Building Self-Esteem Through Resilience


Resiliency – thriving despite disadvantage

Recall a time in your life when you experienced some type of adversity or traumatic event. A break-up with someone you really cared about, perhaps, or the loss of a job or a loved one.  How did you cope?  Now imagine how much better you could have handled yourself in a bad situation if you were equipped with the proper coping strategies to not only help you get through the situation, but come out all the better for it.  Today is the day you can take charge of your life and learn how to make this thought a reality.

In my last post, Improving Self-Esteem, I established that one of the ways to increase one’s self-esteem is through developing resiliency.  Resilience is based on qualities that help individuals cope, adapt, and even thrive in adverse or traumatic situations (Miller & Daniel, 2007).  Resiliency is a process as well as an outcome and involves an individual’s capacity to navigate to available resources (Miller & Daniel, 2007).  Capacity is a word you may notice I mention often, and for good reason.  Just because you do not currently have a skill or trait does not mean you cannot develop it.  Thankfully, you have the capacity to learn and develop new skills to improve yourself to become more effective and successful.

Speaking of being effective, Miller and Daniel (2007) explain that self-esteem is two-dimensional; on one hand there is the sense of self worth – the belief in oneself as being worthy of happiness, care, and respect from others, and on the other hand there is self-efficacy – the belief in oneself as being competent to handle the challenges he or she faces in life.  These two concepts are very much interrelated as one contributes to the other in a bi-directional relationship.  When we do not feel that we are worthy of happiness, we are less likely to do what is necessary to attain happiness.  When we are unable to attain happiness for ourselves, we begin to feel like we don’t deserve it.

So what contributes to resiliency in the first place?  According to Miller and Daniel (2007), external (extrinsic) factors that contribute to resiliency include, “[having] at least one secure attachment relationship, access to wider supports such as extended family and friends, and positive… experiences” (p. 606).  Internal (intrinsic) factors that contribute to resiliency include, “a sense of security where the [individual] feels loved, a healthy self-esteem and a sense of agency or self-efficacy” (Miller & Daniel, 2007, p. 606).  Again, we see the bi-directional relationship where one contributes to the other!

Building Resiliency
To build resiliency when you feel as though you do not already have it can be done in a variety of ways.  Daniel and Wassell (2005) list six domains of resilience: a secure base, education, friendships, talents and interests, positive values, and social competencies.  Miller and Daniel (2007) explain that several ways to nurture resilience include encouragement for achievement, support and guidance from others, opportunities to develop skills and interests, and opportunities to develop social competencies.  Miller and Daniel (2007) report that resilience-building approaches focus on identifying the individual’s strengths and nurturing those strengths (as done in professional life-coaching) and building a supportive network for the individual.  Obviously, a life-coach is a great start to building a supportive network as well!  This is also supportive of maintaining an environment that enhances an individual’s sense of self-worth.

Set Your Goals
I challenge you today to explore your own capacity for developing resiliency and self-esteem.   Contact me today for a FREE consultation to look at your own strengths and ways to develop resilience and get started on living a better life.

See also my Self-Esteem 3 Month Transformational Coaching Program!

Self-Esteem Support Groups
I offer on-line self-esteem support groups for those who would like to benefit from the support and experience learning new techniques and strategies along with others in similar situations as you.  Find out more at


Daniel, B. and Wassell, (2005) Resilience: A Framework for Positive Practice.
Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Education Department. Available: http://

Miller, D. & Daniel, B. (2007). Competent to cope, worthy of happiness?: How the duality of self-esteem can inform a resilience-based classroom environment. School Psychology International, 28(5), 605-622.

About Nicole R. Locker

Nicole R. Locker is a strong, empowered woman writing about strong, empowered women (and the hunky Heroes brave enough to take them on). She's an avid lover of pit bull softies, Irish accents, and audiobooks. She lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her nephew and three dogs. Find her at
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