Healthy self esteem originates in the environment found in the: family, school, peer group, work place, and community. There are certain characteristics of your environment that need to be present in order for self esteem to be fostered and grow.
The main component of a healthy environment for self esteem is that it needs to be nurturing. It should provide unconditional warmth, love, and caring. It needs to provide the realization that other people are recognized as deserving to be nurtured, reinforced, rewarded, and bonded to.
Healthy environment for self esteem transmits messages of warmth, loving, and caring by physical touch, meeting the survival needs of food, clothing and shelter, and providing a sense of stability and order in life.
A healthy environment for self esteem should provide acceptance. It will recognize that other people see each other as worthy individuals who have a unique set of personality characteristics, skills, abilities, and competencies making them special. Acceptance enables people to develop relationships with others, yet maintain healthy boundaries of individuality within themselves.
In the healthy environment for self esteem should be good communication, everyone should be heard and responded to in a healthy way so that healthy problem solving is possible. Appropriate giving and receiving of feedback is encouraged and rewarded. Communicating at a “feelings” level is a mode of operation for these people, allowing them to be in touch with their emotions in a productive manner.
The healthy environment for self esteem must contain recognition and acceptance of people for who they are. That recognition and acceptance should not be based on the condition that they must first conform to a prescribed standard of behavior or conduct. This is unhealthy. Unconditional recognition and acceptance given in the form of support allows individuals to reach their ultimate potential.
The healthy environment for self esteem should be clearly defined and enforced limits known to individuals with no hidden tricks or manipulation. Limits set the structure for the lives of individuals, allowing clear benchmarks of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Limits enable individuals to recognize their responsibilities and to chart their course of behavior in a rational way.
Respect and latitude for individual action within the defined limits of the healthy environment for self esteem should be present as well. This encourages individuals to use their creativity, ingenuity, and imagination to be productive within the established structure. Restrictions that suppress individuality can lead to a narrow focus, with people becoming stunted and handicapped in the use of their personal skills, abilities, and resources.
Finally, healthy environment for self esteem should be bonding, which is the physical/emotional phenomenon between individuals and the others in their environment. This is necessary for the development of healthy self esteem. Bonding is forming a mutual emotional attachment between an individual and a “significant other” (parent, child, friend, lover, etc.). This involves the significant other giving unconditional love and support as well as developing an emotional link between each other.