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We Teach What We Are

When teachers and parents ask what they can do to help young people get off to a healthy start in life, I say, “Set a good example.” Let your respect and love be seen and felt. It works for children just as it does for all of us. Everything depends on what you believe about yourself. If you want to change your life, you have to change your self-concept. If you want to move to a higher place, you need to change your belief about what is possible for you and elevate your beliefs about yourself. Young people are forming their self-image every day—based largely on the examples of self-respect and self-esteem they see in the important people in their lives. What they believe about themselves and their lives is shaped by what they see and feel. We can make sure they see love.

Of all the beliefs that each one of us own, none is more important than the ones we have about ourselves. Our beliefs about ourselves are the single most telling factors in determining our success and happiness in life. A child’s self-image is a direct result of the kind of reinforcement he or she receives on a daily basis. Do they have the confidence that they can successfully complete any task before they attempt it? Do they feel good about the way they look? Do they feel intelligent? Do they think of themselves as worthy?

As you think the self-esteem of children, keep in mind that the barriers we erect to our own growth and happiness almost always are internal barriers. The lack of love in a person’s life is the internal fear that he or she does not deserve love. The absence of achievement is most often due to a genuine belief that one could never achieve at a high level. The absence of happiness stems from the internal sentence that “Happiness is not my destiny.”

Motivating children to have great aspirations for themselves is essentially the task of working on their self-portrait. Once you see a child’s self-image begin to improve, you will see not only gains in achievement, but even more important, you’ll see a child who is beginning to enjoy life more. You will see happier faces, more excitement, and higher expectations for themselves. The only authentic barrier to a child’s own greatness (or yours) is fear of his own greatness.

When a child grows up to love himself, to be self-confident, to have high self-esteem, and to respect himself, there are literally no obstacles to his total fulfillment as a human being. Once a strong self-portrait is in place, the opinions of others will never be able to immobilize a child. The young person who feels confident as he approaches a task will not be undone by failure, but instead will learn from it. The child who respects himself will respect others. The young person who has learned to love himself will have plenty of love to give away.

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Nancy says:

To love oneself is the key to loving others. Without loving yourself, I find it almost impossible to truly love another.

Desiree says:

Dear Wayne,
YOU may not of had an earthly father, but you have become a father to many people , THANKYOU FOR YOUR KINDNESS AND WISDOM AND CURIOSITY!! BLESS YOU , DESIREE. 🙂

Jo Anne says:

I certainly agree that we’re the strongest examples in our children’s lives and to their community of friends. I’ve watched children and teens thrive on receiving sincere respect and feedback which helps build up their self esteem. Thank you for saying it so beautifully!

Jo Anne, Author, coach

Claudio says:

Que se puede decir, expectacular como siempre. Dios lo siga bendiciendo. Un abrazo.

Kenneth says:

I have lived that life, letting the opinions of others immobilize me. Then, through reading your words, all that has changed over the past few years. I am now more like the person I want to be, setting a better example for the grandchildren I am raising. I take to heart what you teach and pass on the beauty of what you say to them.

Joshua says:

Dr. Dyer and fellow seekers of truth:

What advice might you offer someone who suffers from severe anxiety, who might have trouble being the peace they want to instill in others?


Deborah Charleston SC says:

Thank you Wayne! As someone who works part time in schools I found the ones who had difficulties were so teachable. One small compliment went a long way.Lots of compliments worked miracles. I love autistic, rebellious, or advanced. Our youth have open hearts for positive feedback- very rewarding.Blessings to you!!

Joan says:

Thanks Dr. Dyer for your great words of wisdom!!! :0)

Joy says:

Jessica, yes indeed a conversation with dr. wayne even one minute would bring so much light to your heart,soul and your dwelling place.He could spare time for you.If you wanna talk email me joy12110 at gmail dot com , I have talked to him , he is a living saint….God Bless you Dr. Dyer…Our love is with you

Denise says:

RIGHT ON TIME! I am sending this to everyone I know! Thank you Dr. Dyer for your consciousness! You are a gift!

Candice says:

Through tears, I just want to thank you for sharing your kindness. This is truly motivating since I am studying to be a Teacher along with maintaining a full-time job; raising a daugther; appreciating each day my husband came back alive from his deployment; and trying to stay happy. Comment hug to everyone being a wonderful community!

Tracy Alexandra says:

Thank you for exhisting among us & following your souls path by doing that all you encounter are inspired to do the like…again thank you…Tracy

Jessica says:

I would just like to have a conversation with Wayne Dyer. I know he must get an insane amount of mail, and millions of people must also want to meet him or talk to him, but still, I keep announcing this intention. If anyone can help me arrange that conversation, please let me know. Thanks.

ehsan says:

Dear dr dyer
I sent an email for you about my new&different book that is about a new method in success.
You introduced hay house to me and i connected it,but couldn’t recieve any answer.
Please help me to publish my book.
Thank you.

Joseph Wadas says:

So many children are starved for love and a positive self image. This is true of adults as well. How different the world would be if everyone truly loved themselves and others as children of God. Namaste!

Brian says:

There you go again, just when I needed some advice , you are there, posting exactly what I need,
Thank you Wayne,

Lee says:

This is such a powerful message Wayne. I hold your lessons and message with highest form of regard, respect and gratitude. It is so important to model to our children and to the youth of today that they can love themselves.
I am currently in training to become a Certified Safe Space Facilitator with Lisa Nichols – Motivating the Teen Spirit

Valerie Curcuro, Life Coach says:

The title says it all, truly example speaks louder than words, to teach someone else to love we first need to love ourselves, self acceptance and appreciation are key foundational pieces, and this starts with the inner dialogue, what we’re thinking about ourselves.

Raquel says:

Thank you Wayne! Your wisdom help me be a better person every day.

Penny says:

When we start with love, it all just falls into place. I reserved a book at the library. I Shall not Hate. A doctor from Gaza lost his three daughters and has chosen the path of peace. Inside the jacket he refers to the children “Their only weapons are ‘love and hope’ ” I believe we can add the heart and the peace! I love you Dr. Dyer!

Mucunda says:


Nealon Hightower, Six Simple Truths says:

So true…nothing is more beautiful than an empowered, self confident child with a powerful sense of self. Of course that variety of child can wear you out, reck your house, and make you a little crazy, but beautiful nonetheless.
Thanks again Doctor Dyer.