How to Develop a Strong Sense of Self

Discovering who we are and what our values are takes time and is an ever-evolving phenomenon. It is even harder in a culture where there are strong ideas about what we ‘should’ value, what we ‘should’ aspire to, even what we ‘should’ look like.

Then add to this our family of origin, with their expectations, ideas, traditions, values, beliefs and hope for us, it’s a lot!

One of our developmental tasks is to differentiate from our family of origin. This involves reflecting on their values and ways of being in the world to see if they feel congruent with our inner being. If your family have a strong vision of who you ‘should’ become, there will be a period of assessing if this is what YOU want, that could be difficult for you and your family.

I started to differentiate strongly from my family at 12. I remember suddenly fundamentally disagreeing with some aspects of their world view. I felt our basic values were aligned, but there were attitudes that felt incongruent with me.

It is normal through the teenage years to experiment with different ways of being in the world. To ‘try on’ being the ‘good girl’, the ‘goth’, the ‘rebel’, to see what fits. This is normal and healthy. It helps us discover what intuitively FEELS most aligned with our true self at that time. We hope to leave this phase with a more robust sense of self.

As adults we are also constantly rediscovering ourselves. Especially as we move through the milestones of marriage and parenting. Taking the time to continually rediscover yourself as the most important person in your life, as the most interesting person to you know. It adds juice and authenticity to all your relationships.