Self-concept is described as a collection of reasonably unwavering beliefs about ourselves that are rooted in us. It includes our conceptions of our individuality as well as the characteristics that set us apart from others. Self-concepts are cognitive constructs that may include attitudes, evaluative, or material assessments, which are mostly used to make sense of the environment, protect one’s sense of fundamental value, and focus on one’s goals (Manning, 2007). In this respect, people determine who they are by assessing various characteristics such as facial characteristics, personality qualities, distinguishing desires, values, gifts, and social functions, among others. As a result, this article focuses on self-concept and the factors that affect it. It is worth noting that people have various strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values. The elements are instrumental in determining or rather expounding on the self-concept.
The self-concept is influenced by self-esteem. How one perceives him/herself is contingent on the self-esteem. For instance, a person who feels good about his/her qualities tends to be positive regarding life. “I’m glad that I am athletic,” is a good example of someone with positive self-esteem that shapes the self-concept. Therefore, when one views his/her strengths, there are high chances of shaping a positive perception of life. Individual strengths lead to high self-esteem thus shaping our self-concept (Chapter 2: The Self-Concept Defined). On the other hand, our weaknesses result in low self-esteem; hence, drawing a different self-concept. For example, “I am embarrassed about being so tall,” illustrates a negative perception that is influenced by low self-esteem. As portrayed by these examples, self-esteem influences communication in various ways. Individuals with high self-esteem are effective communicators while those with low self-esteem have communication challenges.
Self-concept is also molded by others. In other words, as people relate with one another, they develop an identity based on the different individuals who they have a relationship. Although characters are inherited from parents, most traits are influenced by the society around us. For instance, teachers, coaches, relatives, or close friends can influence one’s identity, especially during the youthful age (Mark, 2012). Self-concept is also dependent on the cultural beliefs as well as values. People have a certain attitude or behave in a particular manner due to the cultural beliefs. A good example can be drawn from the difference between Asian cultures and Western countries. The Asian culture tends to promote group identity, whereby one gains identity by associating with a particular group. On the contrary, Western cultures have the propensity of championing individualism. Moreover, the cultures shape values, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. Evidently, the cultures across the globe are quite distinctive, which can be demonstrated by the high tourism rates (Mark, 2012). People travel to experience the unique cultures. For example, most people travel to China or other Asian countries to experience Chinese medicine among other unique aspects. Fields like tourism thrive due to the cultural effect on self-concept. However, the self-concept influenced by culture can result in negative consequences such as terrorism and wars.
One of the most prominent human attitudes entails judging others harshly than ourselves. In other words, even if one does something wrong, there is a tendency of judging him/herself charitably than others. Another human misconception involves paying attention to negative things than positive ones (Manning, 2007). The behaviors or rather attitudes are ingrained in the human nature to the extent that they happen inevitably.
Overall, self-concepts help one to draw meaning from the world and its surroundings. From this element, individuals become cognizant of their strengths and weaknesses. It is also evident that self-concept is influenced by the cultural values, attitudes, and beliefs. Moreover, it is dependent on self-esteem and individuals who people relate to the society.
Chapter 2: The Self-Concept Defined. (n.d.).
Manning, A., Maureen. (2007). Self-Concept and Self-Esteem.
Mark, R. Leary, and June, T. (2012). Handbook of Self and Identity. 69-104.