Good Business: Helping Raise Self Esteem

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I recently became aware of a non-profit organization called The Business of Good, which seeks to help other non-profits expand their capacity “to meet the personal, economic, social, and self-esteem needs of the very poor.” What resonates for me with this group is the emphasis on self esteem.
I agree wholeheartedly with The Business of Good Founder Tim McCarthy, who says that the lack of self esteem is the source of most of the problems in our world.
It is low self esteem that prompts:

  • * suspicion of cultures that are different (which in turn leads to hatred)
  • * a desire to control those around us (for example, through domestic violence)
  • * an urge to do harm, because we were harmed in some way early in our lives, invariably by someone else who had low self-esteem
  • * a failure to pursue our potential because we believe, deep down, that we aren’t good enough – again, a message usually delivered early in life by someone who was told the same thing when they were young.

That list could go on, but the point is this: We can help break this cycle by empowering each other to recognize that we all are worthy – of respect, of opportunity, of a level playing field, and of love from fellow human beings.
One clear way to make such an impact is by volunteering, and I don’t mean just by showing up and passively handing out meals or planting trees. We make our impact – and thus can raise self-esteem – by connecting with people, by letting them know one gesture at a time that they are like us, and we are like them, regardless of personal financial circumstances.
Yes, this is one of those Big Issues and no, a small army of volunteers isn’t going to solve it overnight. But when we don’t even try we are essentially giving up. And I’m not ready to do that.
What are some actions that you can think of that can help raise self esteem? What experiences in your life have you feel particularly good – or bad – about yourself? How have those experiences shaped who you are today?