Cultivating an Environment of Self Esteem

Reading Level: Leisurely

Do your efforts to maintain your self esteem cultivate an environment of self worth or defeat for those around you?

Some of the most difficult people with whom to maintain healthy long-term relationships are those who feel that every conflict of opinion is an opportunity to prove that they are “right,” rather than come to a mutual understanding of other people’s points of views. Every disagreement instantly puts them into a “challenge to win” mode, which, unfortunately for the people in the relationships around them, means someone else must first lose. Another person is never allowed to have a different way of doing something because this person’s way is always better, as far as he or she is concerned. We cannot always avoid this type of person, as they may be a required part of the environment at work, home, or other frequented social settings. Today, however, let’s look at this in a more personal way.

Ask yourself, “Am I the type of person whose determination to always win produces an environment of defeat for other people?”

Joel Osteen is well-known worldwide for his gifting of encouragement. I’ve listened to him speak in the past, but had never been to his blog. This morning I felt the unusual impression to make my way there and came across a story on Joel and Victoria’s blog about a counseling session with this type of person. This comment was very insightful:

She didn’t recognize that her desire to be right all the time was driving home the point that everyone around her was wrong. She was creating a losing environment for her husband and children and depleting their sense of worth and value. Sadly, she didn’t even realize it… If you never let your spouse or your children win, you’re creating a spirit of defeat on the inside of them. Eventually, your family will just quit trying and lose that passion to win. (See Footnote)

You do not want to be responsible for creating a spirit of defeat in those with whom you daily interact when you have the power to cultivate a self esteem-building environment instead.


The blog went on to say that if you allow others to have winning moments, building their self esteems, you will live in an environment of winners. This description gives a good mental image for this concept.

You definitely do not want to create a self esteem-destroying environment with your spouse or children. But even in your less emotionally close associations at work or other frequented social settings such as clubs, boards, councils, etc, you do not want to be responsible for creating an environment which defeats people’s self esteems.

To motivate yourself toward change, ask yourself these questions.

1. Do I really want to be responsible for negatively affecting someone’s value of their own gift of life?
2. Do I want to be responsible for anyone being less effective in what they do or not reaching as high a goal as they would have if I had not beat down their self esteem?
3. Do I want to negatively affect someone else’s destiny?

Cultivating an environment of healthy self esteem is a win/win situation.

If you have lived out the feeling of a “challenge to win and make someone else lose” whenever they have a differing opinion, the realization that such action causes you to lose as well by harming your important relationships may be motivational enough to put an end to that game once and for all. By being aware of how your proper responses can build someone else’s self worth, you are becoming a better person, a less self-focused person. Rather than being motivated by a false desire that you “win” when you make someone else “lose,” draw satisfaction from the truth that allowing others the freedom to express themselves and implement their ideas and visions makes you a participant in their personal growth and success. And, not any less vital, cultivating the environment of self esteem will allow your relationships to flourish with life-long benefits!

The first quote was taken from the August 20th, 2009, post on Joel Osteen’s site. If you would like to read their full post on the topic, click here.

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