The picture we have of our own selves is referred to as our self-concept. Many factors influence it, including our interactions with significant people in our lives. The term “self-concept” pertains to how someone perceives, thinks about, or evaluates themselves. Being conscious of oneself means having a self-concept.
Other self-concept examples are as follows:
- How you perceive your personal characteristics, including such whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert
- How you perceive your life roles, such as whether you consider yourself to be a parent, sibling, friend, or partner.
- Interests and passions or passions that are essential to your sense of self, such as sports participation or membership in a political party
- What do you feel about your interactions with the outside world, such as whether you believe you are making a difference in society
Our self-perception is significant since it influences our motivating factors, attitudes, and behaviors. It also influences how we feel about ourselves, including if we are proficient or have self-worth.
Our self-concept is more malleable when we are younger and still in the process of self-discovery and identity formation. These self-perceptions become increasingly detailed and organized as we grow older and gain knowledge of who we are and what is important to us.
Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, came to believe that self-concept is composed of three distinct components:
The ideal self is the human you aspire to be. This person possesses the characteristics or qualities for which you strive or wish to be known. It’s who you imagine yourself to be if everything went exactly as planned.
Self-image: Your self-image is how you perceive yourself right now. Physical characteristics, personality traits, and social roles are all factors in your self-image.
Self-esteem: How much you like, accept, and value yourself influences your self-concept. A variety of factors can influence self-esteem, including how others perceive you, how you believe you try comparing to others, and your contribution to society.
Self-concept does not always correspond to reality. Your self-concept is thought to be congruent when it is aligned. Your self-concept is incongruent if there is a discrepancy between the way you perceive yourself (your self-image) and who you desire you were (your ideal self). This inconsistency can have a negative impact on self-esteem.
Incongruence, according to Rogers, has its origins in childhood. When parents condition their affection for their children (for example, only conveying love if children “earn it” through certain behaviors and going to live up to the parents’ expectations), kids start to distort their memories of experiences that make them feel unworthy of their parents’ love.
On the other hand, unconditional love aids in the development of congruence. Children who have experienced such love, also known as family love, do not feel the need to constantly distort their remembrances in order to trust that other people will love and accept them exactly as they are.
Our interaction with others helps to shape our self-concept. Other people in our lives, in addition to close relatives and friends, can contribute to our sense of self-identity.
For example, one study discovered that the more a teacher believes in the abilities of a high-performing student, the greater that student’s self-concept.
The stories we hear can also aid in the development of our self-concept. One study, for example, discovered that female readers who were “deeply transported” into a plot about a leading character who played a conventional gender role exhibited a more feminist self-concept than those who were not as moved by the story.
Traditional and social media have an impact on self-concept development. When the media promotes certain ideals, we are more likely to adopt those ideals. And the more frequently these ideals are presented, the greater their influence on our self-identity and self-perception.
Self-concept is not stationary, which means it can shift. This process is influenced by our surroundings. Places that have a lot of meaning for us contribute meaningfully to our future self-concept through how we relate to them and how society relates to them.
The people with who we interact can also influence our self-concept. This is especially true for those in our lives who hold positions of leadership. They can have an effect on the collective self (the self in social groups) as well as the relational self (the self in relationships).
In some cases, a medical diagnosis can help people understand why they feel the way they do, such as when someone receives an autism diagnosis later on in life, eventually ensuring transparency as to why they feel different.
A percentage of other scholars have proposed various approaches to thinking about self-concept, as with many other topics in psychology.
Henri Tajfel, a social psychologist, established social identity theory, which asserts that self-concept is made up of two major components:
Personal identity: The characteristics and other qualities that distinguish you from others.
Social identity: Your membership in social groups such as sports teams, religions, political parties, or social class determines who you are.
According to this theory, our social identity impacts our self-concept, which in turn influences our emotions and behaviors. If we are participating in sports and our team loses a game, we may feel very sad for the group (emotion) or act against the winning group (behavior
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