Being kind to yourself, seeing your self as having normal human imperfections and being mindfully aware form the basis of self compassion. Self compassion is a much more helpful quality to develop than self esteem.
Self esteem development programs have been spectacularly unsuccessful. Moreover high self esteem is not necessarily a positive quality. A person can cultivate high self esteem by deluding themselves about their abilities and by being disdainful of others – hardly desirable qualities. In fact the emphasis on self esteem has been attributed as a significant contributing factor to the recent narcissism epidemic in Western countries.
In contrast sef compassion makes it easier for us to be honest with ourselves and to treat others well. Kristin Neff is a psychologist from Texas who has been researching self compassion for a number of years. She has written a very readable book on the subject.
It has the lovely title:
“Stop Beating up on Yourself and Leave Insecurity Behind – Self Compassion.”
Her website is http://www.self-compassion.org