Portraits of Self-Esteem

Why read Portraits of Self-Esteem? Because let’s face it: it is better to feel good about yourself than down and out! So how can you feel great about yourself on a consistent basis? This great book gives you a short and to-the-point answer.

Part I: A primer to type and self-esteem

In this first part, Bonnie Golden gives you a very brief introduction to type. It is the shortest that I have seen for that matter! She explains that self-esteem is more complex than you would think. For starters, it actually has two components. The first one is competence, which is linked to your external world, and the second one, self-worth, is linked to your internal world. Competence is actually the most discussed element of the book. By being competent, she means looking for achievements that have meaning for yourself and for other people important to you. These act as tangible proofs to yourself that you can achieve results and that you are a competent person. Bonnie Golden goes on to explain that these achievements, and the sense of competence that they bring, should be found and sprinkled in five primary areas of life:
- Work
- Relationships with family, friends, co-workers
- Educational performance
- Physical self
- Emotional self
The second pillar of self-esteem is self-worth. It is linked to your internal world and is essentially the love and acceptance that you have for yourself. It was mainly communicated to you by what she calls your “primary caregivers”. Bonnie Golden seems to say that this component is formed before the age of seven and that if people have had a difficult childhood, they can have problems in this area. She does point out though that this can be improved.

In this part, and throughout the book, she also gives a real-life example: she follows the life of Phillip. Phillip has a low self-esteem as he has a job that doesn’t fit his type and suffers tremendously from breaking up with his girlfriend.

Part II: The sixteen types and self-esteem

Having laid down all the theory in the first part of the book, the author explains concretely how to use the five areas of competence and offers advice tailored to your type. It’s almost like having the author giving you your own program for self-esteem! How cool is that?! That is the part that you want to read again and again to understand what increases your self-esteem and what diminishes it.

Part III: Guidelines for enhancing self-esteem

This last part offers guidelines about applying what you have been learning as well as further tools to use. Like monitoring self-talk for example. You know, paying more attention to the little voice in your head when it tells you “That was awesome! How did you do that?!”, and teaching it to be kinder to you in other circumstances:”Ok, I understand what went wrong. Let’s try that gain!” Whilst this part is rather short, it does point out that improving your self-esteem is an on-going work and involves being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, for which type is very useful. She also encourages further reading on the topic and gives a happy ending to Phillip’s story.

The point to take home about Portraits of Self-Esteem is that it is full of great insights about feeling better about yourself and nurturing your self-esteem.

Life doesn’t have to be tough all the time! Be kind to yourself. Indulge in activities that strengthen your self-esteem. Stay clear from those diminishing it. Take the time to make good use of what makes you unique and even uniquely gifted!

I know you can :-)

Portraits of Self-Esteem
Bonnie J. Golden
Paperback: 117 pages
Publisher: Center for Applications of Psychological Type; 1 edition (June 2001)

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