Defining Self-Concept for Positive Change

What is self-concept?

Self Concept by definition is “the mental image one has of oneself” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. It is self concept that awakens a personal awareness and helps build your self-esteem. For most of us, it’s easy to meet someone new and determine whether or not they meet your criteria for a relationship whether it be for friendship, acquaintanceship, business or political purposes. In fact, in a matter of seconds, we can make a personal determination of whether we like or dislike a person based on a few different factors. These factors include details such as: looks, speech, eye contact, common personality traits or life experiences, and even body language. It’s the quick, simple, reflex-like manner of judging others that affects our self concept. Self concept plays a major role in our individual success as human beings and professionals.

How are we impacted?

Our self concept affects our self esteem because we are literally turning our own eyes inward on ourselves. We may be able to turn off our thoughts, our emotions and true intentions from the world or we can even choose to change our mind about certain people. However, deep down we can’t hide from ourselves. Our core beliefs and our personal thoughts makes us self conscious. We know what we stand for, what validates us, what makes us feel alive, what we find purpose in, what makes us fall in love and what makes us happy as individuals. We also know what we don’t like, what we absolutely cannot tolerate and what emotions we feel society would frown upon. Our own physical self image, which is what we see when we look into a mirror plays a role in our self concept. This means that we also know what we find attractive and appealing and vice versa. So how is it exactly does all of this information and knowledge of self finds its way define overall success as a person? It’s actually quite simple.

Hierarchy of Needs

As people, we have basic needs which most of us are aware of. However, William Maslow, a psychologist in the 1940’s, took this concept to another level and he created a much more in-depth chart to give us a further look into what human beings really need.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which are on the basis of human motivation are:

1. Physiological Needs: What we need as human beings to survive, to avoid immediate death

2. Safety and Security: Financial, health, and personal security needs

3. Social Belonging: Family, intimacy, friendships

4. Self-Esteem: The need to be accepted and valued by others

5. Self-Actualization: Reaching one’s full potential

6. Self-Transcendence: The need for spirituality

According to Maslow, these are the needs of every human being. Self concept plays a role in numbers 2 through 6. These are the concepts that have a direct correlation of how you view yourself. Your concept of who you are as a person and how you are perceived by others is incredibly important in creating genuine relationships with your family, friends, and especially your life partner.

What brings us down

When we have a negative self concept, it’s because we are judging ourselves harshly with the false perception that others are judging us in a similar manner. Often these assumptions of how others will think and react are actually a direct result of how we judge others. This negative way of thinking about yourself and others will create serious issues that constantly dig at your happiness. When your thoughts are filled with doubt and self loathing, it will feel as if the entire world is doubting you, even when it isn’t. Every failure is magnified no matter how small or petty, and every flaw feels far worse than it actually is.

How we rise above

If you want to make genuine changes, if you want to reach your goals and live a life that allows you to feel more accomplished and genuinely be truly happy, you must change your mentality. Don’t be so quick to judge negatively, and do what makes you happy without getting hung up on the opinions of others. If you adopt a new way of thinking, you will attract other people who think like you, feel like you, and value the same things as you. It will be a confirmation that you are a valued and loved, which will give you the confidence to make healthier decisions. Look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and put a lot of thought about what makes you happy, let go of your doubts, and extend that courtesy to others.

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  • Jürgen Schulze
    Jürgen Schulze
    I believe loving yourself is probably the most freeing feeling you can experience. For me it comes and goes, but I'm working on it!
    March 22, 2019
  • Arthav Chawla
    Arthav Chawla
    Very good!
    March 23, 2019