What is it?
Self-esteem is the true (honest) value we place upon ourselves and is primarily driven by six factors as described by Dr. Nathaniel Branden in his outstanding book - The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.
Why is it important?
Self-esteem is the base upon which the whole of a person is built. Like a building, if a person's foundation of self-esteem is weak, flawed, or incomplete, the whole person will be unstable, weak, and lack the capacity for sustained high-performance. Self-esteem is not a static condition, and developing and maintaining our self-esteem is one of the most important projects we undertake.
Some people have developed their self-esteem and manage it quite naturally, but for most people, self-esteem is under-developed and not understood. Attempting to build and maintain self-esteem using popular "coddling" and phony (think undeserved praise) "building up" approaches advocated by many people today simply will not develop self-esteem and will only serve to confuse and undermine development because they are not based on reality.
The six driving factors (or pillars) that develop and maintain self-esteem are: 1) Living Consciously 2) Self-Acceptance 3) Self-Responsibility 4) Self-Assertiveness 5) Living Purposefully 6) Personal Integrity