In my capacity as an outpatient psychologist, I have worked
with people for almost twenty-five years. By far, the single
most central element, the one thing that pervades almost every
other issue is self-esteem. It touches everything-sex and
relationships, work problems, anxiety, depression, addictions;
you name it.
There are four primary elements of self-esteem. I call them
"Powers" because when we develop any one of them, we become more
personally powerful. The Four Powers of Self-Esteem are: Worth,
Competence, Ego-Strength and Self-Acceptance.
I've researched the topic, the literature and had over two
decades of experience looking into people's minds. These four
powers seem to be the default values of self-esteem. That is,
these four qualities are THE elements that make or break self-image.
These four aspects or powers also develop more or less
chronologically; meaning, worth generally is created before
competence, which generally precedes ego-strength, then follows
self-acceptance. This is not absolutely true, because some
elements of one can begin to form in conjunction with another,
but overall, this is the general progression.
I developed several techniques to deal with problem
self-esteems, but before anyone can really "undo" and "redo" the
powers, one has to understand something about their genesis and
relationships. For this, it is helpful to do a little digging,
which is where the self-esteem test helps.
Self-esteem tests need to measure each of the four powers,
minimally, and then explain how the powers fit in with each other,
then fit that interpretation in with an understanding of how
self-esteem evolved in the first place. Equally importantly,
the test results must help to resolve the "lacks" in early
environments, or traumas along the way that must have occurred to
create crummy self-images. If a self-esteem test omits one of
the powers, the interpretations is less than ideal, so great care
was taken to create at least a face-value self-esteem test to
address just these issues.
This test is embedded in an ebook about the four powers,
which also explains in detail just how we got a self-esteem in the
first place. As one might expect, self-esteem is a relatively
complex phenomenon, built up over time. In fact the term
"phenomenon" is actually a misnomer, because self-esteem is really
an "epiphenomenon." An epiphenomenon is something that emerges
out of a collection of data or experiences, that is based upon
the experiences but is not the experiences themselves. An example
is wetness in water. Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen
molecules combined. Nowhere in either hydrogen or oxygen is there
wetness. Wetness is what millions of hydrogen and oxygen atoms
create when they are combined in a certain way. Hydrogen and
oxygen are phenomena. Wetness is an epiphenomenon.
(Another example is color. Look at the color of clothing you are
wearing. The fabric is made up of zillions of atoms, none of
which have actual color. Yet we "see" color based upon how these
atoms absorb or reflect bands of light. The fabric is made up of
phenomena and the color is the epiphenomenon.)
To change the epiphenomenon of self-esteem, one has to change
the phenomena that make it up. Just as color is perceived to
change as we change the kind of materials that make up the fabric,
or the dyes used to color it, so too does self-esteem change as we
change the composition of the powers that comprise it. This is
why is it very important to understand the powers themselves, and
to have a technique that accomplishes this task.
The technique in this case is embodied in the Anchor Concept.
This is the one technique that changes bad scores on any of the
subtests for self-esteem and is the subject of another article.