I have learned something very important in my job as a psychotherapist. I have learned it most from the children I treat, but it's true for adults too.
We don't need the whole world to care about us, to like us, to admire or need us.
What we need most is just ONE person who believes in us and just ONE asset that makes us stand out a little from the rest of the crowd
One person: could be a parent or a teacher or a counselor or an uncle or a neighbor or a boss.
One asset: could be coloring, singing, writing, building, cooking, sports, gardening, long division, miniature golf.
This is how self esteem takes root.
I work with some very poor kids who attend some very poor schools. Some have present parents and some don't. In a way I am advocating the principle of the high school football captain: he has status among his peers just because of that one asset.
If we--you, me, our communities and countries--can look at success through this simple lens, I am convinced we would all be healthier for it.
Believe in someone. Help her/him feel good about something unique to them. One asset.
You may or may not be around to witness the bounty of your gift to that person, but I am pretty sure he or she will never forget.
It's a simple approach, really. It might just be getting a passing grade in a history class. And since I've figured it out, I've become a much better therapist and a much smarter gift giver.