Feeling Good By Doing Good: A Guide to Authentic Self-Esteem and Well-Being

By Christopher J. Mruk, Ph.D., Oxford University Press

Recent years have seen a surprising shift concerning the concept of self-esteem. For example, some researchers attacked the notion as being of little value or too difficult to study. Educators emphasized self-esteem's importance in schools to the extent that sometimes it became more important than academic performance. And a parade of overly-simple and ineffective self-help books promote the importance of self-esteem but seldom deliver real change.

Coming to the defense of self-esteem as a valuable and measurable component of good mental health, Feeling Good by Doing Good offers a new evidence-based approach to defining, understanding, and increasing what is known as "authentic self-esteem." Translating decades of research in the fields of self-esteem, humanistic psychology, positive psychology, and psychotherapy into everyday terms, Christopher Mruk traces the definition of self-esteem back to when it was first used to describe the value of "doing that which is both just and right." Seen this way, self-esteem is not just feeling good about oneself - rather, it comes from facing life's challenges in ways that demonstrate one's competence and worth as a person.

This approach to self-esteem offers several new and powerful advantages. They include understanding different types of self-esteem, clarifying the connection between self-esteem and self-control, appreciating how self-esteem operates in various domains of life such as work or relationships, realizing that self-esteem acts as an internal compass to help steer us in healthier directions, and recognizing the connection between authentic self-esteem and basic human values. Featuring clinical and everyday vignettes, practical exercises aimed at enhancing personal as well as interpersonal well-being, and thought-provoking self-assessments for the reader, Feeling Good by Doing Good is a unique resource that will be of interest to mental health professionals, their clients, and laypersons alike interested in substance over platitudes and feel-good solutions.


"Chris Mruk has helped bring coherence to the far-flung world of self-esteem research for more than 30 years. This very clear, engaging book takes insights drawn from Mruk's decades of research and applies them to everyday life. Full of examples to bring complex issues to life and exercises to apply these issues to our own lives and those of our clients, this book identifies practical paths to building genuine self-esteem and emotional well-being. This is a great resource for the general public and professionals alike." --Edward O'Brien, Professor Psychology, Marywood University

"Feeling Good by Doing Good by Dr. Chris Mruk is a unique, surprisingly comprehensive, and very readable guide to increasing self-esteem and enhancing personal as well as interpersonal well-being. The book brings together new work in the fields of self-esteem and positive psychology and shows how to use this valuable information in everyday life, including relationships. The material is written in everyday language, includes several diagrams and illustrations, and most of all offers 10 activities to illustrate points demonstrating how it is possible to increase authentic self-esteem both personally and in our relationships with others." --Mary Ann Salotti, PhD, Psychologist

Click here to go to the publisher's web site for further information.

Background Page

Table of Contents for Book

Dr. Mruk's Home Page