Damaged Self vs Healthy Self

In this article, we examine the most common aspects & implications of the damaged sense of Self in an individual.


As noted in The War on the Self, there are so many factors that result in damaging our true sense of Self. Building upon the Idea of the Self, here I attempt to classify the most common aspects of the damaged self.

  • The first aspect of the damaged self is the weight of regrets & guilt we carry from the past. I call this damaging, since we cannot change our past. And therefore, carrying regrets & guilt serves no purpose.
  • Related to the future self, we have expectations. The truth is that life is transient & future unpredictable. The expectations we bear act as a liability on our future Self.
Most common aspects of the Damaged Self
  • Related to our Social Identity, it is damaging to identify based on titles. It is also damaging to identify based on social labels. See my article on Mary Calkins – a renowned psychologist who suggested that the Self is indiscernible, & not definable.
  • Related to our Self Worth, it is damaging to measure ones Self worth based on material wealth.
  • Related to our Self Image, it is damaging to qualify one’s beauty exclusively based on looks
  • Related to Self Esteem, it is simply damaging to not love one’s self. More than often, it is due to the lack of self awareness.
  • Finally, related to Self Awareness, it is damaging to assume that one knows everything about one’s true Self.
The above provides the respective counter narratives to the Damaged Self, to illustrate the Idea of a Healthy Sense of Self.

The damaged self has been analyzed in many aspects by different psychologists. Two notable theories related to the damaged self are the True Self vs False Self hypothesis by Donald Winnicott, and the Real Self vs Ideal Self by Carl Rogers. These are discussed in my article titled “True Self vs False Self. Real Self vs Ideal Self“.