Our perception is often skewed by what the media or what others deem as attractive and beautiful. Self-concept affects individuals directly through interpersonal communications and how others perceive several aspects of our behaviour and attitudes. Self-Esteem and Body Image are also common factors which help define who we are, and are significant in today’s society. These three issues today, can have a huge impact on an individual’s development and overall personality.
By definition, perception is “is our sensory experience of the world around us and involves both the recognition of environmental stimuli and actions in response to these stimuli” (Cherry). The Self-Concept is not only how individuals perceive others, but it is how one will perceive themself as well. Interpersonal Communications is evident in everyone’s daily lives and in order to communicate with others, one must first understand one’s self. This will lead to the development of Self-Esteem and Body Image.
Self-Concept will affect the way individuals communicate to one another. According to the basic communication model, there will always be a sender and receiver. The complexity of the Self-Concept is how the sender and receiver interpret the message. This process of communication involves how individuals feel about others and more importantly self-knowledge or self worth. The perceptions that the individual believes of others, will as a result, have an affect of how communication is reciprocated and the influences of their response.
In order to fully understand how an individual may perceive a particular situation, the value of Self-Concept must be understood first. The Self-Concept strictly defined is “the totality of our beliefs, preferences, opinions and attitudes organized in a systematic manner, towards our personal existence. [Simply put], it is how we think of ourselves and how we should think, behave and act out our various life roles” (Sincero 2012). This process can be quite complicated and often times it will involve of an individual’s emotions, intellect, social abilities, health, accomplishments, and physical appearance.
The Self-Concept theory involves the Transactional Analysis (Theory Model) by Eric Berne. He believes that verbal communication (face-to-face) is what drives human social relationships and psychoanalysis. Psychologists have then gone further to divide the self-concept into two frameworks: conceptual and operational. The Conceptual aspect refers to the material self, the social self, and the spiritual self. The material self involves all tangible things that an individual owns, such as one’s body, one’s home, and one’s possessions.
It is the material self and these things “that we are the most deeply affected by because of our investments of self within these things. The more we invest of ourselves in these objects, the more attached to them we inevitably are to them” (James). The social self refers to how individuals will interact with others where each interaction may change the individual, these relationships with others may have a unique effect on the individual. The social self is also based on how individuals interact with society as a whole.
The reactions of others are analyzed to contribute to the idea of a social Self. The social self will have “multiple divergences; which version of Self is present is contingent upon which of a particular social group one finds one’s self in. Seemingly, possessing multiple social Selves and maintaining the right face depending on social situation can be chaotic or harmonious. In attempts to maintain order between different variations of social Self, an individual’s sense honor regulates and determines what behaviours are or not moral, reasonable or honorable. (James). Lastly, the spiritual self consists of in an individual’s internal thoughts, morals, and values. Some individuals feel that the spiritual self connects or communicates with God. The spiritual self is considered to be the “intimate” self because “becoming introspective can make spiritual acts entirely mindful, conscious processes—furthering our understanding of an intimate, spiritual self” (James). The operational aspect of Self-Concept involves the measurement of it and how the self can be developed through self-esteem and behavioural levels.
In this way, self-concept is deemed the “cognitive representation of the self and is primarily focused on the knowledge people have of themselves. Self-esteem, which involves the self and emotion, focuses on the way people generally feel about themselves and the extent to which they view themselves as worthy or lovable. Self-presentation, a facet of behaviour, refers to the ways in which people attempt to convey a certain image to others” (Diaz 2011). Self-Esteem also defines who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
Individuals often depend on how others perceive and evaluate them and therefore are encouraged to portray certain impressions of themselves. An individual with a high self esteem tend to feel good about themselves as they have everything they want in terms of the material self, and they have a good sense of belonging (social self). Individuals with high self-esteems usually have positive energy (Optimistic), respect themselves, respect others, appreciate others, and more importantly they have a strong sense of self acceptance.
Individuals with low self-esteem lack confidence, are often pessimists, and always seem to worry about what others think. This shows that low self-esteemed individuals have not yet fully accepted themselves. The amount of self-esteem that individuals have, depends on several factors such as: how one was raised, life experiences, attitudes of peers, and a really big one is media. Self-Esteem and body image are becoming huge issues in today’s society. The media affects the level of confidence and self-esteem in individuals in the sense that attractiveness and what is socially accepted is in fact the norm.
The media will have unrealistic body images of beautiful models that can ultimately lower an individual’s self-esteem. The bombardment of advertisements promotes self-esteem and self worth to be something beyond the individual. Body image is based on feeling and self-esteem, rather “it is very vulnerable to distortion” (Rubinstein). Everyone is special and unique in their own way and nobody, not even the media should be able to tell people how they should look or act. This will take away from individuality and the whole idea of the Self-Concept itself.
Self-Concept has so many different concepts and theories that pertain to the development and idea of it. Although our perception is skewed by society, Self-Concept and Self-Esteem must be maintained through positive thinking, where this type of attitude can open a new world for you. In changing the way one thinks, this new behaviour can allow individuals to learn new skills and more importantly, this can lead to a “happier” you.
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