it. THE “FULLY FUNCTIONING PERSON” While I studied Carl Rogers humanistic teachings through my psychology degree a few years ago, it was only upon recent re-reading of his work that I realised much of what I focus on is described by his definition of what he calls the “fully functioning person” (FFP).

In the briefest of terms, the FFP is characterised by a growing openness to experience, an increasing existential lifestyle, an increasing trust in your own judgement versus social norms, freedom of choice, creativity, trustworthiness to act constructively, and living a life filled with rich and intense experiences. This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. (Rogers 1961) 


1. Self awareness: Take 15 minutes now to write down on a sheet of paper your 5 achievements from the past 12 months; your top 3 strengths at work right now; your top 3 weak areas at work right now; your number 1 development area that if you addressed would make a difference to the quality of your life and assist in becoming a FFP. With these 4 areas addressed, look ahead and plan where can you best leverage your strengths over the next 3-6 months and what can you can do to address development area in the next month? 

2. Did you have difficulty with accurate self perception on any of the above (“I get very little high quality feedback so I’m not sure of my strengths / what are my weak areas at work?”) If so, consider completing a 360 degree feedback instrument if you haven’t done so in the past 24 months; Forté has just launched a revamped 360 tool, let me know if you’d like to know more. 

3. Get yourself a mentor. Having someone at work you can talk to who has walked the path ahead of you can only be of benefit. People love to be asked to help others so it’s a win: win. A good mentor can help you understand how to effectively leverage your strengths. A mentor is like an “elder lemon” - not a coach, they are someone likely to be more senior to you (i.e. much more years experience), who has done what you would like to do and who is not responsible for your performance, they may not even work in your company. 

4. Buy the book “Well Being” to assess where you are in the 5 life essentials. 

5. Assess your Self Regard – consider completing the BarOn EQi Emotional Intelligence survey which will measure your Self Regard and 14 other emotional intelligence competencies if you have never done this before or completed one more than 3 years ago. Contact me for details of my 1:1 Emotional Intelligence Coaching Session. 

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