How Well Do You Know Your SELF?
An Exploration of What's Inside
Many categories of self have common characteristics, and
there is value in exploring them. By understanding their distinctiveness,
we may gain a clearer picture of how each of us fits into
Self-Esteem - Also known as self-worth, a person's self-esteem
is forged during the first seven or eight years of life. By
then the mind has created the critical faculty (also known
as the critical factor) to filter incoming messages, thus
protecting the impressionable and immature subconscious. Until
that is in place, absolutely everything a child hears, sees,
and experiences will fashion a core belief that could be a
If, during this critical period, a child consistently hears,
"You are so disorganized, you'll never amount to anything,"
or similar judgmental put-downs, there is a strong possibility
that the person will experience self-sabotage in later life.
In transactional analysis, the core belief is known as the
parent and it relentlessly directs behavior. Low self-esteem
is created in an atmosphere of conditional love, and subsequently
reinforced through negative self-talk. Unfortunately, contrary
evidence is usually disregarded.
Some people endeavor to bolster their self-esteem through
external elements, like marriage, alliance with others, and
even the accumulation of money, titles, and degrees. While
surrounding oneself with positive people has its benefits,
it is problematic to define the self through external trappings.
Although it is a good thing to be proud of accomplishments,
it is essential for people to make a clear distinction between
their identities and their accomplishments.
All other "selves" emanate from self-esteem, that is, they
take cues from the quality of the self-esteem. A fragile self-esteem
will spawn weakness. A sound self-esteem, built in an environment
of unconditional love, will sponsor resilient self-identities.
Self-awareness is the ability to reflect on our thought processes.
We can become aware of many signals received from our bodies.
We are not our feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and moods. These
are simply processes that we experience and are not a "part"
of our essence. We are able to objectively scrutinize the
way we see ourselves. This social mirror of our place within
humankind allows us to evaluate the roles of nature and nurture
in our own attitudes and behaviors.
Self-acceptance is the coming to terms with who we are right
now, just as we are, with all our faults, weaknesses, and
errors, as well as our assets and strengths. It is important
to appreciate that the negatives belong to us; they are not
us. Recognition of shortcomings is a healthy first step in
personal growth. The actual self is necessarily imperfect
and dynamically striving for improvement. It is always a work-in-progress.
Blatantly professing to be perfect produces great mental strain.
Self-honesty is being in touch with one's own basic human
instincts for justice and fairness for self and others. It
means being aware of rationalizations used to counter our
conscience and other internal signals. It means ridding oneself
of the need to appraise self-worth in external terms. It also
means assessing one's strengths and weaknesses realistically.
Self-image is a custom-built collage fabricated from how we
think others see us. We tend to draw conclusions about ourselves
based on how we are treated. Psychologists generally agree
that people underrate themselves. An inner sense of mastery
and competence is developed only when we focus on our inner
core of personal vitality and creativity rather than on seemingly
Negative feedback can be constructive in helping us get back
on course; however, when we obsess about what others think,
we relentlessly and consciously monitor every act, word, and
manner. This creates inhibited, self-conscious perfectionists.
Traditionally, when employees demonstrated loyalty and hard
work, they had an expectation of job security, regular pay
increases, and promotions. Now, in many work locations, uncertainty
and stress prevail. Habitual feelings of injustice lead to
the victim mode of resentment and self-pity, thus lowering
self-image and self-esteem.
Self-mastery is the knowledge about how to manage oneself
on a daily basis so as to maximize accomplishment. Remember
the old saying, "By failing to plan, people plan to fail."
Setting goals that are specific, timely, achievable, measurable,
accountable, and realistic, and which demand just a slight
stretch, have the likelihood of being reached, if combined
with passion and action.
One constant in life is change. How we manage change depends
on our experience and mind-set. An unpleasant encounter may
subconsciously program us to either shy away from, or preferably,
relish a new challenge. It all depends on how we perceive
the original event. Some of my clients are "stuck" in their
jobs, their relationships, or their lives in general. By remaining
in their comfort zone, they are denying themselves opportunities
to live at their full capacity. Self-mastery is knowing when
to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities, when
to hold on to beliefs that serve you, and when to let go of
beliefs that do not serve you.
Self-efficacy is the context-specific assessment of belief
in our personal capabilities to organize and execute what
is required so as to achieve the intended goal. It is concerned
not with the skills we have, but rather with our control over
our own level of functioning. People with high self-efficacy
choose more demanding tasks. They set higher goals, put in
more effort, and persist longer than those who are low in
Self-efficacy grows through personal and vicarious experience,
discipline, and valid feedback. Although usually considered
in a single context, there may also be a generalized effect
reflecting a person's abilities across a broad array of difficult
or novel situations. For instance, if someone is loved by
a supportive family on the home front, then that person will
display a greater confidence on the job. This will be reflected
by peer and management feedback, which will, in turn, show
up on the home front, perpetuating the cycle.
Self-confidence is an external manifestation of the health
of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-mastery. Although
it reflects the strength of these selves, it can be purposefully
overridden to become a facade that we deliberately create
for external scrutiny. I had a client who was a television
actor. He once told me that actors often don't know where
their next job is coming from. They may seem to possess a
great deal of self-confidence, but often it hides a shaky
If it is merely bravado, it is shallow. On the other hand,
the technique of "act-as-if" can have a positive effect on
the subconscious, since it cannot differentiate between something
real and something vividly imagined.
Self-love is the regard you have for your own happiness. It
parallels unconditional love inasmuch as, no matter what you
do, you nurture yourself by giving yourself permission to
take pleasure in whatever life has to offer. In the therapy
of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), we use the phrase, "I
deeply and completely love and accept myself."
Self-actualization is the realization of one's full potential
through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp
and appreciation of this world.
There were three brick-layers at work.
Each of them was asked in turn, "What are you doing?"
The first brick-layer answered, "I'm laying bricks."
The second answered, "My job... to support my family."
And the third bricklayer smiled and said, "Me? Why, I'm building
the world's most magnificent cathedral."
International speaker Dr. Brian E. Walsh is the author of
the bestseller Unleashing Your Brilliance and has also co-authored
with John Gray and Jack Canfield the self-help book, 101 Great
Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 2. Visit Author's
Article Source: http://www.upublish.info
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