A Sense Of Self

While listening to one of Sam Harris’ meditation app episodes, my monkey mind drifted onto the subject “sense of self”. As I began reflecting on it, I imagined that such contemplation is a very introspective mental act. A sense of self being related to but not the exactly the same as consciousness.

Some biologists claim that birds, dogs, cats, and other animals are self-aware, in addition to being conscious. That is, the creature is aware of its own individual character and knowing its environment and its place in that environment. The self-awareness of non-human animals is a fascinating topic and worth investigating. This is not the subject of today’s musings, though.

Human self-awareness apparently goes beyond animal self-awareness by our sense of self. We form our sense of self through our tendency to categorize and conceptualize. My non-professional understanding of sense of self is that of one’s overall idea about the type of person one is. Someone can have an idealized sense of self if she believes she is a humble, generous, kind woman. Upon honest reflection, she may realize her shortcomings; she is not as humble, generous, nor as kind as her idealized self. Her actual sense of self takes into account her shortcomings as she conceptualizes who she really is.

My idealized self is of someone who is upbeat, creative, determined, independent, and focused. This idealized self is generally open-minded and eager to discuss “deep subjects” with others. The actual true self falls somewhat short of the ideal. I’m more introverted than I wish, yet I sometimes enjoy being in the limelight for awhile. Mostly, I’m in my element, observing from the sidelines while analyzing the social and physical world.

While having relegated much of my personal power over to authority figures and assertive peers in the past, this tendency has faded. There is more independence, hopefully without arrogance and red-headed temperament in the mix, as I work towards becoming more like my idealized self. The act of self discovery has hopefully expanded and improved my actual sense of self. My actual self seems more like the idealized self.

I see this happening with my friends and cohorts, too. They are becoming more self-confident and self-respectful as they analyze their beliefs and personal truths. They know what they stand for and whether or not it benefits the world around them and their personal goals. As individuals, they are living more authentically. Their self-awareness allows them to better face adversity and personal challenges because of their more realistic senses of self.

There’s a certain enhancement of self-confidence and self-esteem that comes about with honesty about one’s sense of self. Balancing pie in the sky thinking with the actual is a good way to go through life. Anyhow, that’s how I see it.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes psychoanalyst, social psychologist, sociologist, and philosopher, Erich Fromm. “Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Sense Of Self

  1. Many a times creativity is not true self , as people think.

  2. rkrontheroad says:

    Hi Jay,
    I have been an avid reader of your blog and connect with your essays.
    I’ve nominated you for Outstanding Blogger Award.
    I hope you can accept it and participate.
    Please check my post for the nomination rules:

  3. “There’s a certain enhancement of self-confidence and self-esteem that comes about with honesty about one’s sense of self.” Well said. I’m a more-confident-than-I -used-to-be introvert, coming to terms with my actual self and trying to define my idealized self. Thank you for this.

  4. I love this inquiry to find out who you were before and how it males you you are now, ultimately giving you to becoming you wish to begin the future.
    Great read Bluejay

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