Self-concept refers to beliefs that one has about self. They include elements like gender roles, academic performance, racial identity and sexuality. Self-concept provides an answer to the Who am I question. Generally, self-concept is a term that used in reference to how an individual perceives or thinks about themselves.
To know about oneself, an individual must have a concept of themselves. The concept refers to how one thinks about themselves and how they evaluate themselves. The concept can also be defined as the belief of an individual, about herself or himself including their attributes, what and who they are.
It is important to note that self-concept is different from self-awareness. Self-awareness refers to extent of self-knowledge definition, consistent and applicability to current dispositions and attitudes of an individual. Self-concept is also different from self-esteem. Self-concept is a descriptive or cognitive component of an individual while self-esteem is opinionated or evaluative.
To for a whole self, self-concept comprises of self-schemas of an individual and it interacts with self-knowledge, self-esteem and social self. It is inclusive of the past, present and the future selves. Future selves represent ideas of an individual of what they may become, their wishes or even what they fear becoming in the future. Some behaviors can be caused by future or possible selves.
Past or future selves’ perceptions are related to current selves perceptions. According to self-appraisal theory, people tend to maintain positive self-evaluation by creating a distance between the negative self and positive self. They pay greater attention to positive self. Additionally, people tend to perceive past self as less favorably.
Self-concept is usually derived from various factors. These include some personality traits, life goals, personal values and how one looks. Your role and place in life also influences self-concept. Through self-concept, babies start understanding the world and how it relates to them. Developmental process is heavily influenced by their relationships with friends, mentors and relatives.
During childhood, self-concept is tied to physical or concrete things such as looks, skills levels and items. Children learn about different things such as intrinsic or inner characteristics and their psychological differences. This is because they develop a network of mentors and peers who they compare themselves with. In adulthood, self-concept becomes a nebulous idea whose organization is based on things that are relevant to an individual.
It is important to note that self-concept is always changing on the basis of personal feelings, belief systems as well as attitude changes.
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