With non judgemental awareness, it is suggested that mindful people are able to cultivate happiness a lot easier, which enables them to learn more about who they really are too!
Self doubt is a common issue and many are faced with the disconnection from others and a lack of understanding of self, questioning who we really are.
The antidote to this internal conflict is a strong sense of self, what researchers call “self-concept clarity.” When we know who we are, we experience greater self esteem and independence. That helps us cultivate better relationships and a sense of purpose in life.
But where does this inner confidence come from? In the past, that’s largely been a mystery to psychologists. But a recent study provides a clue: It may partly stem from the non-judgmental awareness that is mindfulness.
Where does inner confidence come from? Researchers at the University of Utah recruited over 1,000 undergraduate students, ranging in age from 18 to 53, to complete questionnaires about three traits:
The results showed that more mindful students reported higher well-being—and that a stronger sense of self partly accounted for that link.
In other words, if we dont expect ourselves to beat our flaws we may be more willing to take a clear look in the mirror.
(Participants skilled at observing didn’t have deeper self-knowledge, Hanley speculates, because the questions about observing focused on their ability to notice external states—everyday smells, the sun on their face—rather than internal ones.)
How might mindfulness and a strong sense of self work together to make us happier? Besides reducing the uncertainty and conflict of self-doubt, mindfulness and a strong sense of self may also have positive benefits—by allowing us to confidently pursue the goals and relationships that are most authentically important to us.
Also, if mindful people notice change and improvement in themselves, they can shed ingrained beliefs that are no longer true—like “I’m not successful enough” or “I’m too shy.”
This study is part of the latest wave of mindfulness research, where psychologists explore not just its benefits (i.e., greater well-being) but what exactly brings about those benefits. It doesn’t prove that mindfulness causes us to develop a stronger sense of self, but it does show a link between “trait mindfulness” (an individual’s baseline of mindfulness), well-being, and sense of self.
If future research confirms these findings, that might encourage more mindfulness practices and meditations to specifically target self-doubt and internal conflict, designed for people who struggle with those issues.
The data showed that students who were non judgemental about thoughts and feelings tended to reveal a clearer sense of self however those who were better observing the present showed lower self concept clarity.
“Being non-judgmental may increase the likelihood of accepting the self, which may increase the willingness of more mindful individuals to explore and examine the self—ultimately, being more familiar or friendly with themselves,” explains lead author Adam W. Hanley.