The Importance of Awareness, Acceptance, and Alignment With the Self: A Framework for Understanding Self-Connection


  • Kristine Klussman Orcid
  • Nicola Curtin Orcid
  • Julia Langer Orcid
  • Austin Lee Nichols Orcid


We provide a theoretical framework for what it means to be self-connected and propose that self-connection is an important potential contributor to a person’s well-being. We define self-connection as consisting of three components: 1) an awareness of oneself, 2) an acceptance of oneself based on this awareness, and 3) an alignment of one’s behavior with this awareness. First, we position the concept within the broader self literature and provide the empirical context for our proposed definition of self-connection. We next compare and contrast self-connection to related constructs, including mindfulness and authenticity. Following, we discuss some of the potential relationships between self-connection and various aspects of mental health and well-being. Finally, we provide initial recommendations for future research, including potential ways to promote self-connection. In all, we present this theory to provide researchers with a framework for understanding self-connection so that they can utilize this concept to better support the efforts of researchers and practitioners alike to increase individuals’ well-being in various contexts.