Our Self-concept: What it is and why it is good to have one!

Who am I? – Am I one person or many people? – Can I be the same yet be different? – What makes me tick? – Do I need to change myself to fit in? Wow, so many questions yet can we find the right answers? Having an understanding of the self-concept can help to answer these questions.

Our self-concept is basically an idea of how we think and feel about ourselves, and how we describe to others who we are.

How we develop our self-concept is not straight forward because as we go through life, we all have different experiences that help to define our ideas of who we are and where we fit in. So the feedback that we get from our family, friends, the media and society can have an influence on the development of our self-concept.

Our self-concept can also reflect our personalities (I am mostly a happy/sad/outgoing/shy person), and can be defined by our social roles – son/daughter, student, and friend. What is obvious is that we are sometimes all sorts of people at different times and in different ways, BUT it is important to understand that we need to be aware of our constant self.

Imagine that our constant self is like the trunk of a tree – holding up all the branches. Each branch represents a different aspect of ourselves – daughter/son, friend, student, brother/sister, boyfriend/girlfriend etc., but the trunk remains strong and unchanged, and at the same time it allows branches to grow.

Having a positive self-concept is healthy as it allows us to be happy and confident. Having a positive self-concept means that we can stand up for what we believe in and not be afraid of being criticised by others, and it also gives us the courage to try new experiences.

So that is why it is really good to have a positive self-concept. Now take the time to get to know yourself – your best friend is really YOU.