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In his sensational book The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem Nathaniel Branden discusses:

  1. The practice of living consciously
  2. The practice of self-acceptance
  3. The practice of living self-responsibility
  4. The practice of self-assertiveness
  5. The practice of living purposefully
  6. The practice of personal integrity

In this article I summarise his chapter on living responsibly.

I need to experience a sense of control over my experience……This requires I be willing to take responsibility for my actions and the attainment of my goals. Tis means that I take responsibility for my life and well-being.

Living responsibly entails:

  • I am responsible for the achievement of my desires
  • I am responsible for my choices and actions
  • I am responsible for the level of consciousness I bring to my relationships
  • I am responsible for my behaviour with other people – coworkers, associates, customers, spouse, children, friends
  • I am responsible for how I priorates my time
  • I am responsible for the quality of my communications
  • I am responsible for my personal happiness
  • I am responsible for accepting or choosing the values by which I live
  • I am responsible for raising my self-esteem

The below sentences are powerful quotes from the chapter:


If I am unwilling to take responsibility for the attainment of my desires, they arrant really desires – they are merely daydreams

Am I fully present in my encounters with others? Am i present to what is being said?

If I live by values I have accepted or adopted passively and untiringly, it is easy to imagine that they are just “my nature”, just “who I am”, and to avoid recognising that choice is involved.

To wait passively for something to happen, that will rise my self-esteem is to sentence myself to a life of frustration.

Self-responsibility shows up as a active orientation to work (and life) rather than a passive one.

Self-responsibility is expressed through an active orientation to life. It is expressed through the understanding that no now i here on earth to spare us the necessity of independence, and through the understanding that without work, independence is impossible.


Sentence Completion Work

Sentence completion work is a deceptively simple yet powerful tool for raising self-understanding, self-esteem, and personal effectiveness.

Write six endings as fast as you can for the stem:

If I take full responsibility for my choices and actions…….

If I take responsibility for how I prioritise my time……..

If I take full responsibility for my personal happiness…….

If I were to accept that I am responsible for my happiness…….

If I take responsibility for my emotions…….

Self-responsibility to me means……..

At the thought of being responsible for my own existence…..

If I accepted responsibility for my own existence, that would mean……

If I accept 5 percent ore responsibility for the attainment of my own goals….

If I took more responsibility for the success of my relationships….

If I accept 5 percent mrore responsibility for my personal happiness……

I make myself helpless when I……

I make myself depressed when I…… 

I make myself anxious when I……

If I took more responsibility for making my self depressed/anxious/helpless……

If any of what I have been writing is true, it might be helpful if I……..

Summary – No One Is Coming

At the end of the chapter Nathaniel talks about that important moment when his patients and groups realise, ‘no one is coming’.

No one is coming to save me; no one is coming to make life right for me; no now is coming to solve my problems. If I don’t do something, nothing is going to get better.

One of his patients once said to Nathaniel, “You came”. His response was:

“Correct, but I came to say that no one is coming”