Quotes from Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.



The Six Pillars of Self Esteem

"Anyone who engages in the practice of psychotherapy confronts every day the devastation wrought by the teachings of religion."

"In any culture, subculture, or family in which belief is valued above thought, and self-surrender is valued above self-expression, and conformity is valued above integrity, those who preserve their self-esteem are likely to be heroic exceptions."

"Whether one believes in a God, and whether one believes we are God's children, is irrelevant to the issue of what self-esteem requires.  Let us imagine that there is a God and that we are his/her/its children.  In this respect, then, we are all equal.  Does it follow that everyone is or should be equal in self-esteem, regardless of whether anyone lives consciously or unconsciously, responsibly or irresponsibly, honestly or dishonestly?  Earlier in this book we saw that this is impossible.  There is no way for our mind to avoid registering the choices we make in the way we operate and no way for our sense of self to remain unaffected.  If we are children of God, the question remains: What are we going to do about it?  What are we going to make of it? Will we honor our gifts or betray them?  If we betray ourselves and our
 powers, if we live mindlessly, purposelessly, and without integrity, can we buy our way out, can we acquire self-esteem, by claiming to be God's relatives?  Do we imagine we can thus relieve ourselves of personal responsibility?

"If, in any culture, children are taught, ´We are all equally unworthy in the sight of God´ -

"If, in any culture, children are taught, ´You are born in sin and are sinful by nature´ -

"If children are given a message that amounts to ´Don't think, don't question, *believe*´ -

"If children are given a message that amounts to ´Who are you to place your mind above that of the priest, the minister, the rabbi?´ -

"If children are told, ´If you have value it is not because of anything you have done or could ever do, it is only because God loves you´ -

"If children are told, ´Submission to what you cannot understand is the beginning of morality´ -

"If children are instructed, ´Do not be "willful", self-assertiveness is the sin of pride´ -

"If children are instructed, ´Never think that you belong to yourself´ -

"If children are informed, ´In any clash between your judgement and that of your religious authorities, it is your authorities you must believe´, -

"If children are informed, ´Self-sacrifice is the foremost virtue and the noblest duty´ -

"- then *consider what will be the likely consequences for the    practice of living consciously, or the practice of self-assertiveness,    or any of the other pillars of healthy self-esteem*."


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