Self perception and communication essay

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Self-concept refers to the overall idea of who a person thinks he or she is. Each person has an overall self-concept that might be encapsulated in a short list of overarching characteristics that he or she finds important. In some situations, personal characteristics, such as our abilities, personality, and other distinguishing features, will best describe who we are. You might consider yourself laid back, traditional, funny, open minded, or driven, or you might label yourself a leader or a thrill seeker. In other situations, our self-concept may be tied to group or cultural membership.

For example, you might consider yourself a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a Southerner, or a member of the track team. Men are more likely than women to include group memberships in their self-concept descriptions. Our self-concept is also formed through our interactions with others and their reactions to us. These thoughts evoke emotional responses that feed into our self-concept.

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We also develop our self-concept through comparisons to other people. Social comparison theory states that we describe and evaluate ourselves in terms of how we compare to other people. For example, you may judge yourself to be more intelligent than your brother or less athletic than your best friend, and these judgments are incorporated into your self-concept. Reference groups are the groups we use for social comparison, and they typically change based on what we are evaluating. In terms of athletic ability, many people choose unreasonable reference groups with which to engage in social comparison.

If a man wants to get into better shape and starts an exercise routine, he may be discouraged by his difficulty keeping up with the aerobics instructor or running partner and judge himself as inferior, which could negatively affect his self-concept. Using as a reference group people who have only recently started a fitness program but have shown progress could help maintain a more accurate and hopefully positive self-concept. We also engage in social comparison based on similarity and difference.

Since self-concept is context specific, similarity may be desirable in some situations and difference more desirable in others.

Have the students rip a piece of paper into ten strips and write a word or phrase on each strip that they feel describes them. Tell them that no one will see the things they write down, so they can be completely honest. Once the students have written down their ten traits, have them arrange them in order from those they most like about themselves to those they least like about themselves.

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After the students have reduced their traits to six, have them add the traits back, one by one. For an extra boost to this activity, you can have the students journal about their experience at the end, and how they want to use their strengths. Accentuating the positive is all about noticing and sharing the positive things about others and themselves. To try this activity, break the students up into groups of four to six. Instruct the groups to pick one person to start with and tell that person all the positive things about them. Encourage the students to focus on traits and skills that can be altered e.

One student in each group will act as a recorder, writing down all the positive things that are said about someone. Each member of the group takes a turn, and the recorder gives the individual the list of all the positive things said about them at the end of the activity. Have each of your students place his or her thumb on the inkpad and then on a piece of paper to get a thumbprint. Show them the five major fingerprint patterns and have them identify their print type.

Explain how fingerprints are unique—both across their own fingers and from person to person. Next, have each student create an animal out of their thumbprint. Bonus points if the animal is one the student feels represents him or her! Encourage them to write about this in their journal, or to add the thumbprint drawing to their journal. This activity can be especially fun for the drama-loving students. Tell them that they are each going to make a two or three-minute commercial on why you should hire them.

The commercial should focus on their special skills, talents, and positive qualities. It should highlight what is great about them and what they would bring to the fictional position they are auditioning for. Give the students some time to write their commercial, then have them present their commercials to the class. An alternative method for this activity is to have small groups create commercials for each group member. Tell the students to look through their journal entries and reflect.

Have them choose one thing they have learned about themselves during this term. When each student has chosen something they would like to share, sit in a circle and have each student share out on what they learned over the past three months or four months, or six months, etc. This is another activity that is appropriate for older children since it requires somewhat advanced writing skills. Tell the students that they will be writing a letter to themselves, and to be totally honest since no one else will be able to read it.

On another piece of paper or on the back of this letter, tell students to write down ten goals they would like to accomplish by this time next year. Have your students seal the letter and their goals in an envelope, address the envelope to themselves, and give it to you. In one year, mail the letters out to the students. This is a far-reaching activity that will encourage your students to think about how they change over time, and how they stay the same.

Make sure that each student has access to a mirror for this activity. Tell your students to use the mirror to draw a picture of themselves.

This simple activity can promote self-reflection in students beyond the kind that involves a mirror. To take this activity a bit further, have them divide the drawing in half—on the left side, each student should draw herself as she sees herself, and on the right side, she should draw herself as she thinks others see her.

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Along with this drawing, the students can make an entry in their journal on the differences between how they see themselves and how they think others see them. This diagram shows how each stop on the cycle feeds into the next, influencing each aspect and eventually coming back to the original stop.

For example, how we see ourselves influences our actions. Our actions drive how others see us, and their image of us drives their reactions or behavior toward us. Feedback on ourselves contributes to our overall image of ourselves, and the cycle continues.

Next, it describes several case studies to help drive the point home. There is the case of a year old father who looks in the mirror and thinks about the wrinkle he just found, the weight he would like to lose, his desire to be a stay-at-home dad, his messy and unorganized house, and a commitment he made that has overextended him.

There is also a case of a middle-aged mother thinking about her miserable day at work, the last decade or so of overtime, her struggles to pay the bills and have a little money left for herself, and all the things she has on her to-do list. A third case focuses on a teenage girl who is concerned about her skin, her haircut, whether her friends truly care about her, and an upcoming chemistry test that she has not studied for. The final case concerns a teenage guy who was struggling to understand calculus and thinking back to the counselor that encouraged him to take it.

He is also comparing himself to his straight-A brother and thinking about how he wished he could be the athlete his father wanted him to be. He is worrying about tryouts and doubting his ability to even make the team. This is a great lesson for children to learn, whether you introduce it in elementary school with some extra time and patience set aside! Although activities and exercises can be extremely effective in helping young people develop and understand their self-concept, worksheets can also lend a hand in this endeavor.

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Three of the most useful worksheets on self-concept are described below. This worksheet is a good choice for older children and young adults, although older adults can certainly benefit from completing it as well. It consists of four pages with various prompts to complete and questions to answer. If she gets a bit lost or needs a better explanation, she can refer to the description of self-concept at the bottom of the page.

It reads:. What you believe about yourself is true for you. It will be a powerful factor in determining your behavior.

Self perception and communication

For example, if you believe you are inferior to others, you will probably act in a self-defeating fashion. If you believe you are strong and resilient , you will likely succeed, even against great odds. Your self-concept can help or hinder you. The second page asks the individual to review his self-description and identify three qualities he sees as his greatest strengths and two qualities he sees as his most serious weaknesses.

Think of one of your self-concept beliefs that may be out of date and write it down. Once the individual has his out-of-date belief identified, the worksheet asks him to write about how and why he has revised or should revise this belief. The fifth section is an exercise that will require a full day before the results can be written down.

Once the individual has paid attention to his self-talk for a day, he should come back to the worksheet and identify three examples of negative self-talk, along with three positive affirmations he could use to replace the negative self-talk. Do you agree? Why or why not? In other words, we can be distracted from the best things in our life by the worst thing i. How might you get rid of this mosquito? Completing this entire worksheet will take time and effort, and the results will only be useful if the individual is truly dedicated to learning about his or her own self-concept and answers the questions honestly and with a great deal of thought.

You can find this worksheet from Joseph S. They can fill them in with anything that describes them: skills, characteristics or traits, likes or dislikes, and groups or teams they belong to. The examples given include:. On the fourth page, there is an activity that may appeal to the more artistically-minded children. They are instructed to think of a symbol that represents them—something like an object, animal, or some other representation—and draw it, then list some of the qualities or characteristics that the symbol represents.

Further activities in this PDF involve self-esteem, strengths, and reflection. You can find this PDF here. Learning about how others perceive a construct can be helpful in furthering our own understanding of that construct. Use the quotes below to see how your idea of self-concept compares to the ideas of others. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. It is something that one creates. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.

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In this piece, we learned about what self-concept is an overarching idea about who we are , how it comes about it develops throughout the lifespan, and is most flexible in the early years , what it is related to and affected by just about everything, but namely consumer behavior, academic achievement, career development, and culture , and whether you can do anything to change it—you can. Our self-concept is affected by how we feel about ourselves and how we judge our abilities, competencies, and worth as a person.

When we put some effort into boosting these self-evaluations, our self-concept will adjust to accommodate these changes. We have the ability to change how we think about ourselves by working to become more like our ideal selves. It might seem daunting to put in the effort required to revise your self-esteem and self-image, but like most tasks, getting started is the hardest part.

What do you think about self-concept? Do you have any other good quotes about self-concept? Do you have a developed self-concept or is it vaguer? About the Author Courtney Ackerman is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University.

She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion. Oooooh… thank you you so much for this wonderful, informative and user-friendly article!! Keep this good work up. Your email address will not be published. Courtney Ackerman 11 Positive Psychology Studies. In psychology, this sense of self has a specific term: self-concept.

This article contains: What is Self-Concept? Baumeister, R. The nature and structure of the self: An overview. Baumeister Ed.

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Berk L. Development through the lifespan. Betz, N. Self-concept theory in career development and counseling. Career Development Quarterly, 43, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 25 , Comparison between self-concept and self-efficacy in academic motivation research.

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