The Characteristics of the Health Self

Fifteen Characteristics of a Healthy Self

In 2000, I attended the inaugural conference of the Self Research Centre outside Sydney Australia.  For the conference, I wrote a paper discussing the structure and functions of the self, and based upon my literature review, concluded the paper by introducing15 characteristics of a healthy self.  I am presenting the fifteen characteristics here for your reading pleasure and debate.

An individual with a healthy sense of self:


  1. has a strong sense of autonomy without sacrificing the benefits of culture
  2. is spontaneous in expressing feelings, and is able to express feelings deeply and with aliveness
  3. is creative
  4. is capable of identifying unique desires and defending them when necessary
  5. has an uncanny sense of self-awareness, not fearing the shadow side of the self
  6. has self-conceptions in line with reality
  7. is capable of maintaining a positive pleasure to pain balance, experiencing normal levels of depression and anxiety
  8. feels entitled to mastery experiences and pleasure
  9. is able to spend quality time alone, privately and in public (e.g., going to restaurants or movies alone)
  10. is capable of commitment to goals and others
  11. can count on others when he needs social support
  12. is capable of role playing, displaying false selves when needed, but not allowing them to interfere with achievement of valued objectives
  13. is problem focused; can maintain focus on critical tasks without ruminating on the inane
  14. has frequent experience of the Oceanic Feeling, a sublime union with the surroundings
  15. accepts others regardless of differences