Your sense of self influences your thoughts, emotions, and actions. At the same time, a sense of self refers to a person’s self as a product of their beliefs, ideas, and perceptions.
Your personality traits, likes and dislikes, moral code, and belief system combine to define your unique identity.
A person with a strong sense of self finds it easy to understand and communicate these different aspects that form them. On the other hand, a person who finds it hard to express these characteristics tends to have a less defined sense of self.
Regardless of which camp you fall in and whether or not you take the time to think about yourself, you’re still affected. A person who knows who he is lives with a great sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.
On the other hand, a person who is not sure of his identity or self will often act in ways that are inconsistent with their true feelings and beliefs. These people may feel mixed emotions and express themselves in ways that don’t match their true intentions.
The problem doesn’t stop there. If a person believes that they cannot change their personality traits or skills, they can become discouraged about life.
That’s where negative thoughts can develop.
Try these strategies to reduce negative thoughts by clarifying your sense of self:
1. State or describe the nature of your values in detail. Values are the building blocks of a person’s identity. Some view their values as a set of universal principles that might be true for everyone. However, values are more personal.
- A person’s values come from their own family and beliefs. They may also derive from the environment in which they live, from their religious beliefs, and cultural influences. A person can have more than one set of values simultaneously.
- The goal is to describe your value system in detail. That’s the first step.
2. Determine to make your choices, not those of others. The decisions you make should mainly benefit you and your health. If you have a spouse or kids, their needs also come into the picture. But that does not mean you should neglect yourself while taking care of others.
- Take time to focus on yourself without any distractions. Choose the activities that you enjoy and are in line with your values.
- In the past, you might’ve allowed others to decide for you. Perhaps you wanted a different career path or a different partner. But you don’t have to do that now. It’s time to take control of your life.
3. Set healthy boundaries. Boundaries place limits on things that need your energy. They also help you manage your time. These resources are precious, but they don’t last forever. So, it’s essential to set and maintain your boundaries.
- You are the only one who can protect your sense of self. It requires an honest assessment of how you spend your time and energy. A person who sets healthy boundaries places importance on themselves. It causes them to respect themselves more and feel better about it.
- Healthy boundaries also help a person to sense their wants and desires. This self-awareness leads to enhanced self-confidence. When you achieve this, you are less likely to let others control your life.
4. Use affirmations and practice positive self-talk. Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself several times each day.
- The overall goal is to be more positive. That’s what will lead you to a stronger sense of self. And a stronger sense of self will help you reduce negative thoughts.
Remember to view difficulties as paths that can lead you to know yourself.
Dig deep and find out who you are. It’s time to get in touch with your identity — to give yourself a sense of self. Remember that it’s okay to fail at first but keep working on it because it will lead you to a stronger sense of self and a more fulfilling way of living.