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The Science of
the Self

WHAT DOES SCIENCE TELL US ABOUT IDENTITY? AND HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR SENSE OF SELF?

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Sense of self, self image and identity are effectively the way we perceive, describe and evaluate ourselves relative to others. 

While this state is strongly influenced by our upbringing and the people and environments around us, it can also change over time when we consciously challenge past assumed beliefs and identities and hone in on our own personal values and goals.

 

Here we dive into why a strong sense of self is an important factor in a happy and fulfilling life, how to check in on our sense of self and tips for how to boost it.

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RALPH WALDO EMERSON

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

Know Thyself

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Possessing a strong sense of self means knowing who we are, recognizing and feeling comfortable with our personality traits, preferences and values.

People who have a stronger sense of self report better emotional health and self worth and experience more fulfilling relationships and lives.

On the other hand, a poorly defined sense of self can make it hard to make choices and carry with it a general dissatisfaction with life.

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ARISTOTLE

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom

Do You Have a Strong
Sense of Self?

10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Consciously checking in with your identity can mean to greater self awareness and greater self acceptance, ultimately making it easier to navigate ups and downs.

Give yourself one point per 'yes' answer to the below questions. 

Close Up Portrait

01

Do I consider the opinions of others, but ultimately feel comfortable making the final decisions in my life?

02

Can I mostly identify my feelings, thoughts, needs and wants?

03

Am I open to others feeling or thinking differently to me?

04

Is it relatively easy for me to emphathize with other people without taking on their burdens?

05

Do I know my priorities and preferences and can I clearly express them?

06

Can I accept responsibility for the outcomes of my choices?

07

Do I enjoy and appreciate both the company of others and my alone time?

08

Can I be flexible when things don't go to plan?

09

When I see or experience injustice or unkindness, can I take a stand?

10

Do I feel ok doing things I enjoy, and do I feel deserving of self-care?

How did you score? 

 

Low (0-3):

Do you find it hard to know what you want, or indecisive when it comes time to making important choices? If you always go with the flow, or always go along with what others want, you likely aren’t living fully for yourself or in accordance with your values. An area to work on could be: what are my values? Do I live my life accordingly?

Medium (4-7):

Your sense of self is partly developed, but boosting it may depend on not only recognizing your strengths but also believing more in your capabilities. What goals are you really striving for? Do they truly reflect your dreams, or someone else's? Identifying these can tell you a lot about who you are and what you want.

 

High (8-10): 

You appear to have a healthy sense of self! With a good handle who you are and what you want, you likely feel comfortable applying this in your everyday interactions. But there's always room to grow. What helps you relax and feel at your best? Which people or activities really make life meaningful? Is there a way to incorporate more of them into your life?

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FURTHER READING

8 Powerful Ways to Grow Your

Sense of Self