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(Pre-Final Coverage)

SELF-CONCEPT
AND ITS
DYNAMICS

SELF-
CONCEPT-
WHO I AM?
Of course you know who you are. You know your first
and last name. You know where and when you were born,
and you have no trouble identifying your ethnic
background.
What makes you unique and special are your thoughts,
your beliefs, and your dreams. You have a unique past
history, and this set of experiences together with your
genetic make up- the combination of genes you inherited
from your parents-is unlike anyone else’s

SELF CONCEPT AND ITS DYNAMIC

* What is Self-Concept?

Self-Concept- refers to the consciousness and


unconsciousness of perceptions or feeling about us with
regards to our worth as a person.
.
* When can you say that a person has low, poor or negative
Self-Concept?
A person is said to have a low, poor or negative self-
concept when he sees little or no worth and feels unhappy
about him/her self.

*How can you know that a person has a high, good, positive
self-concept?
A person is said to have, good or positive self-concept
when he sees himself to have worth and feels good about
him/her self.

*Self-Concept is essential to every individual’s life?


Do you know where this our self-concept originated?

WHERE DID THESE PERCEPTIONS AND FEELINGS OF ONE'’ WORTH


COME FROM?
*When does self-concept start?

1. Largely it begins during our early development;


how we were told about who we are and what worth
we have as individuals.
2. In the process, we acquire picture of ourselves
and we begin to qualify our experiences according
to this view that we have of our self.
3. We become SUBJECTIVE to our experiencing of reality

*.Can you cite one example of Self-Confidence?


For example, If I have view myself in a negative way,
my experiences will be more of a reinforcement of this
view until I arrive at a set of negative thoughts and
feeling about myself. This pattern of thoughts and
feeling makes up our self-concept.

THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF SELF-CONCEPT

There are basically three Dimensions of self-concept,


these are the following;

SELF-IMAGE
 What is Self-Image?
 It refers to all our perceptions and feelings about
ourselves with regard to our physical and social
appearance including our genetic inheritance, such
as sex and race; our physical attributes such as
height, built, weight and others. Our social
appearance includes our name, roles, status and
titles.

SELF-CONFIDENCE
*What is Self-confidence?
 It refers to perceptions and feelings about our
worth with regards to our capabilities. This
involves our ability to do things, to achieve and
to develop more competencies.

SELF-ESTEEM

 What does self-Esteem mean?


Refers to our perceptions and feelings about our
worth with regards to our lovability. This refers to
our basic ability to love and be loved.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE TOWARDS A HEALTHY SELF-


CONCEPT?
You must begin by assessing your present self-concept
level. Is your self-concept basically positive or
negative? Then explore which area in the different
dimensions you are weak.

 How will you know if you have a healthy self-concept


in these three dimensions?
In the area of SELF-IMAGE, a person who feels he
suffers from some form of physical or social handicap
develops a low self-image.
 How? What criteria can you cite to support it?

For instance, just by saying the following to your


self;
~ I have too many pimples.
~ I feel ugly.
~ I’m too stout.
~ I’m too thin.
~ I’m cross-eyed.
~ I’m just a janitor.
These serve as hindrances for one to feel good about
his appearance. As a result a woman develops hang-ups
and some forms of neurotic behavior as security
blankets. For example, extreme redness, putting too
many make-up; insistence on being addressed with titles
such as “doctor” or “attorney”, “sir” / “madam”, and
even collecting Mercedes Benzes.

A person with positive self-image recognizes some of


his physical and social limitation but does not allow
these to deter him from feeling good about his
appearance. He learns how to acknowledge and accepts
his limitations and therefore, feels at home with
himself. Perhaps the key element to the ability to
transcend physical and social limitations is his
ability to see beyond “external and stress on inner
beauty”. Remember the famous quotation from the Little
Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery: “It is with the
heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is
invisible to the eye “. His motto is-“I feel happy just
being me”.

WHAT ABOUT THE SELF-CONFIDENCE DIMENSION?

People who believe they are able and capable are those
said to have self-confidence. Self-confidence paves the
way to productivity because the person believes in his
potentials. He allows these potentials to develop by
trying. He is not afraid of making mistakes. He does not
fall into traps of “being perfect”. The development of
his abilities is measured within his own standards and
improvements.

In contrast a person who lacks self-confidence always


says, “I can’t”. “Don’t count on me “. “I will not foul
it up”, “I’ll never make perfect”. Because he doesn’t
believe in himself, his potentials seldom flourish and
grow.

Common roots that affect a person’s confidence level


are: too much stress on achievements, perfection as
standards comparing oneself with others, fear of making
mistakes, or grade. These factors make the person less
courageous to try out potentials and abilities.

WHAT ABOUT SELF-ESTEEM?

A person with high self-esteem believes he is


lovable. He does not reject and put himself down when
other seem to reject him. He does not subject his ability
to conditions, such as believing he is lovable only if
he is good and looking or if he can achieve. He believes
in his lovable nature being a creature of a loving GOD.
If he let the others happen to love him, he celebrates
it. But he does not let the love of others can be a factor
in determining his lovability. He simply believes in his
love-ability. I am a loving creature and therefore I can
love. A person with a high self-esteem can love freely
and spontaneously.

A person with a low self-esteem does not love


himself. He may doubt the love of others or may
feel he has to work extra hard to earn people’s
love. He is the first to reject himself. Usually
this is the result of the upbringing that he is very
conditional, I am lovable if only I can get good grades,
If I am hardworking, etc. A person with low self-esteem
finds it harder to love others.

IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE TO SUFFER FROM ALL THE THREE


DIMENSIONS?

YES, it is possible. It may point at


one dimension, which directly affects
the person. One usually suffers from one dimension and
the other two are affected as a result. For instance, a
person may feel incapable and unlovable largely due to a
physical handicap, which belongs to the dimension of
self-image. Or a person who feels unlovable may attribute
this to his looks and abilities. I am not
lovable because I am ugly. I am not lovable
because I am not able But in actuality
the roots is in his feelings of unlovability, not on his
looks or abilities.

SELF-AWARENESS AND EVALUATION

Introduction
William James, a Harvard psychologist,
firmly stated that man uses only about one-tenth of his
greatest potential in life.

1. That is one of the most frightening facts we will


ever face.
2. Think of all the accomplishments, dreams,
victories and gifts that have never been realized
throughout the lifetime of man on earth.
3. Think of the 90% of you that now lie totally
ignored and untapped.
4. Think of all you could give yourself and your
family if you use only five percent more of
yourself than you are now using.

The major purpose of this is to show you how you


can use more of your potentials by the process of self-
evaluation, which comes from self-knowledge.
Many people think that we use only about 10% of
our potential because some persons or force limit us.
However;

1. The part of our lives that we fail to touch


does not have to remain so.
2. We can begin to use more of our given
potential if we are willing to learn and use a few
simple truths.

WHY WE ARE THE WAY WE ARE?

A. During waking hour, our actions and statements


reflect what we really feel about ourselves. And yet,
most of us have never really examined what we feel, why
we feel that way, and how we want to feel about
ourselves.
1. Is that so important? YES, if you are not
satisfied with things in your life and feel the
desire to improve.
2. This self-examination is vital if you want to
change your life, your actions, your
accomplishments and your future.
B. As children, we heard the elder saying a multitude
of things about us. Some of these things told us that
we were good, productive, attractive and loved. Some
told us that we were bad, lazy, and unable to do certain
things.
1. Because the people who said these things were so
much older and held so much authority over us, we
accepted the thoughts
without question --- good or bad.
2. As we grow, we incorporated these things we felt
about ourselves into a mental picture of ourselves
called self-image.
3. We took at the good and the bad and the in-between
and accepted them as truth. Very few of us never
stopped logically or objectively examined those
beliefs. We just accepted them.
C. As maturing individuals, we took these mental
pictures and shapes, whether we knew it or not, our whole
lives revolved around what we thought about ourselves.
1. If we thought about ourselves as incompetent, we
became incompetent.
2. If we thought about ourselves as beautiful and
productive people, we become just that way.
3. This happened because our subconscious mind
accepted the “truth” which the conscious mind fed
it and acted exactly that way. If the
subconscious mind was told that we were stupid,
we acted stupid, because the subconscious mind
obeys instructions from the latter.
D. Many of us believe that we are “stuck” with these
mental pictures of ourselves just because we have
developed from infancy until now with this belief.
1. This is one of the factors that lead us to limit
ourselves.
2. We never have to be “stuck” with any way of
thinking.
3. As human beings, we will always have the power to
change our thoughts and actions according to our
beliefs.
4. We can always change and upgrade our self-image.

Helps and Hindrances to Self-Concept Development

In this section of the course, we shall


invite you to explore the different factors,
which influence the development of
your self-concept. One significant
area we will look into is PARENTAL BEHAVIOR and its
positive or negative impact on the development of your
self-concept. Another area we will consider is the
influence of CULTURAL NORMS AND EXPECTATIONS ON SELF-
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT. As you explore these two areas, it
is hoped that you will begin to identify and understand
the roots of your self-concept and liberate yourself from
unhealthy influences of the past.
A. PARENTAL BEHAVIOR AND SELF-CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
A friend of mine once shared an
experience she had when she was teaching in the
United States. It was a meeting she
had with one of the mothers in a parent-
teacher conference. Her student was a
young boy
who was very withdrawn. Out of
concern she approached his mother to initiate some
conversion. To my friend’s horror, the mother openly
berated her son for thirty minutes. What was wrong about
him/her. Finally, my friend decided to interrupt her and
said: “Okey, now that you’ve told me about what was
wrong with your son, why don’t you tell me something you
like about him.”
The mother was taken aback with this statement, “You
mean all the while I wasn’t saying anything positive
about my son?.” She was not even conscious of it. No
wonder the son turned out to be withdrawn.
This incident struck me and once more reaffirms the
significant role a parent plays on his or her child’s
development. Whether conscious or not. Parental
behavior manifested in the way parents relate and rear
their children, do influence the person’s self-concept.
We shall now lead you to a journey back to your
childhood and review the impact your parents or
significant persons like lolo, lola, relatives have on
your feelings of worth as a person. It’s important to
note here that sometimes what is significant is not so
much what really happened then, but how you feel on what
had happened now at this point in time. This is what we
refer to as the “impact of the event”.
Another important note, it is not the aim of this
activity to bring out the anger and bitterness, which you
have had towards your parents. We are not, however,
discounting the possibility that this might happen
especially since the process invites you to assess your
parents influences on you. When you begin to look back
at their faults, weaknesses and limitations, a human
tendency is to blame them especially when negative
consequences have occurred.
In this case, we would advise you not to deny these
negative feelings. Instead, confront them. But learn
to judge your parents not in terms of intentions,
instead, judge them in terms of “behavior” – what they
have done and not done – have hindered you from growing.
Several times we tend to judge a person’s intention; we
believe that they are out to hurt us purposely. We,
however, discover later that this is not so, seldom do
people want to really hurt others. What they have
manifested as negative behaviors oftentimes, are simply
results of their own psychological ills. With parents,
it is not so much that they want to hurt their children.
More often, they hurt their children because of other
factors. Such as their own deep unresolved resentments
with their own parents, which are coming through.
Perhaps they have a strong feeling of inadequacy in
fulfilling their role as a parent. Only when we see our
parents as human beings too, and that they have sincere
intentions, can we begin the process of healing the past
wounds. We begin to forgive them because they are victims
of their own human weaknesses. Of course, this is not
to say that all is well. We become responsible to build
from what has been set as what we have envisioned.
B. CULTURAL NORMS AND EXPECTATION AND SELF-
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

Our culture has laid down


for us some standards from which we
feel accepted or rejected. For example, in the area of
sex roles, men are expected to be the breadwinner while
women are to maintain the household. Even if both the
husband and wife are working, the women are still
consciously or unconsciously responsible for the
management of the house. This expectation determines how
society regards us which influences our sense of personal
worth. A man, therefore who ends up staying at home
taking care of children while his wife works would be
ostracized by his neighbors. Eventually, he could lose
a sense of respect for himself.

What are Cultural Norms?

Cultural norms and expectations


define our self to others.
Therefore, we live up to them just
as we experience rejection. But sometimes these norms
and expectations become unrealistic and unhealthy for the
individuals. This is why we need to review these norms
and expectations because consciously or unconsciously
they influence the development of our self-concept. This
section leads you to reflect on culture’s influence and
to emerge your capacity to redefine yourself against
standards that may not be healthy and realistic.
Thus, Cultural Norms are expectations of our society
towards us. So, what is expected of you as a member of
a society?

Go back through your growing up experience and get


in touch with what you have been receiving as standards
for men and women in the areas of;
a. Body image
b. Sex roles
c. Achievements
d. Success

As A Man

How can you answer the following questions?

What have you been told about your body image?

What body image would be considered more acceptable


for men?

What sex roles have been considered achievement


standards for you as a man?

What qualities do you have to be successful?

As a Woman
How will you react if the following questions will
be asked to you:

What body image has always been dictated to you as


being more acceptable?

What sex roles have been assigned to you as woman?


What achievement standards were set for you as a
woman?
What makes woman successful?

HOW CAN YOU ENHANCE YOUR SELF-CONCEPT POSITIVELY?

In this chapter,
we shall give you concrete
suggestions on how you
can enhance and improve your self-concept. Although
there are numerous ways of achieving this, we would like
to focus on the four areas, which may serve as significant
starting points.

Working on each of these four areas conscientiously


would bring out a greater appreciation and celebration
of one’s self.

1. THE EXPERIENCE OF ACHIEVEMENT

One of the most important


experiences that can facilitate
the realization of our worth as
a person is the experience of achievement. We all need
to be reassured of the power within us which makes us
able to achieve our respective endeavor. Looking at
concrete results and abilities that we have.
Oftentimes, the barriers we have in achieving a
task is our doubt that we have powers and abilities. It
is not so much that we do not have these powers and
abilities to achieve. Rather, it is more of our inability
to acknowledge and own them. The experience of
achievement, therefore, is possible only if we believe
in ourselves, in what we have and what we possess. To
enhance your self-concept in this area, the following
suggestions would be carefully considered:

A. Readily acknowledge an achievement you experienced.

It doesn’t have to be a major achievement. As


long as you feel proud about something you have done,
recognize and celebrate it. For example, you have been
able to finish a term paper despite of so much pressure
in the family that would be an achievement. Claim it as
such.

B. Consider your achievement not in terms of external


indicators but more of a personal standard of
achievement.
You don’t need a medal or a prize to tell you that
you have achieved something. Your achievement itself is
a reward. If you have done something which you are proud
of and which you feel good about, then consider it as an
achievement. If for instance, in the past, you have been
getting C’s and this month you are getting B’s, you could
say that it is an achievement. It doesn’t have to be a
standard of achievement it depends on yourself and what
you are able to do within limits.

C. Avoid a very unrealistic and perfectionist standard


of achievement for yourself.
Do not set a goal that is unreal and impossible to
achieve. It will only make you feel bad about yourself.
For example, during the first try you will be able to do
it perfectly.

D. Avoid becoming over-critical with yourself.


Remember you are a human being and as such, you are
liable to make mistakes. Also, as human being, you have
limitations. When you both meet your limitations and the
mistakes you have done, be kind to yourself. At the same
time, remember that it is not true that just because you
made mistakes or you have limitations, you cannot achieve
anything. If, for instance, you are poor in Mathematics
and you recognize it as your limitation, your criticism
to your self will further block you from learning.
Whereas, if you recognize it as your limitation and know
it will take you a little more time than usual to learn,
you can still learn.
E. With every achievement experienced,
identify personal strength – qualities or
abilities.
When you possess something
that contributes to your
achievement, it is worth
honoring. There is always a tendency that you might have
to attribute the achievement to external factors, such
as luck or a friend’s help. Identify them and acknowledge
them. So, if you pass an examination with flying colors,
look back and pinpoint the qualities and abilities you
have which contributed to the high grades. For instance,
you might say it was due to your perseverance and self-
discipline. Or you could say it was your ability to
comprehend the subject matters.

F. With every achievement find the possibility of having


a chance to publicly share this achievement.

Although our society tends to teach us to be quiet


about our achievement, psychologically, it facilitates
the process of “owning” these achievements if we find
persons whom we will share them with, of course, this
presupposes that the person whom you will share your joys
with will not misinterpret your actions and judge you as
proud. Rather, he or she will be happy too with your
achievement. So when you get high grades, the joy would
be more completed when you arrive home and share it with
your parents. Then the joy is doubled.

F. Celebrate your achievement by giving your


self a reward or prize for jobs well done.

If you especially feel


proud of what you’ve done,
don’t hesitate to give yourself a treat, or finally,
buying yourself
something you have wanted for a long time. If you can
afford it, spoil yourself. After all, when you’ve got
it, you deserve it. After a hard day’s work, despite all
your problems, you are able to finish a task, what’s an
ice cream cone for a treat!

2. RE-PROGRAMMING BELIEF SYSTEM AND SELF-TALKS

One thing we need to keep away from is the “garbage”


we feed our mind. Without our being aware of it, we hold
some beliefs which are both unhealthy and unrealistic.
These beliefs influence our way of perceiving reality and
causes consequent reaction. Therefore, if I keep an
irrational belief such as “I am born a loser”, I will
perceive an experience of failure as a confirmation of
that belief and consequently, feel self-pity and
depression.

We need to guard ourselves with such “programming”


of our beliefs. One of the greatest things we could
suffer from our unhealthy irrational belief is viewing
our self negatively and feels unworthy. We experience
“putting down” our self, blaming, getting angry, hating
and ending up our self.

Usually, we see these beliefs at work in our “Self-


talks”. These are things we tell our self about in an
event. The event itself does not directly cause an
emotional reaction. Getting in touch with our self-talks
would, therefore, help us identify some underlying belief
system. Working on this belief system, in turn,
facilitates a more rational and healthier view of self,
of others and of life.

Let us begin re-programming our belief system and


self-talk by looking over some of the most common
unhealthy and irrational belief systems, which could
directly or indirectly affect us, especially our self-
concept. As you look over the list, which we borrowed
from John Powell’s book “Fully human, Fully alive”, check
the ones you feel rooted in your own belief system.
 Here are some of the COMMON UNHEALTHY AND IRRATIONAL
BELIEFS:
1. I must be loved and approved by everyone, in my
community,
especially by those who are most important to me.
2. I must be perfectly competent, adequate and
successful in achieving my goal before I can think of
self as worthwhile.
3. I have no control over my own happiness. My
happiness is completely in the control of external
circumstances.
4. The past experiences and events of my life have
determined my present life and behavior. The influence
of the past cannot be eradicated.
5. Nobody can really love me.
6. I don’t deserve to be happy.
7. I have to be the center of attention or don’t enjoy
myself.
8. What will the neighbors say? We have to look good.
9. This is the way I am and always will be.
10. It’s no use of trying.

3. FEEDBACK: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT.


Another area that can facilitate
the enhancement of our self-
concept is our ability to
receive feedback, especially
positive feedback. We need
information coming from other people about us, especially
our strength, so that we can validate and confirm what
we know of ourselves already and include other data that
we are not aware of. In doing so, other people serve as
“mirror” to us and we discover, reaffirm more of our
beauty and uniqueness as person.
Many of us, however, find difficulty in receiving
both positive and negative feedbacks. For some, this is
due to the fact that persons get hurt when confronting
with their weaknesses, when they themselves are not
assured of their strengths. This is why in Self-concept
development the focus must be in the realization of one’s
unique strengths.
Some of us thought we would struggle inside when
people offer very positive feedbacks. We don’t know how
to receive them. Maybe it is our very culture that has
toughened us. We are told that once we acknowledge out
positive qualities, it is not socially acceptable. We
are considered “proud” and our religious background
further reinforces it by accusing us of the sin of pride.
In this content, we reject the positive things that
people say to us.
This is why we must learn how to get the most out of
feedback especially positive feedbacks. Unless we own
and appreciate our strengths, we can never improve. We
will reject positive feedbacks, which will help us build
our self. We will also reject negative feedbacks, which
can help us improve ourselves.

Here are some guidelines in helping you get the most out
of positive feedbacks:
1. Treat feedback as feedback. Feedbacks are not
truths; they are information coming from other
persons regarding our behavior and actions, which
have affected others in a positive way (This is
called the positive feedback) or in a negative way
(negative feedback). As information, we can
either accept or reject it. But we must respect
it since it is another person’s opinion.

2. Listen to feedback given. Do not immediately


react to a feedback without first knowing where it
is coming from. Learn to listen first. What
particular behavior or behaviors do I have which
affected the other? How was the other affected?
What made the person affected in a particular way?

a. Check how the feedback was given. Sometimes,


it is given in generalities, such as “you are
very good”, or “you are a very insincere
person.” Find out what the person means. What
have I done to make you say that I am good or
that I am insincere? It’s very hard to live
with judgment of “good” and “insincere”
because we are not entirely good nor are we
always insincere. We must have done something
to make the person react in such a way as to
label us as such. Go back to your behavior.

b. Feedback does not and should not pinpoint


intentions but only behavior. Going back to
the examples earlier, you might discover that
you are considered good because you lend the
person money, not because you are doing good,
but because you are afraid that the person you
would get angry or reject you if you don’t.
Therefore, only you would know your intention.

c. Feedback is in contact of the other person’s


need and expectation. When I meet the other
person’s need and expectation with my
behavior, they will affect the other
positively. If I don’t meet their
expectation, then It affect them negatively.
For example, I don’t meet a person’s
expectation for total honesty; he could call
me “dishonest”. I just could not meet his
needs.

d. Know that feedback refers to behavior and it


affects other’s expectations. I must listen to
feedback as it is. I need not be too defensive
nor apologetic immediately. I
1. Analyze the feedback. Find out if you agree or
disagree with the feedback. If you agree with the
feedback, accept and acknowledge it. If necessary,
explain your behavior so that the person would
interpret the behavior not within the context of
your intentions.
2. Appreciate the feedback accordingly. If others
appreciate you and you agree to their assessment,
then you own it as your strength or positive
quality. If you disagree with their assessment,
treat it as just a feedback. That’s how the other
person experienced about me. If I want to explain
so he or she will understand as better, I can
explain.
3. MEANINGFUL
RELATIONSHIP AND
SUPPORT SYSTEM

There is no substitute for what love can do to a


person. No one expresses it better than Roy Creft in his
poem.

“I LOVE YOU”
I love you
Not only for what you are
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you
Not only have made of yourself
But for what
You are making of me.
For the part of me
That you bring out.

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help dimly seeing there
And for drawing
Out into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Guide far enough to find

I love you
Because you are
Helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple
Out of the works
Of my everyday
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done it
By being yourself

Perhaps that is what


Being a friend means
After all.

When we have someone who fits into the description


that Roy Creft gave, we wouldn’t have many problems with
recognizing our worth as a person. We all need friends.
Real friends. Persons who draw out from us our best
self.

Do you have persons in your life whom you consider


as real friends?

Begin to identify these persons in your life who have


served as real friends to you. Reflect on their
significant role in your life. What have you become more
of as result?
Over and above human friends, one more additional
relationship and Support System must be explored in the
experience of being in touch with an affirming God. Our
human relationship must model after the way our GOD. Our
relationship with others relate with us – unconditional
in loving, accepting, forgiving, understanding and
caring. It is a total giving of self, which brings about
our discovery and realization of our own unique self in
what is characterized in God’s love to us.

To experience this loving further in our life, we


must spend more time to communicate to GOD. It is a two-
way process. Not just in speaking endlessly, but
allowing Him also to speak to us. As we listen to HIM
through HIS words.

Make sure that in your lifetime, you do not miss out


on these two important areas of your life; the experience
of real friends and the encounter with an affirming God.
Our worth is further validated by these meaningful
relationships and support system.