Raising your sense of self can be difficult, but very liberating once you know how. If you’re struggling, just follow this guide so you can flourish.
Life is a very challenging, ever-changing journey, but getting to know yourself is the toughest test of all. I’ve spent years trying to figure out my sense of self and who I really am, and I am only just finally starting to become comfortable in my own skin.
It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of heartbreak, tough lessons, successes, failed attempts, broken friendships, and enlightening experiences to get here. It can be very hard to break through all the layers of who you are to get to the core, but once you’re there, you become unstoppable.
What is a sense of self?
Your sense of self is the essence of who you are as a truly unique human being. It combines your most prominent attributes, morals, needs, ethics, and emotions, to give you your own distinctive personality.
Your true sense of self cannot be replicated, nor taken away from you as it is how you perceive yourself.
Self love and acceptance are incredibly powerful tools, and once you wield them, you can take on nearly anything that is thrown at you. Without that strong grounding, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the pressures and tribulations of life.
How to raise your sense of self
Here are some of the ways in which you can unearth your deepest sense of self and learn how to make it as unbreakable as possible. It might take a little effort, but trust me, it’s worth it.
#1 Find out what your values are. Get in touch with what you believe in and what you stand up for. Your morals are really important, so once you know how you feel about things like social issues, politics, human rights, and culture you’ll know how to define yourself.
#2 Believe in yourself. This is a crucial step to creating a stronger sense of self. Believe in your abilities, your mental strength, and your instincts, and it will pay off handsomely.
Many people are too quick to dismiss how strong they actually are, but fight this feeling and you’ll soon see how capable you can become.
#3 Maintain confidence. Confidence plays a big part in how you handle certain situations, how you react to other people, and how you navigate through general life. Having unflinching, high levels of confidence not only helps you feel better about yourself, but it also commands respect in other people.
#4 Don’t fear the help of others. It can be really easy to be skeptical or weary of others if you’ve been let down before or been treated badly.
But how you interact with, and learn from, others is detrimental to developing a stronger sense of self. Don’t be afraid to let people in – they may show you a side of yourself you never knew you had.
#5 Don’t be afraid to say no. Never fear not doing something you’re not happy or comfortable with. If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable, or you’re being asked to do something that goes against your morals, don’t do it. If something contradicts all your instincts, walk away and don’t feel bad about it.
#6 Embrace the hard times. Those who have experienced the toughest times are often the strongest of people. Learning how to weather the storm and then keep going is one of the most important things you can do to determine your sense of self. Don’t forget that diamonds are forged under pressure, so keep pushing through if you want to strengthen your character.
#7 You are the best person you can be. In life we are all only given one shot at making it count, so why waste that time trying to be someone else?
Always be yourself – express yourself the way you see fit, make an impression, and show the world who you are. In most cases, people respect others who are unapologetically themselves, so be true to yourself.
#8 Learn to rely on yourself. There will always be hard times to get through, but you have to learn to stand on your own two feet. We’re all only human, so it’s inevitable that people will let you down once in awhile. So, learning to take care of yourself, or to get things done with no one else’s help, is invaluable.
#9 Never stop exploring. Get out there and see the world! Save up money, buy a plane ticket, and go travelling for a while.
Go and experience culture shock, try new things, meet new faces, push your boundaries. We are all products of our environment, so make sure to change yours every so often.
#10 Accept your flaws. Full self acceptance can take a while, but it gets a lot easier when you learn to embrace the little flaws that make you who you are.
Once you’ve mastered the art of appreciating your own imperfections it’ll make you realize that it’s okay to not be perfect and make you much more comfortable with yourself.
#11 Be forgiving of yourself. Don’t beat yourself up too much about anything. We all mess up, but that doesn’t make us any less deserving of success and self acceptance. Life doesn’t need to be taken super seriously, so relax into your mistakes and appreciate your ability to recover from failure.
#12 Mentally de-clutter. Get rid of useless things floating around in your head that hold you back from realizing who you truly are. Things like bad memories, regrets, and self-inflicted negative opinions. Stop overthinking things that don’t matter in the long run.
#13 Pick the right people. Only spend time around positive people who bring out the best version of you. If you surround yourself with encouraging people who care about you, it can only build you up.
Never waste time with people who suck the joy or positivity out of you – they’re poisonous, and will only drag you down or hold you back.
#14 Enjoy your own company. Being alone is not a bad thing, it actually means that you’re more comfortable in your own skin than most people. Practice solitude, and realize that you don’t need anyone else to prop you up or make you happy – you are good all by yourself.
#15 Step out of your comfort zone. Shake it up a bit from time to time. Get a new haircut, or try a new hobby, or take up a different form of exercise, and figure out what you like and don’t like. Try something new, because you never know if you’ll like it until you give it a go.
#16 Be attentive to what you can learn. Spend less time talking, and more time listening. Use your mind like a sponge, by staying observant and patient, and absorb all the knowledge that you can from your experiences.
#17 Stop living up to other people’s expectations. How many times have you looked for validation from your peers, friends, or family?
Even though these people are very important, they’re not on the same journey as you and they haven’t been through the same things that you have. Don’t spend your time trying to keep them happy – do what makes you happy.
#18 Do some meditation. Re-focus your mind from time to time – not all meditation involves yoga poses and crashing ocean waves.
It is a way of deeply re-focusing your mind and bringing mental and emotional clarity to yourself. Try something therapeutic that focuses all of your energies, like knitting, running, or a calming activity.
#19 Learn to walk away. There’s no point in fighting things you can’t control, so start walking away from petty arguments, or negative attitudes that dull your fire. Pick your battles wisely, and realize that not every fight has to be won in order to achieve peace of mind.
#20 Always be open to new experiences. The world is ready and waiting for you, you just need to be prepared to welcome it. Allow yourself to be open to growth, change, and personal progress, if you truly want to become more certain of who you are.
#21 Live your own story. This is possibly the most important thing that I’ve learned in my life so far. You are the main character in your own story line, so stop worrying about how you fit into other people’s’ narratives.
Live like you’re the star of your own show, and never allow yourself to just be a supporting character in someone else’s plot line. When the curtain eventually falls, all that matters is that you created the best story you could, so never compromise that for anything.
Strengthening your sense of self can be a long journey, but with time, it gets easier. One day, you’ll wake up and be so sure of yourself that you won’t ever want to be like anyone else. We are all unique and it’s a beautiful thing, so embrace it and enjoy the ride.