How do I gain a better sense of self?

I often feel as if I am putting others’ needs and thoughts ahead of my own. When it comes to deciding things for myself I’m not sure if my feelings are my own.
Asked by Momo
Answered
12/06/2021

How does one gain a better sense of self?  I understand that you are feeling like decisions of others are put before your own or you are accepting others' needs over your own and don't have clarity in regards to knowing if your feelings are your own.  There are several ways to gain a better sense of self, basically you will need to get to know yourself better and learn to be more in tune with your emotions and feelings.  There are several ways to do this.  These are some questions to help you get started on your self discovery journey.  What defines you?  What are your roles in life?  How do you perceive yourself?  How do others perceive you?  What is your purpose?  What are your goals?  How do you see yourself in one year, five years, ten years?  What are your most important values?  How have those values that you hold most important shown through in your decision making?  What helps you get through difficult times?  What experiences in your lifetime have made the most impact?  How do you feel when you are not sure that you are in control of your own decisions?  Perhaps one of the more important things to know about yourself is what is your belief system or moral code?  Do you live by these guiding principles or have you adopted those of the other people around you?  It is important to know what you stand for, what you believe in to define your sense of self.  Once you understand and can identify how you perceive yourself in this world, you may be in a better position to identify when you are putting the needs and thoughts of others above your own.  When you are more comfortable with who you are, and what you stand for, it may be easier to know when you are thinking for yourself or adopting the values, beliefs, and moral codes of others.  You may also find great satisfaction in identifying yourself as a person separate from those who surround you and knowing what you want rather than wondering if your decisions are based on others.  It may also be useful for you to keep track of how often you agree to things that you later regret or leave you wondering if you made a decision that was in your best interest.  You will find that others may value you more as an individual with your own self expression, thoughts, and needs as you will be able to offer more to relationships.  When you are not meeting your own individual needs, you will have less capacity to meet the needs of others.    

(LPC, NCC, SAC-IT)