Sense of Self

What is Sense of Self?

Having a Sense-of-Self means that you know who you are and that you are comfortable with yourself.  When you have a strong Sense-of-Self you are able to go out and face the world with confidence and the belief that you can handle the ups and downs that come with living.

What are the things that contribute to having a strong Sense-of-Self?  They are the things that make you who you are on the inside.  For example, Sense-of-Self are the things you believe in.     Sense-of-Self begins with values, beliefs and morals.  These are foundations of your personality and your behaviors that determine the way we interact with others and the word around us.  It is a blueprint.....like a gut check so that you can reflect on why you behave the way you do in different circumstances.

A Sense-of-Self is always in play----24/7---yes, even in your dreams.  The most critical times for your Sense-of-Self are in our relationships, problem-solving and decision-making.  The first relationship we have is with ourself.  Too frequently that self is prescribed by others, and most certainly when you are young.  Being the good child that you want to be, you believe what your parents and your teachers and other adults tell you about yourself.  You tend to believe their messages and mold yourself accordingly. Sometimes however, the messages you receive do not build you up and help you believe that you have abilities.  Sometimes these messages actually destroy your Sense-of-Self and you can become insecure and depressed about yourself.  You can feel as if you have no worth or that you are just not good enough.  It is critical that you and me all have an opportunity to feel valued and valuable.  A strong Sense-of-Self helps you and me to not only believe in our abilities; it helps us to help others as well.

Sense-of-Self, like a puzzle, has many different pieces or components that when fitted together make up a whole picture.  Those pieces are:

Starting here begins source from web and needs to be re-worded and integrated.

Self-Awareness: is a way for you to explore your individual personalities, value systems, beliefs, natural inclinations, and tendencies.  Because we are all different in the way we react to things, learn, and synthesize information, it’s helpful to occasionally spend time in self-reflection to gain a better insight into ourselves.
Why is self awareness important?

Self awareness is important because when you have a better understanding of yourself, you are empowered to make changes and to build on your areas of strength as well as identify areas where you would like to make improvements. Self-awareness is often a first step to goal setting.

Self-Knowledge: As humans we all have a strong desire to know who we are and what meaning life holds for us. Self-knowledge is different from knowledge of the world external to oneself.  Self-knowledge is simply a matter of understanding yourself and knowing what makes you tick. Each of us is a unique individual and not one of us is perfect because we are human beings. The perfect human being is yet to be born. The first step to achieving what you are capable of is to know about yourself - all your strengths and your weaknesses. This is about power knowledge. The more you understand your self the more powerful your self development will be.

Self-Regulation: As noted earlier, self-regulation is an integrated learning process, consisting of the development of a set of constructive behaviors that affect one's learning. These processes are planned and adapted to support the pursuit of personal goals in changing learning environments. Learners with high levels of self-regulation have good control over the attainment of their goals. Conscious self-regulation requires a student to focus on the process of how to acquire these skills.

According to Barry Zimmerman (1989), self-regulated learning involves the regulation of three general aspects of academic learning. First, self-regulation of behavior involves the active control of the various resources students have available to them, such as their time, their study environment (e.g., the place in which they study), and their use of others such as peers and faculty members to help them (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993).

Second, self-regulation of motivation and affect involves controlling and changing motivational beliefs such as self-efficacy and goal orientation, so that students can adapt to the demands of a course. In addition, students can learn how to control their emotions and affect (such as anxiety) in ways that improve their learning.

Third and finally, self-regulation of cognition involves the control of various cognitive strategies for learning, such as the use of deep processing strategies that result in better learning and performance than students showed previously (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993).

Many researchers have agreed with the importance of self-regulated learning for students at all academic levels, and remember, self-regulation can be taught, learned and controlled. In fact, Zimmerman (1989, 1990), an expert in this area, has found evidence of many different types of self-regulation that are explained later in this module.

Self-Management: Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.------Self-management is a psychological term used to describe the process of achieving personal autonomy. The goal of self-management for the developmentally disabled population is to shift supervision and control from a parent, caregiver, job coach, oremployer to the person him-/herself. A successful self-management program will allow these individuals to live and work independently within their environment. There are 3 components of self-management: 

  1. Self-Monitoring. The aim of self-monitoring is teach the person to become more aware of his/her own behavior. For those with developmental disabilities, a target behavior(s) is selected, such as aggression, making nonsense noises, and staying on task; and the person is taught to monitor when this behavior(s) occurs. One strategy is to teach the person to monitor his/her own behavior at short time intervals. At first a teacher or supervisor may remind the student every 10 or 15 minutes to observe his/her behavior. Later, a kitchen timer can be used to present an auditory signal every 10 or 15 minutes to cue the person to observe whether the target behavior occurred. An eventual goal may be to teach the person to monitor his/her behavior without a prompt. For example, after performing an undesirable behavior, he/she may become immediately aware of what he/she is doing. Such awareness may then prompt the person to stop the behavior before it escalates. Sometimes there is a reactivity effect in which the undesirable behavior decreases merely because of the process of observation.
  2. Self-Evaluation: The person determines whether or not he/she engaged in the target behavior in relation to the goals that have been set. For example, if the goal is to refrain from self-injury for 10 minutes, the person and those helping him/her can reflect over the 10-minute time period to determine if this goal was met. If it was, the person will proceed to the next stage, self-reinforcement. If not, goals may need to be revised and self-monitoring will need to take place again. In order to maximize the likelihood of success, goals should be realistic and attainable; and they should be made more challenging as the person experiences consistent success.
  3. Self-Reinforcement: Self-reinforcement refers to self-delivery of rewards for reaching the goals which were set. For example, if the goal is to refrain from aggression for 30 minutes (e.g., three 10-minute self-monitoring intervals) and if the person has met the goal, then he/she would reward him-/herself. Researchers claim that allowing a person to choose from a variety of rewards is more effective than simply making only one reward available. Initially, these rewards may be given to the person immediately, such as eating a food snack; but similar to the real world, it would be best to establish a token economy in which the person receives tokens (e.g., coins, stars) for appropriate behavior, and then exchanges them for a reward at a later time. Although tangible, external rewards are often quite effective, it would be advantageous to have the person eventually rely on internal rewards, such as knowing he/she performed well. Also, while continuous reinforcement works well when new behaviors are being established (e.g., learning not to be aggressive), the behaviors will be stronger if reinforcement becomes intermittent.

Self-Determination (self-direction):  means choice and control

Self-Esteem: Self esteem is your opinion of yourself. High self esteem is a good opinion of yourself and low self esteem is a bad opinion of yourself. Self esteem increases your confidence. If you have confidence you will respect yourself and then you can respect others, improve your relationships and become happier....this is not a selfish goal as you will contribute more and share yourself with the world and those around you.Low esteem causes depression, unhappiness, insecurity and low confidence. Other's desires may take preference over yours. Inner criticism, that nagging voice of disapproval inside you, causes you to stumble at every challenge and challenges seem impossible.

Self-Instruction: Self-instruction refers to a variety of self-regulation strategies that students can use to manage themselves as learners and direct their own behavior, including their attention (Graham, Harris, & Reid, 1992). Learning is essentially broken down into elements that contribute to success: setting goals, keeping on task, checking your work as you go, remembering to use a specific strategy, monitoring your own progress, being alert to confusion or distraction and taking corrective action, checking your answer to make sure it makes sense and that the math calculations were correctly done.

When you put all of these pieces of your SELF together, they make a beautiful picture of who you are and what you believe and how you will behave.  Your thoughts shape your feelings and your feelings shape your behaviors.  Think about the border pieces of the puzzle as your thoughts.  They hold the whole picture together.  They are the framework.  They strengthen and secure the puzzle--YOU.  Your feelings and your behaviors are all the interlocking pieces that create the final picture.  If one of your pieces feels unhappy or is thinking negative thoughts, it will be difficult to fit any shape around it.  But if you feel confident and secure about your abilities, it is easy to find other pieces of yourself that compliment and build the puzzle.  All of these selves are important pieces and components of what makes us unique and still just like each other.  We need all of these different pieces to be healthy and strong in order to complete the puzzle. (mick---this is not from the web)

It sounds like a big job.  It is.  And Dr. Deb can help you.  One of the ways that working on a puzzle is the most fun is when you work on it with other people.  Not one of us can develop a Sense-of-Self alone. We need others around us to encourage us, teach us and believe in us.  There are no secrets and there is no magic to developing a Sense-of-Self.  You may need some guidance and direction is recognizing and accepting your strengths and abilities.  You may need some encouragement to identify the things in life that are important to you.  You may need some techniques to organize and manage yourself or to make decisions and choices that will take you in the direction you want to go.  And all of that is doable with a Sens-of-Self.

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