One of the most popular words in education and in psychology is self-esteem. Sometimes I hesitate to use it because it is used so often. But, the truth is that self esteem is the most important goal we can have for ourselves, our friends and our family members. Lots of good things happen if we are feeling good about ourselves. The opposite is also true. We can send waves of destruction based on our own negative self perception. We will make many choices today about how we will act. Each will raise or lower our self esteem. Take the time to notice how you are feeling after you act. If you feel better about yourself after you do it, the action increased your self esteem. If you feel like you want to crawl into a hole, you have lowered your self-worth. Rochester’s Frederick Douglass said, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” In other words, your value is determined ultimately by you. A friend of mine told me the other day that the thing she regrets the most about her youth is that she gave away her own value to the opinions of other people. She said she let them determine, in her own mind, her worth as a person. Now, she says, she doesn’t allow anyone to decide how she feels about herself. The bottom line is: do estimable acts and you will have good self esteem.