10 truths of having a strong sense of self.

This is a post I’ve been meaning to publish for a long time as it is a personal one for me. It’s something I am putting my focus on at this point in my life. It’s all about developing a strong sense of self. When I think of a strong sense of self, I think of emotional maturity. I see it as a strong beam of light from within me – instead of a flickering flame. Over the course of a few posts I will explore 10 truths of having and maintaining a strong sense of self. In this post I want to describe each one briefly, and in the following ones I will go into some other ones in depth with specific things we can do to achieve them! Wow, haven’t I got so much fun lined up for you 😉

What we need to develop is a strong sense of self. A powerful inner strength that resounds from somewhere deep within you.

You have a strong sense of self when:

♥ You know how to self-soothe yourself

The ability to self soothe yourself is a skill that will take you far.

In moments of conflict or emotional discomfort the emotionally primitive response would be to suddenly look to an outside person to calm you, soothe you, help you understand, console you, accept the responsibility of the matter and implement changes. We tend to lash out in anger and fear.  We make demands. We demand immediate emotional care and attention. It becomes “I don’t really care about this situation, but you better fix me and make me feel better right now!”

In that moment, when the storm is coming, you must become the calm. In the moment when your partner tells you something you were not prepared to hear, you must find your stillness. We must learn to respond but not react.

Having a strong sense does not make you exempt from experiences of disagreements, arguments and emotional pain. But a person with a strong sense of self would react differently.

In moments of conflict, or emotional discomfort – they would become more conscious. Those with a strong sense of self know how to console themselves and quiet themselves. They don’t try to control what’s happening – they just control themselves. They don’t depend on another persons actions (or lack thereof) to feel better about themselves.

They know specific things they can do that would help restore them to their natural balance. Things like – taking some time out for themselves, quiet contemplation, going for a long walk, leaving the battle field.

In the moments where you want to become submissive or dominating – don’t. Just become more conscious. You don’t have to submit or dominate something or someone in order to be in control.

♥ You keep promises to yourself

It is nearly impossible to maintain a strong sense of self if you still break promises to yourself. Everytime you break a promise to yourself, no matter how insignificant it may seem, it begins to eat away at your inner sense of trust and confidence. You start to lose trust in yourself.

A person with a strong sense of self rarely breaks the promises they make to themselves. They do not make commitments that they are not prepared to follow through on. They have trust and confidence in their own word. In their eyes (and in the eyes of others), they are always “the man for the job”.

♥ You make your own decisions and hold your own counsel

A person with a strong sense of self makes their own decisions. They don’t feel the incessant urge to share each and every single detail of every single problem they face in their life with everyone in the hopes that they may be advised, reassured or consoled. It isn’t because they want to keep secrets either, but simply because they know that if anyone should know what the next step to take in their life should be – it should be them! They think objectively about situations they are emotionally involved in. They use their logic and their intuition simultaneously to work through adverse circumstances.

They are the kind of people who always know what they did or said something.

♥ You have your own hobbies and interests that you pursue outside of your friends/relationship

Those with a strong sense of self exercise their creativity by getting involved in their hobbies and interests. They are brave enough to pursue hobbies that perhaps their partner or close friends are not a part of. People with a strong sense of self are usually the most interesting people because they place equal importance on exploring themselves. They don’t always stick to what is familiar. They are happy and busy people, that don’t depend on another persons involvement in order to pursue something that may interest them.

♥ You can set boundaries on other people’s demands on your time, energy and resources

When you have a strong sense of self you feel okay with saying no. You respect and value your time and energy as valuable resources that shouldn’t be given away carelessly. When you have a strong sense of self, you can objectively look at requests, make your own decisions and set boundaries kindly. You don’t expect the “requestor” to decide what a “reasonable time” for you is, or how much effort you should be putting into their project, or what proportion of your resources you should be investing. You make these decisions.

♥ You can make your own life-choices without the need for constant reassurance and approval

People with a strong sense of self make their own decisions about their life. They welcome support, information and advice, but they do not depend on reassurance and approval. They take full responsibility for their decisions and commitments.

Most importantly, when they do not get approval, they are still able to act with love and understanding and not bitterness or revenge (trying to prove that they were right).

♥ You act authentically, not how you “think” you should act

When you have a strong sense of self – you must be authentic and leave your “strong sense of ego” behind. Being “right” is not as important to these people, as it is for them to be real. In all of their interactions and reactions to what life gives them, they respond authentically and truly to themselves. They are unafraid to leave behind the “norms” that society has  placed on them. They won’t be sad about something just because they think that’s what they should be feeling. They feel what they want to feel. They are true to themselves, making decisions and acting in a more natural way – rather than submitting to a role that we place on them. They are not afraid of their own emotions. They know that every time you make an effort to respond or react in a way that is “unnatural” for you, it just adds another façade or act that you must maintain – which takes more effort than what it’s worth – because in the end, we tend to go back to what is natural.

♥ You remain a leader of yourself no matter where your followers go

I once read that “Management want authority. Leaders take responsibility”. When you have a strong sense of self, you are by default a leader, because no matter what happens or your number of followers – you will always be a leader of yourself. Because of this fundamental belief system – these people are always on their game. They must maintain their leader qualities no matter where their flock of sheep goes. Their sense of self responsibility is not dependent on numbers or statistics about who is listening. They understand the natural and sometimes fickle nature of followers and trends – that people come and go, that numbers rise and wane, that emotions ebb and flow – and that it should not be a marker or a determiner of staying a true leader to yourself.

A person with a strong sense of self continues to live by example even when no one is watching.

♥ You take full responsibility for your life

When you have a strong sense of self, you just can’t see the point in not taking full responsibility for yourself. From a common-sense standpoint –it just doesn’t make sense not to do it. By “full responsibility” I mean more than just the airy-fairy concept that usually springs to mind. When you hold your own counsel, keep your promises, and make your own decisions – you automatically start to take responsibility for your life. When you have a strong sense of self, you give up blaming people, and start looking at your own motives and actions. You see failures not as a failures but as opportunities for growth. When someone asks them the question “what went wrong?!?! How did it end up like this?” they will always have an answer that does not involve placing the blame on someone or something else.

♥ You know yourself enough to be able to decide how true an insult is

When you have a strong sense of self you realize that you do not always have to automatically and unconsciously react to criticism with hurt, fear or defensiveness. You will realize that you are the one who interprets every thing that is thrown your way as something belittling. People with a strong sense of self are more aware and accepting or the way they are. They are familiar with who they are. Nothing you tell them would be much of a surprise, and if it was, they have the emotional maturity to consider it without defensiveness. When you have a strong sense of self you do not depend on other peoples words to define who you are and leave the highs of feeling complimented and the lows of being criticized.  When you resign from this job you are left with the confidence to judge the accuracy of these statements made about you, for yourself.


Done! Whew!

Just a friendly reminder that Mercury is in retrograde from the 25th of November to the 14th of Devember 2011. If you don’t know much about the mercury retrograde you can read more about it here.  Although we can all be affected by the changes in this planet’s course, this may affect mostly all you geminis and virgos out there as it is your ruling planet!

Stay well.



  1. Hi, I got to say that I really loved everything you were saying here. Some of the points were just like me, and some were not. Of course!! =) But if I were the perfect person, no-one is perfect, I would fulfill all the 10 points. Would it be OK to link your page from my blogg?? wanna recommend everyone to read this. (even if I do not have many followers) =)

    1. Thank you Sabine! I would love for you to link this post on your blog, thank you for considering it! xxxxx

    2. I may say when you act this way what others see in you they fear in themselfs and blame you first it’s always a reversed contradiction strength and understanding is less then another’s view point to you naturally of the serval of the finest being your the strongest becuase your unhibited by others they just want to brake you down to there level so they don’t feel alone

      1. Yes that is true but when you have a good sense of self you don’t care because how you act, think and react is all up to you. At the end of the day we must do what’s right for us and what makes us happy.

  2. Nice post.Some of the points you mentioned here resembles some characteristics of me, and other ones are which I used to avoid alot, like the “you keep promises to yourself”, I mostly fail to do that because I’m kind of afraid what the outcome would be.I always give more importance to others than my I give for self.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, love you malavika 🙂

  3. great post. I would however add one thing: the ability to forgive yourself. Learn your lesson, sit with the feelings for a while, then move on.

    Wonderful things to think about! Thanks for taking such an effort to write all this.

  4. Another excellent article, thanks! You always make these concepts sound so simple and self-evident. I may link your article in my next post (coming up tomorrow), it will be called: Enjoying My own Company 🙂

    1. Thank you cecile. I’m glad you like the way I structure my posts on various concepts. I like to make things as simple as possible. Otherwise, I’d never have even have a chance 😛 I will read your blog!

    1. Well if you seek inner peace and the light withing you will eventually achieve all those qualities and more.

    1. It was something I was going through at the time, and admittedly still am. So it was a topic I often thought about. As I think about it more, and understand new concepts, I can add them to this list. It is by no means complete. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. I especially appreciate the last part about leaving behind compliments and criticism. I have seen this happen to so many people. At first they create something special and the world falls in love with them and their creation, but then if the world falls out of love for whatever reason they suddenly turn against.

    1. Thank you for reading, Erica. I went to have a look around your blog and read your about me section. I couldn’t find a place to comment there, but I wanted to let you know that it was very beautifully written!

  6. I’m striving towards developing a strong sense of self. This article is what I needed to help guide me in the right path. Thank you.

  7. Hi Malavika! Such a wonderful post that I needed to read right now. Can you recommend any books on this topic? This is an area I truly need to focus on this year.

    1. Hi Meg,

      Hmm I am not sure what books to recommend on this topic. At the time of writing this, this was something I really needed more information on, but I didn’t find anything, so I decided to write something myself. There must be something out there though! Have you googled it?

      I personally think that if you continue to follow the spiritual path – it strengthens your character, and naturally your strength of self will develop. This is what has worked for me. What do you think?

      1. “Follow the spiritual path”… that has such negative connotations for me due to how I was raised in Christianity. How do you define that? Any suggestions for exploring that area?

        1. That makes sense and I think people have different definitions of what this means.

          For me personally, following the spiritual path is not about searching for “God” or even following any specific religion (if you don’t want to). To me, it means to gain mastery over all levels of our being. To live a peaceful and joyful life. To cultivate compassion for every living being. To fulfill our dharma.

          These things can be achieved by living in a conscious way. There are certain tools that we can use to help us achieve these things such as yoga, meditation (this is from my own personal experience). There are many other tools too, basically all of life is a tool for us to help us achieve these things.

          But there are no rules to this thing. It isn’t a trend that you need to follow. It’s an inner process of unravelling and realizing yourself. If you live a wonderful, beautiful life – that is more than enough.

          So the question is “am I living a wonderful life? Is my life beautiful?”

          And if the answer is “no” or “not yet”….that is where the path begins.

          This is what I mean when I talk about the spiritual path.

      2. Yes, I agree. I have developed all those qualities over the years and I realized that I was always following my Spiritual Path that is still continuing to reveal itself to me. The only difference is that I am now aware that how I think and act has a great impact on my well being. I was raised Catholic but in the Spiritual Path there is the Creator and that could represent whatever God you want it to be. How does being in this path make you feel? Do you feel happier and healthier? If your body and mind are telling you that this feels amazing then you are in the right path. The only path you can follow is your own because we all have different experiences and ways of interpreting our struggles so follow your own inner guide.

  8. I really needed to read this in my own life. Thank you so much for this.. I’ve never known what people meant when they tell me to raise my self esteem or have a strong sense of self. What did that look like inside of a person? How would they act? I needed specifics to understand and the list you gave helped answer just that!!

    I’m gonna work hard so i can have each of these values for a stromger self, thanks again!

    1. I feel you, Taro. I felt the same way when I heard that phrase too. That is what inspired me to reflect on it and come up with these points. I’m so glad that you found something valuable here. I wish you the very best in your journey. Enjoy it.

    2. I naturally seek qualities in people that I would like to have and then spend sometime with those people to gain insight. I see their education, how they handle issues, what kind of life do they lead and so on. So basically hangout with people who are like minded. That will help you grow and evolve into your higher self.

  9. I really enjoyed reading the post. It re-enforced that I was on the right path. I have managed to achieve most of the qualities that you mentioned. I say most because everyday is a new learning experince that I can grow from. I’m in a special place in life because I can see how all the struggles that I been through have changed me and brought me to this understanding.

  10. An astounding revelation to one who has the lowest of the low self esteem.Near to tears- thank you so much from a 70 plus admirer.

  11. There is a great expression, “Don’t bleed around sharks.” Keeping one’s own counsel allows you to hold sacred and close those things that others would ridicule.

  12. Beautiful post! I think you did a wonderful job touching on some key points. We are not always aware of even having a sense of self- let alone developing a strong self. Who am I when you are no longer telling me who I am? Looking forward to reading more as you go in depth with each point. Blessings!

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