Do you know that adults have a high degree of self-concept?
Of course you do. You’ve heard it numerous times. In fact, it’s been used so often that it now has become dented in all odd places and lost its teeth completely. It’s become so sickeningly smooth now that even when it rolls off our tongues we don’t stop to question whether or not its use was warranted.
So, what is self-concept, anyway?
To put it rather simply, it is “how you characterize yourself.” As we grow up, we begin to identify ourselves as different from others. So when Doreen says that she prefers being alone to being at a party, she’s identifying a “trait” that “defines” her personality, and thus, reflects her self-concept. On the other hand, if Doreen wants to be alone “for now” because she’s just had a squabble with her husband, we cannot deduce that a preference for being alone is one of her characteristics. Thus, self-concept isn’t defined by temporary mood-swings or transient events that result in temporary likes and dislikes.
Here are two different individuals and their self-concepts:
Sloth: I don’t mind living in an untidy room. The only order that makes sense to me is the one that I place for a Pizza. I revel in chaos. I think that I am misunderstood by almost everyone I know. This is fine because, if everyone understood me, I wouldn’t remain mysterious and interesting. Yes, I do think that I have an aura of mystery – but women, they go for looks. They like those athletic looking morons! They fail to see my rotundity as a symbol of my intelligence – right?
Froth: I am a fun-loving person. Always ready to party. My friends think that without me, parties are no fun. I agree with them. I love to talk and I think that I am a really good conversationalist. I am also very pretty, while being vivacious and bubbly. I think that good looks and money are the two most important things in this world. I feel bad about those who don’t have these and then have to study hard to get a scholarship for their higher studies.
Thus, self-concept is “the way people see themselves.”
Of course, Sloth and Froth have something called self-awareness, and also self-esteem; but we’ll talk about them later.
One dimension of my self-concept forces me to say, let’s see.
PS (Dated: December 25, 2009): I ended up writing Self-Concept-II.