Me, mySELF, & EI Part 3 – Understanding ‘The Self’ with Dr. Zelda Di Blasi – EP162

Me, mySELF, & EI Part 3 – Understanding ‘The Self’ with Dr. Zelda Di Blasi – EP162

Hi again & welcome to the series on Emotional Intelligence.
As I was putting together the outline of all the areas of focus for this series, it became obvious that before going into self-awareness, self-confidence and all other aspects of ‘self’, it would be valuable to dive into what is ‘self’ in it’s own right. To have self understood first before going further was my goal with this episode.  
Thanks for John McCarthy, head of Applied Psychology at UCC, I was connected with Dr. Zelda Di Blasi, and we recently recorded this one over zoom, all about ‘Self’.  
About Dr. Di Blasi  
Dr Zelda Di Blasi, MPsychSc, PhD, CPsychol (BPS) is co-director of the MA in Positive & Coaching Psychology. After completing her Masters in Health Psychology at University College Galway, founded by the Medical Research Council, Zelda completed her PhD/DPhil in Health Sciences at the University of York on the placebo effect and health care interactions.
Her interest in Positive Psychology evolved during her Post-Doctorate in Integrative Medicine and Health Psychology, when Zelda worked with Professor Susan Folkman at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). A that time, she received a Teaching Fellowship  from UCSF and San Francisco State University.
In 2006 Zelda took up her appointment as lecturer in the School of Applied Psychology in UCC, and later set up a Masters programme in Positive & Coaching Psychology, which she currently co-directs.  
Zelda has diplomas in Contemporary Yoga and Modern Dance, and an Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching accredited by the ICF and the EMCC. She is a certified Health & Wellness Coach with the Institute of Health Sciences, a HeartMath Coach/Mentor, and a Strengths Provider with CAPP (Centre of Applied Positive Psychology).    
During this interview we discussed:

  • Zelda’s background in Psychology and teaching
  • Doing her PhD on the placebo effect
  • How she discovered her interest for Psychology at the age of 18 and falling in love with the area
  • Zelda’s interest and passion for learning including Yoga, Mindfulness and Modern Dance and how this all connects in with the Mind, Body and Spirit
  • What is ‘the self’ and how does it develop?
  • Finding the answer to the question ‘who am I?’
  • How does ‘the self’ influence how we think
  • When is it formed?
  • Breaking down the self – what is it made up of?
  • The mirror test with a baby to show a sense of self has developed
  • Why we use it so naturally without thought?
  • Identity v Self – crossovers and comparisons
  • Self is more at the marco level
  • History of the self?
  • William James the first professor of psychology
  • Schools of Thought on it?
  • The role of Ego and how it compares to Self?
  • Value of Self-esteem, compassion and empathy
  • Emphasis on self-compassion more than self-esteem
  • The Self and spirituality
  • Is Self an Illusion? Or is it real?


  • Ted Talks worth checking out on Self
    • Christine Neff - The space between self-compassion and self-esteem
    • Daniel Gilbert – Talk on Happiness – affective forecasting


  • Biases that exist on self
    • the illusion of transparency – eg presenting and anxious about this – we are over estimating what others see in us


  • the spotlight effect – eg you feel like you’re on stage and with a spotlight on you – but the fact is people aren’t looking at you in that way – the cool v nerdy t-shirt example


  • Affective forecasting – what you think will make you happy or unhappy – turns out we are not very good


  • Durability bias – how will you feel if you get a promotion at work? How long will this feeling last? Not that long….for some more than others


  • Just being aware of these biases helps and focusing on the present!


  • How to get a better sense of self in the world we live in now?


  • Tools that you can use to better understand Self
    • The Best Possible Self?
      • 4 days visualizing what this looks like for you
      • 10 mins a day
      • Do it in a real relaxed space
      • Connect with the feeling
      • What comes up and what the image is?
      • What your dream or ideal self looks like?
      • Then devise the steps to take to get there!


  • Visualization tools & Vision boards
  • Taking one small step at a time
  • The value of journaling each day helps to learn more about self
    • 6 minute journal
    • Morning pages (30mins)
    • The home retreat you have now!


  • Random acts of kindness


  • What Zelda is working on now – the Book on Pleasure!


If you’re interested in more details on what was covered in this episode, would like to explore your own Emotional Intelligence deeper, I’d be happy to discuss this further and look at coaching opportunities.  
Please do get in touch via email at [email protected] or connect in over any of the social channels - @robofthegreen

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