Sense of Self

Discovering your sense of self is one of the most important aspects of life. It’s become all too common to base one’s sense of self on the ideas of what others want them to be.

This is partially a result of predisposed conditioning. We’re taught from a young age how to behave and who we should be, for better or worse. But it’s also easier that way.

It’s easier to base who you are on what others already perceive you to be. You’re able to continue living the way you always have, with no exterior inclination to change.

People have an idea of who you are based on who you’ve been, so why break the cycle? It’s simple to take the path of least resistance and continue carrying yourself based on prior behavior.

The Dilemma

The dilemma with this approach to life is the inherent stagnation it causes. Doing what you’ve always done may be easier, but it eliminates an opportunity for personal growth. This transcends the principle of sense of self, as the path of least resistance will almost always inhibit progress.

Many prefer the option of abiding by the path of least resistance. And understandably so. Finding a sense of self means you have to spend time with yourself. It means you have to analyze who you are objectively, and that can be a tough pill to swallow.

Every person that has ever lived has experienced their fair share of flaws and shortcomings. The strange thing is, we all have a propensity to view our problems as if we’re the only ones who have faced them. Everyone has done it at one point or another.

We succumb to the weight of misfortune under the guise that it’s somehow a unique circumstance. Maybe this is a subconscious instinct. Regardless, it ends up making the situation worse by causing that weight of misfortune to intensify.

Analyze Objectively

Once you’ve identified your imperfections, take the time to analyze them objectively. This is no easy feat either. Knowing something exists and taking the time to understand something are two very different things.

To add to the challenge, analyzing yourself objectively takes an incredible amount of discipline. Because it’s you, and why would you want to criticize yourself?

The ‘why’ behind that question can be answered in one word.


Facing the flaws you possess is the only way you will ever grow. Your friends don’t have to answer to your flaws, so they’re not going to do it for you. Your significant other might be able to help you, but that will only get you so far. The objective reflection of who you are has to come from within.

But the challenge doesn’t end there. At this point you’ve identified your flaws, and even took the time to analyze them. The next step is what it will take for you to move forward, fully aware of and okay with who you are.


Accepting who you are is the difference between being true to yourself and being who others want you to be. There’s no secret code or fast track to accomplishing this step of the process.

And there’s nothing anyone else can do or say that’s going to make you accept who you are. Again, this has to come from within. That may not be the answer you were hoping to hear, but it’s the truth.

You are the only one that has to wake up every day, no matter what, and face the reality of who you are.

Learning to accept the entirety of who you are will not be easy. You may love some things about yourself but avoid other, less desirable aspects. Face that discomfort head-on.

It will be a constant battle of testing your self imposed limits and having the fortitude to challenge your instinct. But it is possible. It’s possible if you believe it’s possible. You’re only as limited as you allow yourself to be.

The other side

As you progress, you will start to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Your thoughts and opinions will become clearer and more complete. You will begin reacting less, and responding more. You will start to feel more comfortable in your own skin.

The captivating thing about the light you see at the end of the tunnel is that you never reach it. There is and always will be an aspect of your life which you can improve upon if you so choose.

This is a cause of concern for some, and oftentimes why people never start in the first place. The thought is, “if there is no end to self-improvement, why even start?” But the answer is simple. What do you have to lose?

Realizing there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in developing your sense of self is what makes life worth living.

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