Developing a sense of Self – Put Yourself First
Here are some questions anybody with a strong sense of self should know how to answer: “Who are you?”, “What is your identity?”, and “Why do you like what you like?”
Ask these questions to a random stranger on the street, and you are likely to draw many blanks (and a few odd stares!). But these are just some of the questions pertaining to your sense of self.
Yes, you — remember you? You have a self. And it’s time you two got reintroduced.
You see, so many of us go through life on autopilot, distracted by running errands, commitments, and technology. We never stop to answer the most important questions of all which are those which belong to our very selves.
Know The Self That Is You
Having a sense of identity means understanding the fact that you are more than just biology. You have desires, feelings, motivations, fears, opinions, and preferences, and all of which have been molded over the years, and all of which matter.
Yes, they are justified!
You know why?
In order words, your sense of individuality is vastly linked to how happy, stable, fulfilled, and how confidently you carry yourself.
Up until now, you have been convinced by those around you to be anybody else but you. You learned that your desires don’t matter, and you must bend over backward to please everybody but yourself.
It’s time to end all that and get back to being YOU; that beautiful, divine being that was uniquely created to thrive and not hide. That’s what I did… and my life has never been the same since.
My Lost Sense of Self
My problems started in childhood, as is the case with most people.
Nobody around me, in this case, my mother, had any idea how significant it was to enable me to express my thoughts and my opinions in complete safety and the assurance that they will be valued.
Hell, I didn’t even know that I had a self! I was completely oblivious of my weak sense of safety and the damage that was being done to it.
Don’t get me wrong; my mother loved me deeply.
However, her co-dependency and overbearing nature overshadowed my personality and shunted my weak identity to the side.
I don’t remember being asked as a child –
- What do YOU think about this, Edith?
- How do YOU feel about what happened in school today?
- What is YOUR opinion about this, Edith?
And so on.
My mother’s agendas were often set in stone, and whenever I expressed a desire that went against those views it was summarily dismissed.
Her controlling tendencies took away my chance at self discovery and self assertion.
Can there be any wonder why I struggled with a hazy sense of identity once I went out on my own into the world? I had no answers prepared for when life started asking me, “Who are you, Edith?”, “What do you want?”, and “What is the reason for it?”
Why You Avoid Prioritizing Yourself
You became convinced that your opinions are not important; that they are irrelevant; that you are responsible for other people’s well-being; that you’re nobody unless somebody loves you.
And now you carry this same belief out into the world. And let me tell ya – it’s very hard to get by when you struggle with a lack of identity.
If you are suffering from a poor sense of self, then these scenarios will seem super familiar. You:
- Rarely offer an opinion at work because, well, “I never have anything smart to say” or “why would anyone listen to me”.
- Allow your neighbor to crank the volume to the maximum and disturb your sleep, even though you are tired and need rest for work tomorrow because you are compelled to “never upset people”.
- You are afraid to disagree with your friends because “it’s ok to compromise…I’m not rigid.” Even though you are the one who has to compromise every single time.
- Bend over backward to “blend in”. You allow those around you to dictate your values, what is acceptable and what is not, because “I can’t handle when people are angry with me”.
- Spend your time justifying yourself and explaining your choices about everything from your choice of liking country music to the type of clothes you wear.
Living Like That Where People Dictate Who You Are Sucks
Trust me, I know, because I’ve lived it. Going through life catering to everybody else but yours is not an ideal life.
Establishing a strong sense of one’s self is having the ability to RESPECT and HONOR your worth, prioritizing it without apologizing for it.
Having a solid sense of “this is me” entails knowing who you are, what you stand for, and unapologetically holding to your standards when it comes to your social circle and pretty much anything else in your reality.
When you get to have the realization that you are valid, you will no longer be willing to put up with a lot of the crap you are willing to endure now.
How I Finally Developed an Acknowledgment of the Self
I made it a habit to ask myself:
- “Is this what I really wish to do right now?”
- “How does this situation make me feel?”
- “How do I feel about hanging out with this person?”
- “Do I really want to go to this party or do I merely have the automated urge to please someone?”
I still ask myself these questions today. And you know what? Every time I do it, I become more and more connected with myself!
It’s incredibly great to put myself first without feeling guilty or selfish about it.
Sure, I do have to meet in the middle from time to time with the people who are close to me. I’m not saying you should be completely insensitive to other people.
But it is nice to know that your SELF is legitimate, that you are as relevant as anybody else, and that it is time you begin acknowledging and honoring the self as you deserve.
How Your Life Will Change Once You Start Building Healthy Sense of Self
Knowing who you are comes with many benefits:
You will become more emotionally stable than you ever imagined. You will be satisfied with yourself as you are, without giving in to your past dominant urge to impress people and fit in.
Your personality will become rock solid as you begin acknowledging and respecting your core values. Over time, as you get comfortable with taking care of yourself, you will realize that who you are is good enough, and that you have nothing to prove to anyone.
You will have a firm sense of internal security. Feeling centered, grounded, and secure is more internal than external. When you take your power back and become the only authority that validates your wants – you know you can rise to any occasion even in the case where external security factors like money, relationships, and your job are no longer there.
Approach This Like a Mission
It will take consistency to get a strengthened sense of the self, but don’t stress over it. Simple, conscious efforts to ask yourself your true motivations for your actions and emotions will do the trick.
Once you start building those mental muscles, you will not be treated like you’re nobody anymore. That’s because you will see yourself as somebody, and the way you perceive yourself will reflect on the way other people see you.