Just as achieving peak physical health requires working on one’s core strength, so too achieving peak spiritual health requires working on one’s emotional core strength.

A person who has a strong core self will be able to take on most anything life throws at him. He will experience life with vitality, passion, and empowerment. He will be moving towards developing and actualizing his unique creative potential while being able to form deep intimate relationships without fear of losing himself.

Someone with a weak core self will find himself struggling with taking ownership of his life, developing his unique creative potential, and building stable intimate relationships.

Here are 12 questions to help you evaluate the strength of your core self.

Evaluate each question on a scale of 1-5. Be fully honest; no one but you will see this.

1. I accept myself fully with my limitations, weaknesses, and flaws without shame or self-hate.

2. I have the capacity to experience a wide range of feelings without being overwhelmed or paralyzed by them.

3. I take full responsibility for my life while refusing to blame others or circumstances.

4. I can experience deep closeness and emotional intimacy without fear of being abandoned or engulfed by the other person.

5. I am able to tell others the truth about how I feel with minimal anxiety.

6. I have the ability to consistently find creative and satisfying solutions to my problems and life challenges.

7. I have the ability to stick to commitments I make.

8. I feel deserving of having good things in life happen for me.

9. I am able to consistently assert myself in order to get my needs met without shame, guilt, or aggressiveness.

10. I can disagree with others and still respect and love them.

11. I handle criticism and rejection well and regain my equilibrium fairly quickly.

12. I am generally content with my portion and am not jealous or envious of others.

If your score is 50 to 60 you are a very solid and emotionally healthy person. And you didn’t need this test to tell you that because you and your friends already knew it! If you scored between 25 and 50 I suggest you consider doing some self-help work in order to improve your emotional core strength.

The real problem is if you scored 24 or below. Although this is not a scientific test, my guess is that such a score indicates that you are not an emotionally strong person and should seek out someone to help you work on yourself. Working with a good psychotherapist may be the most effective way to strengthen your core self. In the meantime, here are some suggestions that will also help.

1. Work on self-acceptance. This means becoming more aware of accepting your limitations, your feelings, your needs, and your past. The more we accept ourselves for who we are, the more we love ourselves and the stronger we feel. Inner conflict divides and weakens us. Acceptance gives us peace, wholeness, and strength.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. If comparing yourself to others increases your self-hate and de-energizes you, then it is mistake to do so and weakens your sense of self. There will never be another you. Use your energy to become the best you rather than trying to become a mediocre copy of someone else.

3. Don’t say yes when you mean no. Be honest about what you need and want. Take care of yourself and stop caring so much about what others think about you and trying to please them. Don’t agree to do something if you really don’t want to; it leads to resentment. When we are dishonest with ourselves we weaken ourselves. Live with integrity and you will become stronger.

4. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for your life. Become more mindful of the blame game you play in your head. Ultimately, the outcome of your life depends on you alone. Each of us is given the power to choose our path in life. No one can stop a person who has a clear vision of what he or she wants. The more we blame, the weaker we become. The more responsibility we take for our lives, the stronger we become.

5. Think for yourself. Don’t let others think for you. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Take ownership of your actions, beliefs, values, goals, and commitments. Live life on your terms, not someone else’s. The more you fight social pressure and think for yourself, the stronger you become.

6. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up because you make mistakes. In Judaism, we have the mitzvah to do teshuvah, to acknowledge our mistakes and work on improving ourselves. We all make mistakes. Instead of wallowing in guilt, brush yourself off, get up and work on correcting the mistake.

7. Know that no matter what, God always loves and values you. If you can fully embraces as fact that the Creator loves you and accepts you with all your flaws and limitations, it will empower and strengthen you.