How to uphold your sense of self in chaos


Responding to life’s ups and downs can mean experiencing daily challenges and enjoying magic moments, often simultaneously. Throughout these tough times, we often act and speak in ways that are out of character and can become victims of emotional chaos, believing our choices are limited.

Identify when you begin to stray from character

We all wander away from our core beliefs and values in tough times and can lose touch with ourselves. It’s critical that we regularly scrutinize our emotions, thinking and behaviour, and are honest in our appraisal. Are these working to endorse the life we believe in and hope to achieve? Do they support the self we desire to uphold? When a habit or pattern is well developed, it becomes instinctive behaviour.

We give you 5 tips on upholding your sense of self and foster authenticity, even in the hardest of times.


  1. Surround yourself with positive people and environments

The people with whom we spend our time directly impact and influence our ability to view the world positively. Hostile environments and negative stimuli often produce unhealthy thinking and create a lack of confidence. A renewed way of life can help amend this broken path. By systematically changing one negative behaviour at a time, we can influence our future behaviour. This in turn translates to a greater sense of peace within our individual journey.


  1. Align your thinking to a joyful sense of self

Whatever we think about, worry about, talk about or pay attention to will grow. Focusing consistently on a joyful sense of self helps to invite us to invite qualities like support, encouragement, hope and well-being into our life. These attributes endorse our inner strength and make it more difficult for vulnerable and insecure traits to reveal themselves when other people say and do unkind things towards us.


  1. Stand by your principles in times of confrontation

Standing up for our principles in an assertive manner allows us to become familiar with our own complexity. It allows us to see ‘our part’ in challenging situations and in uncomfortable disputes and struggles. Consequently, this insight helps us to detach from the need to disapprove of others; we come to accept people for who they choose to be, rather than how we would prefer them to be. This action alone provides a space for us to remain close to our authentic self.


Authenticity invites us to look closely at our values and principles. What do we stand for and believe in? How do we demonstrate these values to the people around us? Do we speak up for things that matter in our lives? It pays dividends when we are able to review these questions often and ask ourselves what might need to change and which areas could use some attention.


  1. Commit to practices

Often it’s our habits that really begin to make the changes necessary possible, such as the below:

  • Tell your truth, and let yourself and others know what your truth is.
  • Be aware that every day you are making choices, and accept responsibility without blame for everything happening in your life.
  • Give up blame, postpone judgement, and listen and understand before defending or attacking and making others wrong.
  • Envision your ideal self. Keep in mind you are choosing the way you want to be.
  • Be in touch with your body. Listen for ever-present clues.
  • Question your limiting beliefs. Be aware that any time you tell yourself you cannot do something, you are right.
  • Treat your growth and yourself with respect and patience, rather than irritation and judgment.
  • Setting aside time each day for self-reflection or writing these commitments in your daily ritual are some ways you can begin putting these into practice.

Sourced from Heart at Work (1998), by Jack Canfield and Jacqueline Miller (1).


  1. Look to the future

It can be useful to create a clear picture of what you want for the future by creating a vision board or designing a dream sheet. Once completed, sharing your board with someone you trust can help to confirm and validate your commitment to living purposefully and walking your talk. When what we say and what we do are in alignment, we are able to live in harmony with our authentic self and stay true to ourselves.


Words: Jill Bayly, Eden Health Retreat therapist.



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