Self-Concept, Self-Image and Self Perception

by MuminBusiness

What is your self esteem like? Isn't it funny how two people can approach the same situation in two different ways. What makes the difference?

Self concept - Defined as the mental image you have of yourself, based on past and future events. Some of these events have a permanent effect on your self concept.

Self-Image - Another way of saying the same thing, no doubt but different people use different words to mean the same thing. It takes into consideration the way others think of us as well. What words do you use to describe yourself when no one is listening? Those words encompass your self - image.

Self perception - An awareness of one's self, the characteristics that make up your self. What attitudes result in what behaviours?

All three talk about knowing one's self. They are not confined to self-criticism or self-loathing which can be where a lot of people end up when looking at one's own characteristics. It is knowing one's self and choosing the things that work best for us.

Our self-concept can build us up if we become aware of our innermost thoughts and control them.

Two Stories

Jill walked up the stairs. All her bounce was drained right out of her. She felt sapped and just wanted to sit down and cry. No, not cry, but wail about the day - Wail about her life. It was the final straw; All her hopes and dreams seemed to be shattered and she had nothing to show for any of the effort she felt she had put into it.

Sylvia ran up the stairs. Her boundless energy made people tired just looking at her. She was excited and full of life. She was somewhat disappointed by the events of the day but well, these things happen at times. No point getting too stressed by it all. Tomorrow was another day for figuring out what to do next. It almost felt like an adventure – a chance to put herself to the test.

So what had happened to these two? Exactly the same thing! Today, they had been made redundant from their jobs – Yes, they had been fired!

Redundancy and Self Concept

Quite unexpectedly, they had both been surprised to find out that the company they worked for, just a little firm that printed personalised cards for an online audience, had actually not been making as much money as they had thought. The company had filed for bankruptcy and no one had seen the managing director in days! An administrator from the bank had popped in and told them that the company was being liquidated and they were to pack their things and leave the premises.

Jill and Sylvia reacted completely differently to the same situation. Jill was devastated and showed it in her attitude, her seeming depression and her general demeanour. She felt defeated and nothing could be done for her. Sylvia, on the other hand, felt full of life and hope for the future. She knew this was just part of her journey and this was only a stepping stone.

What made them react so differently? Their self-concept.

What a difference Self Concept can make

Jill felt the loss of her job as a personal slur against her. She was uncertain about her ability to survive without her job. She believed a lie about herself which was that she was her job or her job determined who she was.

Sylvia, however, knew this was a blip in her life. She was going to have fun seeking out a new position and she just knew that it would be even better than her old job. She might even consider doing her own thing.

Yes, their self-concept was pretty different. One felt like a failure based on external factors and the other realised this was external to her. The only thing that counted in this situation and also determined the final outcome is their reaction to an external issue.

How do you react to things that happen to you? Do you decide that in some way, it is all your or their fault? Or are you very aware that some situations are just not an issue of blame? Are you able to stay positive despite the negativity surrounding you?

Most importantly, What is your Self Concept? Do you know who you are?

Updated: 03/14/2012, MuminBusiness
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