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Your sense of self is your knowledge and awareness of who you are. It requires a level of consciousness that predicates honesty (to yourself and others), about what you believe in, ascribe to, value, and uphold.

Sense of self also implies personal growth and evolution. To develop a healthy sense of self requires ongoing introspection, self-awareness, and self-responsibility. Out of your heightened awareness, comes the potential for growth and self-improvement. You begin to take a hard look at those qualities that you are less happy about and say, "I want to change that about myself."

Knowing yourself well impacts self-esteem and self-worth. Having a strong sense of self means that you feel an authentic inner happiness that comes from feeling good about who you are. Knowing yourself intimately builds confidence to be honest with yourself and others - what I call "living in your truth". It's far easier to make conscious choices in line with what will make you happiest when you first know what makes you happy.

Each one of us can benefit from developing a better sense of self. It begins simply enough by learning how to connect within and acknowledge all that you currently are. This means being self observant and reflective especially at times when you find yourself in conflict with someone, or if you have behaved in a way that you are less than proud of. Most people actually avoid focusing inward. Instead they make excuses in their mind, justifying their actions and pointing blame at others in order to keep them from admitting any fault. While it is difficult to shine the flashlight on your own flaws and weaknesses, doing so is how you come to see yourself honestly, and from there, you are compelled to make important changes. To change because of your conscious effort (and commitment to do so) creates an immense degree of self-satisfaction and build's your confidence in other areas of personal growth.

Below are 5 strategies for developing a positive sense of self:

  • Practice self-honesty. It's a lot like the old adage, "you can't fix a problem unless you know what the problem is." You can't expect to develop a better sense of who you are unless you are willing to be completely honest about who you are presently. Out of self-honesty comes knowledge and the ability to create positive intentions for improvement.
  • List your positive qualities. What do you feel most proud of? What do you appreciate most about yourself? Some examples of positive qualities include: being a good listener, your ability to make others laugh, being a loyal friend, and working hard at everything you do.
  • Create a self-improvement list. Be honest about what you need to change and then create the specific action steps for how you might go about improving each aspect you noted. Carry out each action step as what is necessary for you to achieve any of the changes you are seeking. Know that action steps act as a plan for you to follow toward your final goal.
  • Connect with your inner self. Buy a notebook and spend five minutes each day writing your thoughts and feelings. Use this exercise as a way of strengthening your relationship with your inner self. Taking the time to listen inwardly will increase your self-awareness and provide you with greater insight and wisdom. This awareness helps you know yourself better and in making choices that reflect what is right and best for you.
  • Visualize your 'future self'. Using any new information you have learned about yourself from the four exercises above will help to imagine a clear picture of your future ideal. What you think about most, you become.

Your relationship with yourself is the single most important relationship you will ever have.

Originally published on AllThingsHealing.com. Click here for the original.