Self-concept is a product of our interactions with our environment, which would include our families, our friends, and the society in general.
Studies have shown that only when a child is about a year old, it begins to show signs of self-concept. Thus, it can be inferred that self-concept grows with age. As a person continues to interact with the environment, the self-concept increases – more dimensions are added in form of abstract generalizations (He said that I don’t mix with people, I must be an introvert.) Note the “self” in self-concept – My self-concept thus, could (and usually is) different from another person’s concept of me.
It’s obvious, especially to those who understand constructivism, that self-concept is dynamic in an exponential sort of way. My perception is different from another person’s because the experiences that led to my self-concept were different. Whatever new I have perceived from the environment would now be processed and integrated into my self-concept, making it change in a specific manner!
Let’s get back to Sloth and Froth. They’ve both received a phone call from their dates – canceling the date!
Sloth: It must be because I look like a sloth-ball.
(Feels depressed – goes into the kitchen – opens the refrigerator – makes himself a sandwich.)
Froth: Good riddance! He wasn’t good enough for me.
(Feels happy – dresses up – goes shopping with her girlfriend.)
Nevertheless, self-concept is not a chaotic array of opposing characteristics. It is logical and the traits identified by an individual for creating the self-concept are usually in harmony with one-another. Thus, Froth is unlikely to label herself “intelligent” while Sloth would never dream of visualizing himself as a “desirable hunk.” (Fantasies notwithstanding!)