The Self- Concept
Self-concept has continuously been neglected for over a decade now. But it is now enjoying renewed attention and popularity from both practitioners and researchers. Many success and setbacks which different people go through in life are related closely to the way different individuals have learned to look at themselves as well as the relationship they have with other people. Self generally means the conscious reflection of an individual in regard to an individual’s own being and identity as a separate object from the environment and others ( Hattie 2009). The self -concept can be expressed as the whole of an organized system that constitutes complexity and energy of the scholarly altitudes, beliefs and views which every individual deems as true regarding her or his life.
The self -concept thus possesses some major qualities that can define it. As researchers concur, it is organized and possesses a quality characterized by harmony and orderliness hence stable. Each one possesses so many countless insights that relate to an individual’s personal existence. Each one of these perceptions is also orchestrated with the other perceptions. It is this organized and stable quality of the self concept that an individual consistency of personality. Thus for an individual to have consistent and dependable personality he or she must have self concept that possesses qualities of stability, consistency and tends to be resistant to change.
The self concept is also dynamic. All the items that occur in the world are not just apparent to an individual but he or she perceives them with a connection to his own self concept. The growth of self-concept is a process that goes on and on. For an individual with a strong personality there is always the continuous attainment of new thoughts and the removal of the old ones all through his life. Thus, individuals throughout their lifetime they will struggle to act in a manner that is related with their self concepts in spite of whether such behaviors are hurtful or not. The self concept in most instances precedence over an individual’s physical body. Thus one will opt to sacrifice safety and physical comfort to gain satisfaction emotionally. Self-concept constantly will protect itself from the loss of self esteem because this may lead to production of anxiety ( Allen 2001).
The self concept has a third quality which describe how it is developed. The self concept first and foremost is learned. It is not congenital and no individual has it at birth. Self concept thus slowly emerges and develops in an individual’s initial months of his life and through many repetitive experiences it goes through shaping and also reshaping. Thus, since it is learned and doesn’t appear more instinctive instead of a product to serve a social function and which goes through a chain of experiences in its development, it consists of relative limitless possibilities that are required for actualization and development. Due to their own previous experiences, individuals identify themselves in different ways from the way others look at them. Individuals also perceive the many different aspects that make them up at varied times with a difference in the degree of clarity.
In development of self concept an individual is more resistant to changing a belief where that individual’s self concept highly depends on how essential that particular belief is. In the same way that “Rome was not built in a single day” self concept also takes time. Thus the basic perceptions to one are quite stable and they take time to change. Thus in counseling focusing on the inner self becomes a valuable tool. Opportunities for growth are limited when self concept defends itself from assault. Individuals develop self concept in the course of a process which involves doing some action and then reflecting later on their subsequent actions and what they have been told by others about the same. A persons reflection after taking action is based on possible and actual actions in comparison to what the person was expecting and the expectations that other people and also to accomplishments and characteristics of others. Self concept is thus not natural and therefore has to be developed and built by the interaction of individuals with the environment and reflection on that contact. This is the vibrant aspect of self concept and is very vital as it shows that it is possible to change and modify it.
A relationship exists between the self esteem and the self concept. Self esteem refers to the emotional or affective characteristic of the self and generally reflects the common feelings and value that we place on ourselves which simply means the self worth that one attaches to himself or herself. There are several components that make self concept. They are academic, social physical and transpersonal (Wylie 2003). Self esteem is physical aspect of self –concept. It relates to things like how one looks and ones abilities. Ones abilities are determined by the opinions they hold about themselves. If one holds the opinion that he or she is incapable of dancing then that person no matter the efforts he or she may never be able to dance. This is simply because of the low motivation in regard to self-concept that they posses. A great number of researches have shown that self concept forms the basis for all the behaviors that are motivated. Thus, self concept leads someone to keep a high self esteem. This supports the ones paradigm or worldwide viewed idea and an individual’s relationship to that which provides the circumstances and the boundaries within which an individual forms a vision about possibilities. This is one major issue that faces the youth and the children today.
Self concept affects an individual’s behavior. For example one’s self concept which relates to academics illustrates the degree of an individual’s performance at school s well as the demonstration of his ability to learn an academic content will affect how such a person will behave when it comes to academic. Many success and drawbacks that different people experience in life are quite similar to the way different individuals have learned to assess themselves as well as their relationship with other individuals. Some individuals believe that they are not good in subjects like science, maths, languages and arts among others whereas some individuals believe that they are good in those subjects. The belief that an individual holds about their capabilities of certain subjects shapes their behavior towards those subjects (Allen 2001). For example one can form an opinion that math’s is a very difficult subject for him or her. This opinion causes that person to hate that subject or even hate that teacher. This person may also develop this mind set and because of this altitude he or she may never be able to understand the subject. Self concept affects individual in several other ways.
As discussed earlier individuals develop self concept in the course of doing some action and then later thinking about their actions and what other people have similarly told them about these deeds. Simply people will change the way they acted to suit the new ideas that have come them after reflecting how people think about their actions and the outcome of their action. This is dynamic aspect of self concept that would widely affect an individual’s behavior. If people don’t approve of an action and sometimes they are wrong an individual tends to take their opinions and shape his or her behavior inclined to the opinion of the people. This is because individuals throughout their lifetime, they will struggle to engage in behavior that tend to relect their self concepts whether such behaviors are hurtful or not. Self- concept in instances such as this takes precedence over an individual’s physical body.
Hattie J. (2009) Self-concept. Michigan. Earlbaum Associates.
Wylie, R. (2003) The Self-concept: Theory and research on selected topics. United States. Cengange learning.
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