The Buck of Self-Esteem Stops Here

Jeanine used to love singing in the choir. Her alto voice was as strong as ever and Rob – the choir director and also a fine bass – lead the group with an ear for pitch, blend, and rhythm.

Problem was, they were no longer together after several years of a close relationship that appeared to be headed toward something lasting. What’s more, Mirjana, his new girlfriend from Croatia, stood directly beside Jeanine in the alto section. Attractive, successful, and pitch-perfect, the new girlfriend was an up-close reminder to Jeanine that she felt minimized and disrespected. Plus Mirjana was 12 years her junior.

Several events in Jeanine’s life seemed to deflect her sense of self-esteem. She’d learned to repeatedly blame others for her own lack of honoring of herself. Jeanine had applied to join the choir’s smaller singing group. Not being chosen nor given the courtesy of an explanation, she felt at a further loss.

“Would you feel better if you’d been apologized to in both situations,” I asked her one evening as we sat watching the sunset over the western ridge.

“Yes, of course!” she replied emphatically. “Absolutely. That’s what I deserve.”

“But wouldn’t that be a frail victory? Might you feel as shaky in your self-esteem as before the apologies?”

“What do you mean?” Jeanine asked.

“I mean, aren’t you externalizing the true source of your self-respect by expecting that others can, and rightfully should, give it to you? That it’s their job to restore to you what you feel is missing?”

“Oh,” she said, her gaze wandering from the sunset. “Is it really that simple?”

“You answered your own question. How can people reflect back to you a quality that you yourself don’t believe you have?”


It’s important that we learn to esteem ourselves, especially if a lifelong habit of doing just the opposite is a part of our character resume.

Here are a few suggestions:

Let go of the past. Leave behind any lack of self-esteem that may stem from parental harshness or the sometimes-fickle friendships of earlier adolescent peers.

Re-invent yourself. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, as the oft-quoted bumper sticker affirms. What better day than today to live the life you want? Only you can make it so!

Affirm, without ego, your own greatness, goodness, and worthiness. This is no one’s job but yours. The saying that “the buck stops here” means the responsibility for these qualities is yours alone. It cannot be delegated to anyone else.

U.S. President Harry Truman coined the phrase, “the buck stops here.” By this, he meant that all presidential decisions, and the responsibility for them, were ultimately his.

Find freedom in knowing that the buck of your own self-esteem stops, and begins, with you. Or to quote another figure of speech, the ball’s in your court. The decision of how you play it – and where you place the ball of your self-esteem – is yours alone.

2 Replies to “The Buck of Self-Esteem Stops Here”

    1. Thank you for asking.

      The 2 most flower essences for self-esteem are:

      Pineapple Flower Essence, for self-assurance. This essence is also for abundance and representing to ourselves an to the world our own sense of inner prosperity, based on a generous spirit. Take for 1-2 weeks, depending on when you feel you’ve finished.

      Then comes Strawberry Flower Essence, for a great dignity of presence. A quieter and less eye-catching version of Pineapple Essence, Strawberry is about self-worth and freedom from guilt. It’s where we know grounding and that the ground won’t be pulled out from under us, even when our life experiences dictate otherwise.

      These are short summaries. You can also read a 10-page chapter on both of these flower essences online in The Essential Flower Essence Handbook.

      I hope this helps, please write if you need more information at:

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