The Self

Here you will find articles about the self as well as important research findings and useful or/and interesting insights on this topic.

How to Improve Self-Knowledge: 21 Books, Tests, & Questions

Improve self-knowledge

Building an accurate picture of ourselves that aligns with reality can sometimes seem out of reach. We regularly block unwanted or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, and are fraught with problems of self-reference and cognitive bias (Ananthaswamy, 2017; Wilson & Dunn, 2004). While introspection may have its limits, there are other […]

How to Boost Self-Esteem: 12 Simple Exercises & CBT Tools

Boost self-esteem

Self-judgment and self-rejection can be extremely damaging. We may find ourselves taking fewer career risks, withdrawing from social engagements, and even avoiding making new friends (McKay & Fanning, 2016). Research has shown self-esteem to be a powerful internal monitor of the degree to which our "need for social inclusion is […]

What Is Self-Knowledge in Psychology? 8 Examples & Theories

“Who am I?” A simple, yet profound question. Another provocative question is, “Why do I act the way I do?” If you’ve asked yourself similar questions, you are not alone. When we don’t know ourselves or act in ways we don’t understand or aren’t fond of, it may be a […]

Fostering Self-Forgiveness: 25 Powerful Techniques and Books


There’s nothing quite like the ominous, stomach-churning feeling you get when you realize you’ve done something wrong. It could be as simple as forgetting a loved one’s birthday, sending a hurtful text, cheating on a test, or lying to your partner. The reality is, we sometimes hurt people we love, […]

Cultivating Reflection Skills: 13 Worksheets & Journal Templates

The art of self-reflection

The art of reflection is an essential element of learning, both inside and outside therapy. While valuable for clients and students, it is equally vital for therapists, coaches, and mental health professionals. Literature across multiple disciplines confirms that reflection serves therapists by improving “learning and performance in essential competencies” (Aronson, […]

What Is Self-Sabotage? How to Help Stop the Vicious Cycle


What was your New Year’s resolution? Are you still working on it, or has it been abandoned with a mental note to try again next year? Since Babylonian times, humans have embarked on New Year’s resolutions with hope and determination to improve their lives in the upcoming year. Every year, […]

Self-Care for Therapists: 12 Strategies for Preventing Practitioner Burnout

Self-care for therapists

In the world of mental health, caring for others who are emotionally stressed or distressed may create a stressful environment for therapists themselves. It begs us to ask: who cares for the mental health carer? Dunne (2015) looks into Carl Jung’s wounded healer concept, in which the analyst must acknowledge […]

10 Self-Care Tips for Psychologists, Therapists, and Counselors

Self-care therapists

Practicing self-care may be one of the most selfless activities in which we engage. For professionals working toward others' psychological wellness, where emotional costs can be considerable, self-compassion, self-awareness, and healing are essential (Delgadillo, Saxon, & Barkham, 2018). Not only is self-care critical for the wellbeing of the therapist, counselor, or […]

Self-Leadership Assessment: 4 Questionnaires to Help Evaluate Leaders

Self-leadership assessment

Gauges, thermometers, controls, and dials – all instruments to check whether a system is working or not. But how does one monitor and report back on a concept? Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. […]

Self-Esteem Therapy: 24 Activities and Techniques for Your Practice

Self-esteem therapy

Regardless of where life takes us, we must always face ourselves. So, we might as well make our self-relationship our absolute best relationship. As Oscar Wilde wrote: "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." He had a point, and in this article, we will guide readers in developing […]

Developing Self-Leadership: Your Ultimate Coaching Guide


Follow me. I'm right behind you. Self-leadership sounds somewhat like an oxymoron. Leadership is the process of guiding or influencing others. By definition, that implies the involvement of at least two people. You can lead up, down, and sideways – but can you lead yourself? To date, self-leadership development has […]

What Is Self-Leadership? Models, Theory, and Examples

What is Self-Leadership

We are not born with an instruction booklet, but if we were, I am sure the first chapter would explain the art of self-leadership. The fact is, we all lead ourselves to some extent. How efficiently we do that determines how much we live life with purpose and intent. Yet, […]

Your Ultimate Biofeedback Therapy Toolkit [2020 Update]

Biofeedback Therapy

Life changes, while often vital to our wellbeing, can be a leap of faith. We try to become confident and less stressed, more assertive, and goal focused while improving our grip on anxiety. And yet, how do we know if it’s working? How can we be sure that the changes […]

Self-Esteem and Children: Your Ultimate Guide (incl. Activities)

Self-esteem for children

Self-esteem is crucial to children’s academic achievement, participation, engagement in activities, social relationships, and, ultimately, their sense of wellbeing. Children low in self-esteem tend to be shy and introverted, with self-imposed limitations and a fixed mindset. Those high in self-esteem are enthusiastic, active, feel a greater sense of worth, and, […]

23 Creative Self-Care Activities for Groups

self-care groups

Let’s be honest; the world today is quite chaotic. Self-care has never been more critical in an age when we have had to deal with a pandemic, raging wildfires, other environmental disasters, and political upheaval all across the globe. It may seem that self-care sounds like a vague cliche. For […]

Self-Esteem Research: 20 Most Fascinating Findings

self-esteem research

Self-esteem has fascinated psychologists for over one hundred years and is one of the most widely studied concepts in the social sciences (Bleidorn, Hufer, Kandler, Hopwood, & Riemann, 2018). However, despite ongoing research and our intuitive understanding that self-esteem is linked to feelings of self-worth, there is much we don’t […]

A Look at the Self-Care Wheel: Templates, Worksheets, and Activities

When Tess Kearns began to forget familiar faces and was only able to manage her daily activities with a to-do list – which she was continually losing – she knew that something was wrong. Thankfully, the cause was not an underlying physical condition; instead, it was behavioral. Tess was approaching […]

Increase Clients’ Self-Love With These 30 Exercises, Techniques, and Worksheets

Self-love – An essential human quality that is not narcissism, nor is it selfishness or indulgence. As Nestell Bovee said: “Both our first and last love is self-love.” Self-love is empathetic and understanding of flaws, and appreciative of the good within each of us. Self-love is not only important, but necessary […]

Self-Esteem Journals, Prompts, PDFs, and Ideas

Healthy self-esteem gives you the freedom to be YOU and fully enjoy life. When we are comfortable with who we are, we can develop more genuine relationships and seek out experiences that fulfill us. In this way, self-esteem can lead to greater levels of happiness and overall quality of life. […]

How to Practice Self-Care: 10+ Worksheets and 12 Ideas

Self-care continues to be a popular buzzword. But while it persistently grabs headlines, it also remains a fuzzy concept. Though a relatively new phenomenon in the West, self-care has a much older tradition in Eastern cultures, reaching back to antiquity. Marked by a preventive rather than reactive approach to health, […]

What Is Self-Awareness and Why Is It Important? [+5 Ways to Increase It]

Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. While it may not be possible to attain total objectivity about oneself (that’s a debate that has continued to rage throughout the history of philosophy), there are certainly degrees of self-awareness. It exists on a spectrum. […]

Applying Self-Efficacy Theory: Exercises and Tools

The beliefs a person holds around their ability to handle situations, accomplish tasks, and achieve goals can be a strong determining factor in the success of their endeavors. Low self-efficacy may prevent us from reaching our full potential; but luckily, self-efficacy is a muscle that can be built.  This article […]

How to Build Self-Acceptance: 16 Tips, Activities, & Exercises

We are all only human – beautiful but flawed creatures, simply trying to do our best. Yet we too often hold ourselves to impossibly high standards and fiercely judge our failures while overlooking our accomplishments. Self-acceptance involves taking a compassionate and more loving stance toward ourselves and accepting all parts […]

Building Self-Awareness: 16 Activities and Tools for Meaningful Change

Self-awareness is an important skill that we can cultivate to help us progress on our personal development journey, and we could all use a little more of it sometimes.  In our stressful, modern lives, it’s easy to react passively to our environment and fracture opportunities to connect. Possessing emotional intelligence […]

17 Self-Discipline Exercises to Build Your Self-Control Muscle

Every day we deal with distractions, struggle to concentrate, and do our best not to procrastinate. Whether we’re trying to study for a test, lose weight, kick a bad habit, or work toward a future goal, willpower always plays a part. So why do some people ‘stick at it’ so […]

21 Self-Image Examples and Activities to Use the Theory Today

Our self-image is all about how we see ourselves. It gives us a sense of our personality and helps gives us clarity and understanding about our life. Our self-image is also about how we perceive ourselves in terms of our life. Self-image also determines what kind of person we think […]

9 Best Self-Esteem Questionnaires (+Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale)

Stop whatever you are doing right now. On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your self-esteem? If 1 means, “I’m a complete and utter failure,” and 10 means, “I’m at the top of my game in life, love, and work," where do you fall? What you […]

What Is Self-Control Theory in Psychology?

That decadent piece of chocolate smells delicious. It makes your mouth water and stimulates a memory of the last time something so delightful touched your tongue. Yet, you choose to resist the urge to indulge in the impulse because you have a goal of cutting back on sugar. You are […]

27 Best Books to Improve Self-Esteem, Self-Worth, and Self-Image

We are living in an era of confidence and communication. From the charismatic doctor to the energetic motivational speaker or the loving and friendly teacher, at each level and each age, people are more driven toward those who come across as self-reliant and confident. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-image are all […]

21 Tools to Maximize Self-Control and Self-Regulation

Picture the scene: you’re at work, and your boss has just thrown you and your colleague a huge curveball. Your boss needs an urgent report completed right now. While you might feel a sense of panic, you know if you put your head down and work hard, you can get […]

21 Self-Determination Skills and Activities to Utilize Today

How do we move ourselves and others to act? It all hinges on motivation. People are often motivated to act by external influences, be they financial reward, prestige, advancement, or the opinions of others. Just as often, people are motivated from within, by their beliefs and personal values. While extrinsic […]

7 Most Effective Self-Esteem Tools and Activities

Your level of self-esteem has to do with how worthwhile you feel. It's different from self-confidence, which has more to do with your ability to do something successfully. Low self-esteem can keep you from enjoying your life. It can also keep you from socializing and maintaining friendships. Self-esteem is one […]

Using Self-Awareness Theory and Skills in Psychology

How self-aware are you? Asking that question, and getting you to reflect on it, is an example of self-awareness. How often do you find yourself engaging in this type of reflection? If you answered, 'not often,' then this article is perfect for you. If you responded, 'all the time!' this […]

22 Self-Actualization Tests and Tools to Apply Maslow's Theory

Throughout our lives, we go through many different journeys. As we grow older, we move away from the family home, and our needs change. Although some of our core needs remain the same - such as a place to live, clean water, food on the table - our emotional needs […]

16 Self-Concept Questionnaires, Activities and Tests (+PDF)

Take a moment and ask yourself: Who am I? How do you answer such a complex question? It’s tough and one that psychologists have consistently sought to help us with. ‘Self-concept’ might not be a term you’re generally familiar with, but it’s one that’s well worth knowing about. It essentially […]

What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples)

It’s not uncommon for most of us to keep a running dialogue inside our heads. This dialogue can range from giving ourselves instructions while we carry out a task, random observations about our environment or a situation, or it could be what is often referred to as self-talk. Self-talk is […]

17 Self-Awareness Activities and Exercises (+Test)

How self-aware do you feel you are? In terms of psychology, self-awareness is often defined as the ability to engage in some kind of reflective awareness. As you develop an awareness of the self, you begin to connect with your own unique identity. As you focus on yourself and start […]

10 Best Self-Awareness Books for Increasing Reflection

How often do you take a moment to reflect on your thoughts and emotions? Have you ever explored the underlying causes of your behavior? Self-awareness drives us closer to ourselves. It lets us gain clarity over our emotions, and helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses that lie within us. […]

19 Best Books on Self-Discipline and Self-Control

Self-discipline goes by many names – willpower, self-control, and self-regulation, to name a few. It helps us stay focused, deal adaptively with distractions, and accomplish what we intend to do, among many other things. Some researchers have linked self-discipline with accomplishment, others with well-being, and still others argue that it’s […]

40+ Benefits of Self-Control and Self-Discipline

For many people, self-control represents a deeply desired; yet, allusive attribute that too often slips through our fingertips. There is a multitude of areas in everyday life where so many of us want to do better. This is particularly evident given the millions of people (including almost half of Americans) […]

Top 11 Benefits of Self-Awareness According to Science

So many humans are walking around this planet unaware of the impact they have on the people around them. Within each of us is a tremendous capacity to affect change. Yet, too many of us simply react to the creations of others. Being self-aware and practicing daily reflection and introspection […]

Measuring Self-Efficacy with Scales and Questionnaires

Self-efficacy is all about your belief in your own abilities as it pertains to dealing with various situations. Self-efficacy can play a big role in your life, impacting not only how you feel about yourself but also how successful you might be. According to Albert Bandura, an influential social cognitive […]

What is Self-Reliance and How to Develop It?

Self-reliance is all that it sounds like plus considerably more. Even though Ralph Waldo Emerson may not have introduced the concept, it was he who brought it to the general public with his 1841 essay Self-Reliance. In positive psychology, self-reliance has strong theoretical significance thanks to its implications for happiness. […]

4 Ways To Improve And Increase Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the belief we have in our abilities and competencies. Albert Bandura (1977), a pioneer humanist and father of the concept of self-efficacy, defined it as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise their influence over events that affect their lives” (Bandura, 1994). […]

What is Self-Image and How Do We Improve it? Definition + Quotes

Self-image is yet another of the “self” concepts essential to understand in positive psychology. Although related to the others, it is a distinct concept that has its own place and its own importance. If you’re not sure what self-image is, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn […]

What is Self-Worth and How Do We Increase it? (Incl. 4 Worksheets)

Chances are, you've heard of the many, many "self-" words. There’s self-esteem, self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-respect, self-confidence, self-love, self-care, and so on. There are so many words to describe how we feel about ourselves, how we think about ourselves, and how we act toward ourselves. It’s understandable if they all start to […]

19 Self-Acceptance Quotes For Relating To Yourself In A Healthier Way

Self-acceptance is perhaps the best gift you can give yourself. Self-acceptance is without condition; it means that you accept yourself as is, flaws and all. It also allows you to freely experience and express a full range of emotions. Unconditional self-acceptance is a valuable quality, as it is linked to […]

What is Self-Expression and How to Foster It? (20 Activities + Examples)

Do you ever stop to think about how you share yourself with others? We all have our own unique quirks and traits, and we all have our own preferences and style for sharing pieces of ourselves with those around us. You likely have a different level of sharing comfort with […]

12 Tips For Building Self-Confidence and Self-Belief (+PDF Worksheets)

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford This classic quote from automobile magnate Henry Ford is a perfect lead into this piece. The topic is self-confidence and self-belief, two ingredients to a healthy and happy life. According to Ford, your belief in […]

What is Self-Acceptance? 25 Exercises + Definition and Quotes

Do you accept yourself? It might sound like an odd question; after all, what does it even mean to accept yourself? Don’t we all accept ourselves as a regular part of living our day-to-day lives? As it turns out, self-acceptance is not an automatic or default state. Many of us […]

What is Self-Confidence? + 9 Ways to Increase It

The self-esteem movement has swept through Western culture over the past 50 years, with parents and teachers alike doubling down on the idea that improving children’s self-confidence will lead to improved performance, and a more successful life in general (Baskin, 2011). This movement started with a book published in 1969, […]

What is Self-Regulation? (+95 Skills and Strategies)

Why don't adults always do exactly what we feel like doing, when we feel like doing it? This is a question that you might hear from kids, and it perfectly encapsulates what baffles them about adults. As adults, we pretty much have free rein to do whatever we want, whenever […]

What is Self-Concept Theory? A Psychologist Explains.

Who are you? What makes you “you?” You might answer with “I’m a mother,” or, “I’m a therapist,” or maybe, “I’m a believer,” “I’m a good friend," "I'm a brother." Maybe you answer with, “I am excellent at my job,” “I’m an accomplished musician,” or “I’m a successful athlete.” Other […]

What is Self-Efficacy Theory in Psychology? (+PDF)

You’ve no doubt heard of self-efficacy before, but it might not mean what you think it means. Self-efficacy is not self-image, self-worth, or any other similar construct. It is often assigned the same meaning as variables such as these, along with confidence, self-esteem, or optimism; however, it has a slightly […]

What is Self-Esteem? A Psychologist Explains.

“Believe in yourself.” That is the message that we encounter constantly, in books, television shows, superhero comics, and common myths and legends. We are told that we can accomplish anything if we believe in ourselves. Of course, we know that to be untrue; we cannot accomplish anything in the world […]

7 Best Mood Tracker Ideas For Your Bullet Journal Mood Charts (+PDFs)

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is true in business, health, and can even be applied to one's personal life. The fact is unless an individual is able to organize, analyze and process the data they’re working with, reaching an accurate conclusion can be difficult. Firstly, because one […]

87 Self-Reflection Questions for Introspection [+Exercises]

Have you ever thought about your own thoughts or questioned your mental processes? Do you sometimes take time to clarify your values in a moment of doubt or uncertainty? If you answered "yes," you are no stranger to self-reflection and introspection (terms that will be used more or less interchangeably […]

Theory of Positive Disintegration 101: On Becoming Your Authentic Self

Do you ever wonder why some people go through a life-altering crisis only to come out the other side stronger and more at peace with themselves, while others fall apart and struggle to carry on? It’s hard to predict who will rise from a tragedy like a phoenix from the […]

18 Self-Esteem Worksheets and Activities for Teens and Adults (+PDFs)

We all experience moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Even the most confident and happy people have moments where they think, “I’m such a failure.” It’s a part of being human. However, if you find yourself having these kinds of negative thoughts frequently or letting these feelings get in the way […]

What is Self-Actualization? A Psychologist’s Definition [+Examples]

The concept of self-actualization was brought into the mainstream by Abraham Maslow when he introduced his “hierarchy of needs.” Today, self-actualization is a bit more widely known, but most psychology students still learn of it as the top level of Maslow’s pyramid. This article will define self-actualization, review the relevant […]

Albert Bandura: Self-Efficacy for Agentic Positive Psychology

Prof. Albert Bandura is one of the most highly cited academics in the world (Haggbloom et al., 2002). Bandura’s scholarship has formed part of many enduring branches of psychology, including social cognitive theory, reciprocal determinism, and social learning theory. The principles stemming from this scholar’s work have informed policies around […]