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18 Signs You Have a Poorly Developed Sense of Self (+ What to Do) ⋆ LonerWolf

If you are a follower of any form of spirituality (or religion), you have likely come across the notion that the ego is “bad” and is the enemy of your growth.

You may have even come across writers, teachers, and speakers who propagate the idea of ego death; the purging, killing, or desperately trying to transcend the ego in order to attain states of bliss and cosmic unity.

Yes, it’s true that having a sense of self can be tremendously limiting and destructive. BUT if we only see the ego as “bad” we aren’t seeing the whole picture.

Having a strong sense of self is not only vital in everyday life but is also essential for the spiritual path. I know that may sound absurd but hang in there. I’ll explain why we all need a clearly defined ego – especially on the spiritual path – below.

Table of contents

  • What is the Sense of Self?
  • 18 Signs of a Poorly Developed Sense of Self
  • 9 Ways to Develop a Strong Sense of Self

What is the Sense of Self?

Quite simply, your sense of self is the identity you carry around all day every day – it is your sense of “this is me” and “this is not me. ” The sense of self, also known as the ego, is an image we carry around in our minds about who we are. When we have a strong sense of self, we are able to differentiate ourselves from other people. It is the biological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual destiny of all human beings to create a strong sense of self.

As a person who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian cult, I know all too well how important developing a strong identity is.

Growing up, any time I tried to assert a differentiated sense of self, I was torn down by my parents and the fundamentalist religion they held dear. The only acceptable identity permitted in my childhood was identifying with a group mentality (i.e. the “righteous servants of God”) and religious ideal (being a “good and faithful Christian”). Not being given permission or space to grow a clear identity meant that I developed a weak sense of self that spiraled into serious mental health issues – some of which I’m still working through today.

But you don’t have to be raised in an intensely religious atmosphere to develop a weak sense of self. I believe that having a weak sense of self is an epidemic issue infecting humanity worldwide. I would go so far as saying that most of us have poorly developed identities.


Let’s take a few moments to consider a basic question:

To what degree were the qualities of self-understanding and self-knowledge honored in your environment growing up?

If you’re like most people, your response will be “not that much.”

Not only were these qualities non-existent (or never spoken about) but you were probably also taught who you “should” be according to your parents and society’s standards. In other words, you were never encouraged to develop a strong sense of self.

There are serious consequences involved with failing to develop your ego fully. Symptoms of a weak identity include:

  • Losing your sense of self in romantic relationships
  • Codependent tendencies (where your happiness is dependent on others being happy)
  • Enmeshment with your parents (difficulty separating your thoughts and feelings from your parent’s thoughts and feelings)
  • Inability to create strong boundaries (resulting in massive energy loss)
  • Scattered priorities (e. g. not knowing how to manage your time and energy)
  • Aimlessness and difficulty setting goals
  • Not knowing what you want to do with your life
  • Group mentality (i.e. tendency to create an identity based on an ideal held by a group of people)
  • Increased susceptibility to peer pressure (i.e. being pressured by others to do things that make you feel uncomfortable or aren’t authentic to you)
  • Empathy overload (empathizing too much with others that you lose yourself)
  • Social anxiety (feeling overwhelmed by others because you don’t have a solid identity)
  • Low self-esteem (weak identity + not knowing much about yourself = tendency to feel suspicious and doubtful of yourself)
  • Chronic low-grade to intense anxiety (due to not feeling at ‘home’ within yourself because you have a weak sense of self)
  • Feeling lost in life
  • The tendency to be taken advantage of by others
  • Living another person’s definition of “happy” or “success”
  • Disconnection from your true needs, desires, and dreams
  • Feelings of emptiness inside

Pause for a moment and notice how you feel. Tune into your body if that helps to ground you. How do you feel in response to the list above? If you feel a sense of physical discomfort or strong emotions arising, it’s likely that this list has triggered you. Being triggered here is a good thing because it is a clear sign that you need to develop a stronger sense of self. We’ll explore how to do that soon.

But first, let’s explore why developing a firm sense of self is not only your birthright but also your destiny.

9 Ways to Develop a Strong Sense of Self

It is your birthright to develop your ego and soul.

To paraphrase philosopher and integral theorist Ken Wilber, we need to wake up and grow up.

But what does this mean?

To grow up means to psychologically mature and create a clear identity or ego. Psychologist Carl Jung referred to the process of ego development and integration as individuation.

Without a clear and healthy ego we run the risk of living scattered, confused, and empty lives. When coupled with spirituality, a poorly developed ego leads to issues such as an absence of spiritual discernment which can lead to spiritual misuse and abuse.

What are spiritual misuse and abuse?

Spiritual abuse means being sucked in by corrupt spiritual teachers and movements that seek power, money, and fame. And yes, there are plenty out there. Spiritual abuse also manifests as the cult mentality where a person with a weak sense of self can easily be brainwashed to lose all sense of personal sovereignty.

Spiritual misuse, on the other hand, means letting the personal shadow taint spirituality through spiritual pride, spiritual codependence, spiritual narcissism, and spiritual bypassing. You can read more about these spiritual traps in our spiritual discernment article.

Life is about balance. We are both human and divine, so it makes sense to fully explore and develop both sides of our nature.

If you are seeking to develop a stronger sense of self, here are my suggestions:


Learn how to be alone

Solitude may sound like a scary word or idea, but it is actually a deeply nourishing practice. To make space to be alone with yourself is the best first step to developing a strong identity. How often are you genuinely alone (with no technological distractions) or people around you? The reason why making time each day to be alone is so beneficial is that it creates a space for you to listen to your inner self. Being alone means that all external distractions are set aside and you are left with yourself. If you haven’t done this much before, it may sound intimidating. Subconsciously many of us fear solitude because it brings up everything that we’ve been trying to avoid. But try to gently push through this discomfort and realize that alone time is absolutely essential for developing a strong sense of self.

To ease any fear you may have, set yourself a task to do that involves self-exploration. For example, try learning how to journal, artistically expressing your feelings and thoughts, or simply sitting down and listening to some emotional music. Find ways to be with yourself and explore your inner world. If you don’t have much time to spare, squeeze in your solitude time in an activity you already do. For example, spend your lunch break, toilet break, shower time or moments before bed with your thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, the more time you dedicate to being alone and exploring your inner self the more you will get back.

2. Clearly define your likes, dislikes, and values

For this activity, you will need a piece of paper and a pen. Divide your page into three parts: one section for your likes, one section for your dislikes, and the last section for your values. For your likes and dislikes section, think back to moments in life where you felt either extremely happy or extremely unhappy. You can also think about what traits you like and dislike in other people. Write down your discoveries on your piece of paper. You might also like to reflect on the qualities of your role models and also enemies. What do you like and dislike about each? Record your reflections.

Values are what you honor/respect the most in yourself and others. Examples of values include being generous, being honest, being in touch with spirituality, going the extra mile, etc. Our values are unique to us and come from our hearts and souls. To discover your values, you will need to ask the question, “What qualities can’t I live without both in myself and others?” If this question doesn’t bring up any strong responses, think about times in your life when you felt the most proud of yourself and write them down. What qualities motivated your behavior? Write down your response.

3. Draw boundaries and say “no”

Learn to be assertive. By creating strong boundaries, you are strengthening your sense of self by defining what is and is not okay in social situations. You might also like to pay attention to any people in your life who are frequently overstepping your boundaries. Notice how you feel around every person in your life – do they support and uplift you or do they drag you down. If you constantly feel drained, depressed or unhappy with yourself after an encounter with a specific person, consider limiting your contact with them. You have every right to take a step back, create rules, and say “no.” Your time and energy is a limited resource, so ensure that those who drain you of it are put at arm’s length.

4. Stop the busyness and tune into your inner self

Working too much can be a form of socially acceptable escapism. Why? When we focus on achieving goals and being productive, we are simultaneously taking attention away from ourselves and directing it externally. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an efficient member of society. But beware of using your work life to escape your inner life.

If you are constantly on your toes working, consider simplifying your life – even temporarily. Cut back on your commitments and do only what is necessary. Spend the rest of your free time exploring yourself and developing self-knowledge. One great way of developing a solid sense of self is by practicing mindfulness exercises and meditation. Mindfulness helps you to reconnect with the present moment and how your mind, heart, and body feels. Meditation, on the other hand, helps you to pay attention to your inner thoughts. Try experimenting with both. I recommend listening to guided meditation and mindfulness sessions at first as they take the pressure out of wondering what to do next. Tara Brach has many wonderful meditations on youtube that I personally listen to.

5. Redefine what success, happiness, and fulfillment mean to YOU

If you have a poorly developed sense of self, chances are that you are living out an idea of success, happiness, and fulfillment that others have handed to you. Don’t worry, this is absolutely normal. I have experienced the confusion and frustration of living out another person’s definition of who I “should” be as well. But now is your opportunity to change that. Now is your opportunity to see that you don’t need to be rich or mainstream to be successful – YOU define success. Now is your opportunity to see that you don’t need to have a fancy job or big family to be happy – YOU define happiness. Now is your opportunity to see that you don’t have to be spiritually elevated to experience fulfillment – YOU define what fulfillment means to you. Your life is in your hands and is of your making. Don’t let anyone try to tell you what you should be doing, feeling, thinking or striving for. It’s okay to say “no, that’s not me.”

6. Learn more about your personality

Your personality is unique and multifaceted – and there are so many ways of exploring it! Diving into the mechanics of your ego is fascinating and we have dedicated a large portion of this website to personality tests and articles that encourage self-reflection. Other than the numerous books, workshops, and coaching sessions out there, you can also experiment with taking personality tests (see our tests page) which is a fun way of getting to know yourself better.

7. Take responsibility for yourself only (not other people)

Having a weak sense of self means that you are prone to over-empathize with others to the point of taking responsibility for their feelings and actions. Stop that. Realize that the only person you are responsible for is yourself. Your parents, friends, colleagues, children, and partner are all ultimately responsible for their own happiness – it’s NOT your job to make them happy. They are responsible for making themselves happy. With the exception of small children who need constant guidance, those in your life who have grown and matured need to get a grip on their own lives. By trying to take responsibility for others, you are depriving them of the ability to learn an essential life lesson: that we must all be sovereign and take control of our perspectives, feelings, and actions. It is not your job to be friends with everyone, care-take everyone, save everyone, or please everyone. Keep affirming this to yourself and you will find it easier to strengthen your identity as you’ll no longer be giving all that energy away to others.

8. Explore your passions

What makes you excited? What makes you feel alive? What activities call to you? By exploring your passions, you are aiding the process of individuation or ego development that we must all go through. Pay attention to what hobbies or skills grab you and pull you in. Give yourself permission to follow these passions and see where they lead you.

Illuminating the Unconscious Bundle:

Shine a light on the hidden parts, synchronicities, dreams, shadows, and feelings within you. Dive deep and illuminate the dark!

9. Be a rebel: question everything

As Carl Jung – a great proponent of developing a healthy sense of self – once wrote:

I studiously avoided all so-called holy men. I did so because I had to make do with my own truth, not accept from others what I could not attain on my own … I must shape my life out of myself, out of what my inner being tells me or what nature brings to me.

This quote embodies the essence of what developing a strong sense of self means. To have a healthy ego means to trust in yourself and to listen to your own truth.

Developing a strong identity involves a certain level of willfulness or willpower. You must be willing to question every way others try to influence you and ask “Does this feel true to me?” and “Does this feel right?” It is inevitable that through life, you will be presented with numerous points of view, beliefs, values, and ideals from others that don’t feel authentic to you. In order to distinguish between what feels authentic and inauthentic, you must question and pay attention to your inner feelings. So next time you start feeling insecure, unworthy or like you’re not measuring up, ask yourself, “Am I believing something I haven’t questioned?” and “Am I using someone else’s yardstick to measure myself up to?”


What are your struggles and experiences with developing a sense of self? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

Do I Have Low Self-Esteem? I Psych Central

Self-Esteem Quiz: Do I Have Low Self-Esteem? I Psych Central
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Medically reviewed by Jacquelyn Johnson, PsyD. — By Ari Howard on October 13, 2022

Self-esteem has to do with how you perceive yourself and how compassionate you are toward yourself. It’s not about viewing yourself as perfect or better than others.

Instead, people with high self-esteem accept their flaws, are kind to themselves when they make mistakes, and believe they have worth in the world.

For some, self-esteem doesn’t come naturally. You may find self-compassion and self-confidence challenging to achieve. The first step to developing higher self-esteem is becoming aware of where your insecurities lie and how they manifest.

Typical signs of low self-esteem include:

  • comparing yourself to others
  • judging yourself when you make a mistake
  • engaging in negative self-talk
  • experiencing self-doubt or impostor syndrome
  • worrying about what others think of you
  • avoiding taking risks or trying new things
  • feeling the need to be perfect
  • feeling like you don’t really know yourself

Once you know what you need to work on, you can begin taking steps toward becoming a more confident and self-accepting person. In fact, you can view self-esteem as a skill that you can improve upon and develop. It’s a journey about understanding who you are and what makes you unique.

Once you’re able to develop a true sense of self, what others think of you and the small mistakes you make throughout your life won’t feel so important.

This brief questionnaire is designed for anyone who wants to evaluate their levels of self-esteem. You can use these questions as a way to begin reflecting on your insecurities and the things about yourself you may want to work on.

This test consists of 18 questions about how you view yourself. Your responses will help determine whether you may want to work on building your self-esteem and what your starting place looks like.

If you’re interested in therapy, this quiz is a good starting place for communicating with a therapist about the ways you may have trouble with self-esteem and what specifically you want to work on.

This self-esteem quiz is not meant to be a diagnostic tool. Instead, it’s a resource to begin thinking about your self-esteem levels and what your insecurities might look like.

You may not have realized that some of your thought patterns or behaviors may be linked to lower self-esteem.

In the case of a low score, you may consider talking with a mental health professional to help determine the next best steps for you.

Last medically reviewed on October 13, 2022


Medically reviewed by Jacquelyn Johnson, PsyD. — By Ari Howard on October 13, 2022

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Chapter 7 Managing Emotions Self Test Questions

1. Ways of emotional balance.

2. Socio-psychological training.

3. Autogenic training (Schulz).

4. Jogarry window.

5. H.K. Leiner. Symboldrama.

6. Yu.M. Orlov. Sanogenic thinking.

7. C. Toych's method.

8. Art therapy (K.G. Jung, A.B. Kopytin).

9. Methods for eliminating unwanted emotional states.

Chapter 8 basic positions in the discipline "psychology of emotions"

Historically it so happened that the desire to find root cause of emotional states led to the appearance of various points vision. For a long time scientists tried to solve the problem of nature emotions. Since the time when philosophers and the naturalists became in earnest reflect on nature and essence emotions, two main positions emerged. Scientists occupying one of them, intellectualistic, most clearly designated I.F. Herbart (1824-1825), claimed that organic manifestations Emotions are the result of mental phenomena. According to Herbart, emotion represents is a connection that is established between performances. Emotion is mental disorder caused disagreement (conflict) between representations. It's affective state involuntarily causes vegetative changes.

Representatives another position - sensationalists - on the contrary, claimed that organic reactions affect psychic phenomena. F. Dufour (1883) wrote about this: “Am I insufficient evidence that the source our natural inclination to passions lies not in the soul, but is connected with the ability autonomic nervous system to communicate the brain about the excitement it receives, what if we can't arbitrarily regulate circulatory functions, digestion, secretion, it is impossible, therefore, in this case, to explain our will violations of these functions, arising under the influence of passions. These two positions were later developed in cognitive theories of emotion and in peripheral theory of emotions by W. James - G. Lange.

B his book "Human emotion", appeared in 1978, K.E. Izard writes that until the 80s. XX in. psychology has virtually ignored emotions. Psychology relatively recently turned to serious research emotion problems. Regarding emotions there are a variety of opinions. By K. Izard, a complex definition of the phenomenon emotions should include physiological, expressive and empirical components. Influence of emotions per person in a generalized way, but each emotion affects him in his own way.

Our domestic scientist V.K. Viliunas in anthologies "Psychology of emotions" (2006) emphasizes the universality of emotions, without which no active step of a man, emotions are clear discover their influence at work and in the family, in knowledge and art, in achievements and spiritual crises of man. However, as V.K. Viliunas, development psychology of emotions in the domestic psychology is constrained by the following reasons - on the one hand, the remnants positivist tradition to consider scientific only empirical knowledge and, on the other hand, - Difficulties in finding funds such knowledge.

E.P. Ilyin in his voluminous textbook "Emotions and Feelings" (2001), referring to many studies on various areas of the emotional sphere of R. Woodworth (1950), D. Lindsley (1960), P. Fressa (1975), J. Reikovsky (1979), C. Izard (2000), P.M. Yakobson (1958), V.K. Vilyunas (1973), B. I. Dodonova (1987), P.V. Simonova (1962, 1975, 1981, 1987), L.I. Kulikova (1997) and others, notes, however, that so far the problem of emotions remains a mystery and largely obscure.

E.P. Ilyin writes that emotions and feelings, performing various functions in managing human behavior as an involuntary component, intervening in it as at the stage of awareness needs and assessments of the situation, and decision-making and evaluation stages the result achieved. That's why understanding of control mechanisms behavior requires understanding and emotional sphere of a person, its role in this administration.

Next scientist who has made a great contribution to study of the emotional sphere of a person, can be called G.M. Breslav. In his textbook "Psychology of emotions" (2004) G.M. Breslav highlights the main areas of study of emotions and feelings. The manual provides an analysis of nature and functions of emotional phenomena, which showed an amazing diversity emotional sphere, to which sensations of pain and discomfort, and long-term conditions (for example, depression, friendly feelings), short-term outbursts of rage, abilities of the individual express and understand one's own states and influence the condition of others.

K. Izard emphasizes that in recent years have to face the most different points of view on nature and the meaning of emotions.

One researchers believe that within behavioral science can be dispensed with altogether without the concept of "emotion". So Duffy (1962) like many other researchers (e.g. Lindsley, 1957) believes that behavioral problems are easier to explain using the terms "activation" or "excitation".

Others same (Tomkins, 1962, 1963; Izard, 1971, 1972) claim that emotions form the primary motivational human system. Some scientists see emotions as short-lived transitory states, while others convinced that people are constantly are under the influence of one emotions, that behavior and affect - are inseparable (Shakhtel, 1959).

Some Researchers believe that emotions disrupt and disorganize behavior human that they are the main source of psychosomatic illnesses (Arnold, 1969; Lazarus, 1968; Jung, 1961). Other the authors, on the contrary, believe that emotions play a positive role in the organization motivation and reinforcement of behavior (Izard, 1971, 1972; Leeper, 1948; Movrer, 1960; Rapaport, 1942; Shakhtel, 1959; Tomkins, 1962 1963).

E.P. Ilyin argues that the role of emotions in control of human behavior is great and emphasizes that it is no coincidence that practically all authors writing about emotions note their motivating role, bind emotions with needs and their satisfaction (Freud, 189four; Vilyunas, 1990; Dodonov, 1987; Izard, 1980, Leontiev, 1982; Fress, 1975; Reikovsky, 1979; Simonov and others) [82].

Russian psychologist N.N. Lange wrote that "feeling takes the place of Sandrillon in psychology, unloved, persecuted and forever robbed in favor of older sisters - "mind" and "will". He usually has to huddle on the backyards of psychological science, then as the will, and especially the mind (knowledge) occupy front rooms. If we collect all scientific research on feelings get a list so poor that it far surpass the literature of any questions from the field of cognitive processes, even very small ones ... Reasons there is a lot of this common "dislike". Here, probably plays some role and general nature of modern culture advantage of the technical and external, and that the reasoning of the old psychologists about feelings repel us with their rhetoric and moralization, and then, that this area is generally difficult to accurate and scientific research methods and, finally, what for a psychologist, like scientist in general, the field of mind and knowledge usually closer and more accessible than area of ​​emotions. Maybe it was it would be different if in development psychological science women took greater participation than hitherto."

A.N. Leontiev (1971) rightly believes that difficulties encountered in the study of emotions are explained mainly in a way that emotions are considered no clear distinction them into various subclasses, differing from each other both genetically and functionally. Some researchers writes K. Izard, reduce emotions to visceral functions, to the manifestation of activity structures innervated by the autonomic nervous system (Wenger, 1950).

Domestic scientists A.B. Kholmogorova and N.G. Garanyan (1996) write that in modern culture there are quite specific psychological factors contributing an increase in the total number of people experiencing negative emotions in the form of longing, fear, aggression and at the same time complicating their psychological processing. They hypothesized on which special values ​​and attitudes, encouraged in society, become property of individual consciousness, creating a psychological predisposition or vulnerability to emotional disorders.

Completed at 1974 in Baku XXVI International Physiological Congress was entirely devoted to emotions and visceral functions (Gasanov, 1974). Some scientists emphasize the importance of external, including number of facial expressions, manifestations of emotions, focus on the role of somatic nervous system, that is, that part nervous system, which is voluntary control (Gellhorn, 1964, 1970; Tomkins, 1962, 1963; Ekman, Friesen, Ellsworth, 1972; Izard, 1971, 1972).

Starting from the end of XIX in. more general representations are created about the nature of emotions or the theory that can be classified based on whether they apply for explanation nature of emotions, and if so, what questions they put at the forefront.

According to G. Breslav, at the initial stage of formation psychology of emotions ideas about emotional phenomena do not even pretend to explain the nature of emotions, they are only trying to describe the specifics of these phenomena: the works of Théodule Ribot, Wilhelm Wundt and Theodor Lipps created common theories, but contributed to the development understanding of individual phenomena or aspects of emotional spheres.

Ribot introduces the concept of "emotional memory" and considers emotions through the prism of pathology that leads to the release of motor state or aspiration as primary emotional element (189eight).

Wundt describes three-dimensional, or three-component, model emotional process (excitement-sedation, pleasure, displeasure voltage-resolution) and offers specific way of empirical study, which for many years became a model for imitations (1984). Representations B. Wundt (1880) on emotions are rather eclectic. On the one hand, he adheres to the point Herbart's vision, which to some extent ideas affect feelings, and with On the other hand, he believed that emotions These are primarily internal changes, characterized by immediate influence of feelings on the flow of ideas.

AT in turn, Lipps (1907) describes the mechanism occurrence empathy as unconscious "feeling" into a state another person.

Further more general theories are can be classified very loosely depending on the main question to which this theory aims give an answer.

First group of theories tries above all answer the question: “What generates and / or determines one quality or another a kind of emotional phenomenon? This group can conditionally designated as deterministic theory, for in the center their attention - the mechanism by which certain emotional phenomena (James, 1984; Devy, 1894-1895; Canon, 1927/1969; Shekhter, 1970; Lazarus, 1966, 1998).

Second group of theories tries above all answer the question: "What do they do or express emotional phenomena? Her can be defined as a group of functional emotions, for their focus is on the mechanism impact of certain emotional phenomena on consciousness, behavior and organism human, as well as on the processes of social interactions; that is, this group theory is aimed primarily at description of the function of emotional phenomena (Arnold, 1960; Averill , 1982; Kruger, 1930/1984; Leeper, 1963-1965/1984, Lindsay, 1960).

Third group of theories trying to answer question: "From what" primary elements " is the emotional sphere? Thereby researchers are trying to find the most versatile for the human psyche "primary", or "basic" emotions. These theories are referred to as theory of basic emotions (Plutchik, 1969; Tomkins, 1970; Ekman, Davidson, 1994; McDougall 1928/1984; Izard, 1999).

All these approaches were based on ideas Darwin, because he was interested in the role of emotions in adaptation to conditions life, and the nature of the generation of emotional expressions, and the main types of this expressions. No wonder a number of modern theories of emotions directly or indirectly relies on his ideas (Arnold, 1960; Plutchik, 1969; Chevalier-Scolney- koff, 1973; Johnson-Laird, 1998; Scherer, 2001).

Published in 1872 the book "The Expression of Emotions in Man" and animals”, Ch. Darwin showed the evolutionary way of development of emotions and substantiated origin of their physiological manifestations.

Ch. Darwin created biological concept of emotions, based on comparative study of emotional expressive movements in mammals. These movement was seen as a vestige expedient instinctive actions, retaining to some extent biological meaning and at the same time serving as biologically significant signals for individuals not only of their own, but also of others types. These expressive movements (anger, fear, joy) and especially mimic reactions treated to innate expressions of emotion. essence his idea is that emotions are either useful or represent are the remains (rudiments) of various appropriate responses that were developed in the process of evolution in the fight for existence.

Emotion always "colors" some reflected content is something that we feel, perceived, thought. subject relatedness of emotion, its obligatory direction, "address" to some structural unit cognitive image - phenomenological fact that satisfies all formalities requirements in order to decide problems emotions take the place of one of major postulates.

First, This fact is important for the theory because reflects the position of emotion in the structure psychological, their specific relation to the processes of cognition. Secondly, few provisions are reproduced from such constancy in the most diverse emotion concepts.

Holistic emotional phenomenon is always is the unity of two moments: on the one hand side, some reflected content, on the other hand emotional experience, i.e. toy specific color with which this the content is reflected by the subject.

Dual the structure of the emotional phenomenon clearly is found in that constantly observed the fact that the same reflected content can cause under different different conditions, sometimes directly opposite emotional experiences.

One of the possible ways of classification emotional phenomena is based on differences in the subject matter they cover content. Validity of mismatch classification of emotional phenomena and classification of emotional experiences is one of the main conditions accounting for which this problem will continue to be a subject discordant private opinions.

Possibility occurrence of emotional experience represents only one of reasons why the relatively simple the structure of an emotional phenomenon sometimes can be difficult to identify practice.

First systematically developed interpretation emotional phenomena belongs introspective psychology. Introspectionist psychologists have recognized existence of complex emotional phenomena.

Although self-observation method did not allow reveal the nature of emotions, with its help a number of observations have been made undoubted empirical value.

Representatives introspective psychology drew attention to the connection of emotional phenomena with the activity of internal organs. The development of research has led to a radical change in attitude towards the nature of emotional phenomena.

First shaken the traditional concept of emotion famous American psychologist W. James. In 1884, he outlined, and in 1894 developed the thesis that "immediately perception of exciting fact bodily changes follow, and our experiencing these changes is emotions". A similar point of view was shared and Danish researcher K. Lange: by him believe that emotions arise as a result of vasomotor changes caused some irritants. Exactly organic change according to James theory - Lange are the root cause of emotions: perception of emotional stimuli  neuromuscular response of the body processing in the CNS the emergence of emotions.

Alternative point of view on the ratio of organic and emotional processes suggested W. Cannon. He was one of the first to point out the fact that bodily changes, observed when different emotional states are very similar on each other and in variety not enough to completely satisfactorily explain the quality differences in higher emotional human experiences. The provisions of W. Cannon were developed by P. Bard, who showed that both bodily changes and emotional experiences associated with them, occur almost simultaneously. This theory is called thalamic, those. for the organization of emotional reactions the thalamus is responsible. Much further in the revision of the positions of the introspective psychology went the founder of behaviorism D. Watson. According to him, emotions are is a specific type of reaction appearing in three main forms: fear, rage, love. These forms can describe with characteristic features of the behavior of the organism. According to the behavioral concept emotions are some specific type of reaction, primarily reaction internal organs. Watson stayed on the position of James - Lange, although he excluded from the theory of introspective elements. A similar interpretation of emotions was given by Bekhterev, who considered them as mimic-somatic tone and mimic-somatic reflexes.

R.R. Holt in 1976 abandons the theory instinctive drives, develops the theory of affect and motivation. He emphasizes the importance of external stimulation and perceptual-cognitive- processes, but he also recognizes the importance expressive and emotional the phenomenon of emotions. H. Spencer one of first defined emotions and feelings as "dimension" or state of consciousness.

According to another theory, Lindsay-Hebb, emotional states are determined the influence of the reticular formation of the lower parts of the brain stem. Emotions arise as a result of violations and restore balance in the respective structures of the central nervous system. The activation theory is based on the following main provisions: electroencephalographic picture brain work that occurs when emotions, is an expression so called "activation complex" associated with the activity of the reticular formations. The work of the reticular formation defines many dynamic parameters emotional states: their strength, duration, change.

U person in the dynamics of emotional states no less important than organic and physical influences, play cognitive factors. One of the first was the theory of cognitive dissonance L. Festinger. According to her positive emotional experience occurs in a person when his expectations confirmed, and cognitive representations are brought to life. Negative emotions arise and intensify in those cases where between expected and actual performance results there is a discrepancy or dissonance.

Concept emotional states, offered by S. Schechter, was named cognitive-psychological. According to this theory on the emerging emotional state other than perceived stimuli and the bodily changes are influenced by the past experience of a person and his assessment of cash situations in terms of relevant his interests.

B based on the concept of emotions developed in Russian psychology, lies the thesis of that mental processes are is a specific product brain activity - product, essence which is to reflect reality. According to S.L. Rubinstein feelings are expressed in the form of experience relationship of the subject to the environment what he knows and does; feelings express state of the subject and relation to the object. Claiming that emotions are “a special form of relation to objects and phenomena reality due to compliance or non-compliance human needs", Russian psychologists emphasize two aspects these processes:

1) aspect reflections: feelings (emotions) are a specific form of reflection object values ​​for the subject;

2) aspect relationships: emotions are a form active relation of man to the world.

In contrast behaviorists Russian psychologists claim that emotions are not a specific type of reaction; emotion - it is a mental state experiences. Thus they reject thesis that emotional processes These are physiological processes. Emotions are not due to the "game" of internal instinctive forces, but the relation between man and the environment. Together with that domestic psychologists emphasize the significance of those physiological mechanisms that are a condition emergence of emotional processes. Their ideas about physiological mechanisms of emotions are based on the Pavlovian theories. Despite the differences between concepts discussed above the presence of many disagreements and contradictions, due to various methodological and ideological background, they do not form an incoherent conglomerate. In a detailed analysis of different approaches they have many common moments.

There is an opinion, that a person can avoid psychopathological disorders, solve many personal problems by simply giving up inappropriate emotional responses those. subjecting emotions to tight control consciousness. At the same time, according to others ideas, the best means in these cases is the release of emotions for their natural interaction with physiological processes and motor acts. In a person experiencing an emotion, you can fix changes in electrical activity facial muscles, some changes are observed and in the electrical activity of the brain, in functioning of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Emotions experienced person, provide direct impact on the quality of their work.

G. Spencer one was the first to consider emotions as a measurable part of consciousness. W. Wundt, developing this tradition, describe the emotional sphere of consciousness, evaluating it using three dimensions: pleasure, displeasure relaxation-tension and tranquility-excitement. Further these criteria were used by R.S. Woodworth and H.S. Schlosberg as a whole a number of studies of emotional expression. R.S. Woodworth suggested first working classification system facial expressions of individual emotions.

K.E. Izard was developed a system of objective expression coding basic emotions. He started by studying anatomy of the human face, identified what muscles and how are involved in that or other mimic expression. Izard noted that the facial expression emotions are usually short-lived it lasts from ½ to 4-5 seconds. When evaluating mimic expression of any emotion pay attention to tone. facial muscles. Facial muscles are different extraordinary mobility and expressiveness. emotional response can be understood as emergence of psychophysiological states.

On that emotion should be considered as a state for the first time N.D. Levitov. The emotional side of states reflected in the form of emotional experiences (fatigue, apathy, boredom, aversion to activity, fear, the joys of achieving success, etc.), but the physiological side is in change a number of functions, and first of all - vegetative and motor. And experiences and physiological changes are inseparable from each other, i. e. always accompany one another.

VC. Myager and A.I. Goshev studied the relationship between epinephrine and noradrenaline at different negative emotions. It is known that different hormones cause different emotions. Yes, norepinephrine deficiency. causes depression in the form of melancholy, and serotonin deficiency - depression, manifested as anxiety. Increase serotonin concentration in the brain improves mood. On hormonal regulation based and vegetative-humoral P. Henry's theory of emotions, who believes that each of the three negative emotions (anger, fear, depression) has its own type patterns of autonomic reactions.

PC. Anokhin highlights the importance of emotions consolidation, stabilization of rational behavior. Positive emotions, arising from the achievement of the goal, are remembered with appropriate situations can be recalled to get the same benefit result. Negative emotions, retrieved from memory, on the contrary, warn against re-doing errors, block the formation of a conditional reflex.

Feelings are next in the hierarchy and highest the emotional level of a person. Attempts to separate the concepts of "feeling" and "emotion" was made a long time ago. most clear the separation of emotions and feelings is given by A.N. Leontiev. He notes that emotion has a situational character, i.e. expresses estimated relation to cash or possible future situation, and to their activities in the situation. Feeling bears a distinctly expressed “subjective” (objective) character. Feeling is stable emotional relationship. The remark of A.N. Leontiev, that emotions and feelings may not coincide and even contradict each other (for example, deeply loved person a certain situation to call a passing emotion of displeasure, even anger). Feelings are expressed through certain emotions depending on the situation turns out to be an object to which this person has a feeling. So a direct match between feelings and emotions there is no: one and the same emotion can express different feelings, and the same feeling can express different emotions.

Emotions reflect the biological essence of man different from the feelings that reflect social essence and can reach a high degree of generalization (for example, love to motherland). Feelings are divided into three groups: moral, intellectual and aesthetic.

moral name the feelings they are experiencing person in connection with the awareness of conformity or inappropriate behavior requirements of public morality. They are reflect varying degrees of affection to certain people, the need for communicating with them, relating to them. To positive moral feelings include feelings benevolence, pity, tenderness, sympathy, friendship, duty, etc. to the negative moral feelings include feelings selfishness, enmity, envy, gloating, hatred, ill will and others

intellectual called feelings associated with cognitive human activity. For example, curiosity.

aesthetic name the feelings associated with the experience pleasure or displeasure caused by beauty or ugliness perceived objects, whether it be a phenomenon nature, works of art or people, as well as their actions and actions. This is an understanding of beauty, harmony, sublime, tragic and comic.

Yes, founder of scientific psychology Wundt believed that there is a special kind mental phenomena - feelings. These phenomena are infinitely varied. If a in the human psyche, according to W. Wundt, it is possible to allocate about fifty thousand sensations, then feelings could be count much more. Language is not has enough terms for all these phenomena.

Feelings are substantive in nature with the idea or idea of ​​some object.

feelings rarely experienced in a "pure" form. The mental state of the individual in each moment includes several feelings. Feelings develop on the basis of emotions when interaction with the mind. The senses - it's a form of reflection reality, expressing the subjective individual's attitude towards satisfaction his needs, to suit or inconsistency of something with his ideas.

Characteristics emotional response, constantly and clearly manifested in the individual, are its emotional properties (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9. Emotional human properties

C physiological point of view, emotional excitability is nothing but emotional readiness, i.e. readiness respond emotionally to meaningful irritants for the individual. emotional excitability contributes to efficiency some types of professional activities.

close in terms of emotional excitability is a property denoted as emotional responsiveness. According to V.V. Boyko, emotional responsiveness stable property of the individual is manifested in that it is easy, fast and flexible react emotionally to various impacts: social events, process communication, features of partners, etc. It is the willingness of the individual to respond “on oneself”, “on others”, “on business”, “on objects”, “to nature”, etc.

B the concept of "emotional stability", depending on the authors, are included various emotional phenomena what L.M. Abolin (1987), M.I. Dyachenko, V.A. Ponomarenko (1990) and others. Some authors consider emotional resilience as "emotional resilience" rather than functional human resistance to emotional conditions. J. Gilford (1959) considers emotional instability as mild excitability, pessimism, concern, mood swings. P. Fress (1975) as main characteristics of emotionality highlights emotional instability (neurotic) characterized by human sensitivity to emotional situations.

close to this understanding of emotional stability introduced by R. Cattell and et al. (1970) concept of "affective stability", which means the absence neurotic symptoms and hypochondriacal manifestations, calmness, stability interests. V.M. Pisarenko (1986) reviews emotional stability as personality trait that provides stability of sthenic emotions and emotional abstinence exposure to various stresses.

O.P. Sannikova (1982) studied the connection of emotionality with sociability. She showed that wide range of communication, activity of communication combined with its short duration characteristic of individuals with positive emotional attitudes, and narrow social circle, low activity of communication against the background of stability of relations - for persons with a tendency to experience negative emotions. To a similar the conclusion was reached by A.I. Krupnov, A.E. Olshannikova and V.A. Domodedov (1979).

Special place is occupied by hedonistic concepts, according to which human activity obeys the principle of "maximizing positive and minimizing negative emotions”, i.e. aims to achieve feelings of pleasure, enjoyment and avoiding suffering. For these concepts, emotions are motives for activity. Emotions perform the role of internal signals. They are internal in the sense that they themselves do not carry information about external objects, about their connections and relationships, about those objective situations in which any activity. The feature of emotions is in that they directly reflect the relationship between motives and fulfillment, activities that respond to these motives.

B works defending the existence pointless emotions are used psychiatric clinic data. However in general, the data in this area are not so much cast doubt on the obligatory objectivity of emotions, how many explain why in normal conditions, emotions are always objective. Most of the pathological pointless emotional states find surprisingly persistent tendency to objectification, giving rise to numerous types of phobias, manias, hallucinations. pointless emotional experiences are extremely unstable subjective formations.

Phenomenologically emotional phenomena reveal themselves having a dual structure - consisting of a specific subjective experience and some reflected content.

When emotional phenomenon is considered as a process that has in the phenomenological "stream of consciousness" its beginning and end, the opposite comes to the fore dependence - its conditionality processes of reflection of knowledge.

Spontaneous focus on emotional event ensures its identification and cognitive assessment. This score determines further development of the emotional process. When the subjective emotional event evaluation is not confirmed objective knowledge that has arisen emotional experience more or fades less quickly. If the subject makes sure that the occurrence full of emotional experience justified or when it is sufficient strongly - begun emotional-cognitive process develops in one way or another.

Very often the initial emotional phenomenon generates a complex emotional process, consisting of a number of interconnected and interacting experiences.

Essential changes in emotional flow processes are able to bring knowledge causes of conditioning directly emotional impact.

Function emotions can be described as induction plus or minus sanctioning carried out, carried out or upcoming activity.

Last decade of the twentieth century brought researchers awareness of another aspect of emotional spheres - people differ not only in what kind of emotions they have and how they flow, but also how they know how to deal with them, appears the concept of "emotional intelligence" and emotional competence.

like this Thus, the problem of emotional states considered one of the most important and complex problems of scientific psychology. In recent years of steadily growing knowledge related to to the realm of emotions. Researchers involved in physiology, neurology, etiology, physiological psychology and psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy - all of them are in direct contact with emotions. Many psychological directions went to the problem emotional states, tried discover and develop it. emotional sphere has great practical value for all fields of activity person.

How do you know if you are in a relationship with a narcissist? - Knife

Checklist: how to understand that you are in a relationship with a narcissist? - Knife

Family psychologist Caryl McBride has been helping people who are in close relationships with narcissistic personalities for over 30 years. Based on her professional experience, McBride came up with 50 self-test questions. The more often you answer "yes", the more likely it is that your partner or partner is prone to narcissism. And although a mentally healthy person may have these traits, their excess may indicate a narcissistic personality disorder. The checklist is suitable for men and women, hetero- and homosexual relationships.

  1. When something goes wrong, does your partner blame everyone but himself?
  2. Does your partner make you responsible for his bad deeds? (e.

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