Core Self: Introduction

The term “core self” refers to those personal traits and qualities that are basic and fundamental to us, and that remain constant over time. Core self is that deep part of our character that forms the foundation of who we are. The development of the core self results from interactions between our innate traits, our environment, and choice.

Innate traits are essentially the biologically determined and hardwired characteristics that are unique to each of us, including all aspects of our bodies and brains. Some people also believe that we have a soul with innate spiritual traits that were given to us by God. Our environment includes the physical conditions in which we live, the relationships we experience, and society and institutions with which we interact.

As we interact with our environment, we respond by making choices. The choices we make are guided or influenced by our innate traits. Some of our choices are completely conscious and intentional. Other choices may be far less conscious and may even seem automatic. The choices we make in turn often evoke responses from our environment, which again brings new choices from us, influenced again by our innate traits.

Through this cycle involving innate traits, environmental influences, and choice, certain personality traits are encouraged and developed while others are discouraged and abandoned. Beginning nearly from the moment of our birth—if not before—this cycle leads to patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviors that are unique in each of us. Some of these patterns develop so early in life that they become essential, life-long traits. These traits define the core self.

This series will help you investigate several components that are involved the development of core self. The understanding gained from this can be very helpful. Not only can it help you see more clearly who and what you are, but it can also help reveal who and what you are not. This clarity can be quite valuable as you begin working toward gender wholeness.

This series is included in the “thoughts and feelings” section because core self is the foundation of our thoughts and feelings. Understanding this is essential to comprehending our thoughts and feelings.

The lessons in this series will investigate:

  • Innate traits, which include the biology of our brain and body, our temperaments, and our spiritual or soul traits
  • The impact of the environment on our innate traits
  • The role of choice in the formation of our core self