Your Self-Perception = Your Life Experience!

• Your self concept is the way you choose to perceive yourself
• This self-perception is actually the key to your life experience

• Read about your social identity and ego vs. your soul identity

• Access lots of resources on how to be yourself - the REAL you
• And read an example based on nose picking ... :-)

Your Self Concept Is SO Powerful!

Who you are is important.

First of all, YOU, being utterly unique, are extremely important in and of yourself.

self concept picture
Secondly, who and what you perceive yourself to be, your self-perception, is extremely important, too. Why?

Because your self concept is the very core of your life experience. It is probably THE most important factor in deciding what kind of life experience you're going to have.

Having a life experience that's kind of lousy? Then check out how you consider yourself, your self identity.

Odds are that it's not as good as it might be - for instance you may have self esteem issues, or, you may have self confidence issues (not the same thing, but connected); or you may suffer from guilt, anxiety, shame, depression or something equally nasty. Or, you may simply be very identified with your ego. So many people are; in fact, most people are, and overall it doesn't feel good.

Either way you will not be having an optimal life experience, and you'll be wanting to do something about that.

Checking out your self concept is a logical first choice.

What Is Your Self Concept?
- a Quick Definition

Plainly put, it is your idea about who and what you are. For example, I might ask you this question: 'Who are you?'

Your answer to that question reveals something about your self perception. Not everything there is to know about it, but what lies foremost in your mind. You might answer me that you are a woman called Monica who works in a beauty parlor and who has two children and a loving husband. Or something along those lines. Those things are the upper layers of your self concept.

The slightly deeper layers might be things like: 'I am a devout Catholic and a very reliable person. I want to be a good person and do what is right, so I do a lot of community and charity work.'

Layers of your self concept which are slightly deeper than that might be something along the lines of: 'Sometimes I just get so angry and frustrated, and also I feel guilt shame about a lot of things I feel, think and do. I fear that I am not really a good person after all.'

And those would just be some of the upper layers of your self concept. In truth your self-perception consists of layers and layers like that.

See what I mean by self concept, now?

Great.

So, let's cut to the chase here.

The Core

Self knowledge, self realization, self actualization, self awareness, knowing who you really are (know thyself), 'finding yourself', being yourself, being authentic ... no matter what you call it, it all revolves around three things:

- Who you have been brought up to think you are (your ego and social identity)

- Who you really are (your real, authentic or soul identity)


- Who you decide to be (your choice, using your free will)

Now, that is the core thing for you to know. That is the basis info you pretty much NEED if you're interested in personal development, self improvement and spirituality. Three things.

It may not sound like much, but it is. (Remember, you get the real deal, the really important high-level self improvement information here on thePersonalDevelopmentGuy.com). So again, please remember that:

Your experience of life relies heavily on your self concept, which in turn relies on three things, a) Your ego and artificial, social identity  b) Your authentic soul identity  and c) Your free will choice.

Okay. So what is so important about that?

Reason no. 1 Why It Is Important that
Your Self Concept Dictates Your Life Experience -

First of all, since most people think they are their ego (including body, gender, family-ties, habits, thoughts, beliefs, education, job, etc.), you probably do, too, right?

Which means that who you THINK you are ... isn't really who you are. Sure, you are your ego, body, thoughts, skills, habits, beliefs, etc, but those things are actually just the window dressing of who you are.

You are MORE, so much more and, at the same time less ... meaning you are NOT as unimportant, incapable, lonely, worthless, loveless, not-good-enough, etc., etc. as you think/feel deep down. On the contrary, you all the opposite of those lousy things.

Being identified with the upper / outer layers of your self concept is a sure-fire way to a less-than-optimal life - and it doesn't have to be like that.

Reason no. 2

Secondly, and this is very important indeed, you DO have an identity beyond your ego; you do have what may adequately be called a soul.

This is not just guesswork on my part, it is experience. Both my own experience and the experience of many of my clients (the folks I coach and guide in consciousness).

I often call what I do 'inducing consciousness', and though that may be many different things, one of the most powerful ones is helping people to actually consciously experience their real identity, their soul identity.

It can and does change people's lives for the (much) better. And happily, it's easier than you may think.

Reason no. 3

self concept advice
Thirdly, which may be the most important reason of all, it means that you have a choice.

Since your self concept is 'how you perceive yourself', your self concept is totally under YOUR control.

Now, I know that lots of teachers will tell you that you can choose between your ego and your big identity, your soul identity, but most of those teachers will present it as an all or nothing choice. 'You've got to lose your ego to experience your bigger identity,' they will say. That is not so.

The truth is you have an infinite number of possibilities to experience your soul identity.

In fact you have the possibility every time you have a choice - which means before, during and after every single experience you have in your life. (That's a lot of opportunities!)

Time for an example.

An Example ...

Let us take a really obvious example: Your relationship to your love partner, a family member or one of your friends. Let's say this person has a habit which annoys you. So, every time the person 'performs' his or her habit, you get annoyed.

That habit is an action - which you experience. You have an unpleasant experience every time the other person does this thing. Looking at the action, there is a 'before the performance', a 'during the performance' and an 'after the performance'.

Well, that is one experience for you, but three choices.

And the Example Is: Nose Picking!

Let's say the other person is a man and he is publicly picking his nose, and you don't like this.

First, you have a choice on how you are GOING to experience his nose picking. You can decide which kind of experience you want in the future.

Next, when he actually picks his nose, you can decide how you are going to react to that (both inside yourself and on the outside).

And finally, later, when he has picked his nose and you are thinking about your experience you have a choice as to how you want to interpret your memory.

In each of those three situations your experience depends on who you decide that you are.

Does that sound cryptic? It isn't.

If you decide you are your ego, you will condemn his nose picking, and YOU (not he) will have an unpleasant experience.

If you decide you are your soul you will regard the experience in the light of absolute love and acceptance and YOU will have a pleasant experience (of love and acceptance).

It's as simple as that.

But ...

What You May Need to Switch Self Concept


I can almost hear you say, 'That's all well and good, but how do you actually DO that? How do you consciously change your self concept from ego to soul in the time it takes for someone else to pick his nose?'

Good question. The answer is that while it is basically just a choice (like choosing to eat a banana instead of an apple), in order to start making that choice you do need awareness, preferably in the form of first hand experience of your bigger identity.

The optimum condition is one where you have CONSCIOUSLY experienced BEING your soul identity. Even if it is just for a brief period of time, say few seconds.

As long as you were AWARE that what you were experiencing was your soul identity, you will have the edge.

Self Identity - Establishing a True Identity 'Baseline'

 The thing is, to be able to switch from your ego identity to your soul identity at will, for instance when someone is annoying you, you probably need something to compare with - a sort of true identity baseline.

Odds are you already have that, but aren't aware of it. And if not, there are ways you can do it. 

Your Social Identity - Mixing Culture and Identity

On the other hand, perhaps you want to know more about that part of your ego one might call your social identity.

Your cultural identity is pretty much the outermost layer of your self concept - the layer you present to the world, but also one of those layers you need to be aware of - lest you start to identify with it. 

Nonconformity - Typically Just a Different Kind of Social Identity

Some folks pride themselves in NOT being like other people (the herd), but rather go to great pains to be different.

An example of this is the Punk movement which started some time before the turn of the millennium. Ripped up jeans and t-shirts, funny colored hair in weird haircuts, makeup and lots of piercings. In the big cities around the world you still see people dressed like that, now and then.

The funny thing this is, it is just as much a uniform social identity as wearing a suit and tie.

If you are defining who you are like that, you are still defining yourself from the most shallow layer of your self concept - only now you are defining yourself as being things that the majority are not.

It Sucks to Be You - If You Aren't Being Yourself :-)

Oftentimes people come seeking my services (as a personal development coach and guide in consciousness) because they just can't stand it anymore. 'My life sucks!' they will tell me, 'And I myself suck, too,' they will sometimes add.

Well, that IS one possible (and likely) effect of identifying with the shallow layers of your self concept. Luckily there are ways out of that mess. 

But Even You Feel It Sucks to Be You:
- Be Gentle With Yourself

No matter how you feel about yourself you can still be good to yourself as a matter of conscious choice. Yes, even if you feel you don't deserve it. And perhaps you should consider this?

No Matter Where You Go, There You'll Be

The above headline is an old zen saying (and also a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn).

And it's true of course - in a sense. Even if you 'run' from yourself and all your troubles to another town, another country or even to the moon, you will carry whoever and whatever you perceive yourself to be (your self concept) with you. There is no escaping it ... or is there?

Be Yourself

Why is being authentic, being yourself, so important? And what about those times when you want to be true to yourself, but you hardly even know who that is anymore? If you like, you can read about this and a lot more in the big personal development article Be Yourself.

How to Be Yourself

And now ... for one of the things you may have been waiting for: Information on how to do it.

Get practical tips and hints as in the personal development article How to Be Yourself

Your Identity

Sell Your Soul? Soul Power and How to Sell Your Soul - or Not

All this talk about soul brings up a very interesting question: Can you sell your soul? Read the answer to that in the personal development article Soul Power and How to Sell Your Soul - or Not">Sell Your Soul .

Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul is a dramatic expression which describes a very real occurrence: The beginning transition of your self concept from ego identity to soul identity. It is a crisis, an identity crisis.

The Chinese written language 'puts it' very aptly by having the symbol for crisis be a combination of the symbol for 'danger' and the symbol for 'opportunity'.

This identity crisis occurs when you grow tired of both your shallow social identity and your fear based ego identity ... but you don't yet know how to let go of them and just be yourself (your soul identity).

This is not very funny, and it does happen to quite a number of people doing personal development and/or spirituality.

Sometimes it happens to the same person more than once (usually in 'light versions').
 

Self Actualization: Be All You Can Be

And finally, some powerful words about self realization, the driving force behind self improvement, spirituality and personal development for quite a number of people.

Many people have this nagging feeling that the contain the seeds of something that is powerful, loving and uniquely creative at the same time. Plus, they have acquired a lot of different skills along the way, too. Well, fitting it all together and making that unique package actually work, is what self realization is all about.



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