What is the sense of self?
Needing to hold on to yourself may seem like a strange idea, however, people can be so focused and busy that they find their sense of self slipping away. The modern world is so busy and many people have endless to-do list tasks that they can spend a lot of time thinking, worrying and rushing – and little time just ‘being’. This can cause people to lose sense of who they are and what they enjoy doing. Alternatively, having a strong sense of self can lead to self-confidence, high self-worth and overall better emotional wellbeing. Signs that you struggle to hold on to a strong sense of yourself include:
- Lacking confidence in making decisions
- Being unsure of who you are or what characteristics define you
- Feeling as though you are a very different person depending on the situation and who you are with
- Thinking of yourself as a ‘bad’ person or struggling with low self-esteem
- Feeling as though your self-worth or sense of self is dependent upon how others see you
How to build a strong sense of self
If you find yourself rushing from task to task and spending little time on yourself you may also find our blog on self-care helpful. In order to build a strong sense of self, try the following strategies:
- Have unconditional positive regard for yourself. Children gain a stable sense of self by experiencing unconditional love. To mimic that in adulthood, ensure you are kind to yourself and manage your inner critic
- Learn what soothes you. Try to determine the activities that you really enjoy doing and ensure you prioritise them. It may also be helpful to establish activities that you do alone, without friends or family to build your independence
- Try to make your own decisions. Everyone needs advice from others on occasion, however, try to build your confidence in decision making by starting small. Think about small decisions that you can make alone and build up from there
- Learn to say no. Work on becoming comfortable with saying no and potentially disappointing people. In a similar way to decision making, you can start with small refusals
- Be yourself. As you build a stronger sense of self you can maintain this by ensuring you act in accordance with your own values and act in ways that reflect the person you are, or want to be
Some people find that their sense of self is so low that they don’t know who they are anymore. Sometimes a disruption to the sense of self can be related to a quarter-life crisis or midlife issues. More information on midlife issues can be found at www.drjuliehannan.com.
If you are struggling with holding on to your sense of self then it may be time to seek professional help. To find out more you can contact Dr Julie Hannan on 07530 854530 or at www.morency.co.uk.