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The Self Paper

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Week #2 – The Self Paper

How does one define the concept of self and encompass all of the different elements that exist within us? People define themselves with thoughts of their individual personality, such as humorous, thoughtful, etc. The concept of self does have an impact on a person’s self esteem and how they present themselves. This author will define all of these within this paper.

Concept of Self Who am I? This is the question of the century. People do some individual soul searching to help answer this question and yet it is ever evolving. “The self concept is how we think about and evaluate ourselves. To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself. Baumeister (1999) provides the following self concept definition: "the individual's belief about himself or herself, including the person's attributes and who and what the self is". (McLeod, 2008) These can consist of personality traits, monetary possessions, education, history and physical characteristics.

Individual development of Self-Concept A person develops their own individual self’s to fit who they want to be as much, as who they are. Often times, we base our own individual opinions of ourselves based on the perception of others. Take for example, how one might describe their own individual self on a dating site. They would pick the best attributes of themselves, such as good cook, high powered lawyer, and they use this is defining who they are as a person. This is what the public would view them as the most and therefore they think are most desirable. While, they recognize that there are other non-favorable traits, most often they use the best in themselves to present the best possible picture. For the most part, we rely on the opinion of the most significant relationship in our lives, such as our parents first and then our spouse. The opinions of these people help to either defer or encourage different activity involvement. For example, if you are a male baseball player as a child, which your father encourages, often times the boy will continue with this sport.

Relationship: Self & Emotion in regard to self-esteem A person’s self-esteem can determine how they react to different situations and how they view themselves. “Social psychologists often measure whether people feel good about themselves and feel that they are lovable and worthwhile people. Researchers differentiate trait self-esteem (a stable personality disposition) and state self-esteem (short-lived self-regard). Social psychologists are primarily interested in state self-esteem” (Fiske, 2010, P.181). Self-esteem can be examined through a number of different ways. First, it is a way of measuring or comparing how a person feels about themselves in a positive or negative way. If a person feels that they are not smart enough, this is a negative trait. Or, if they feel that they can accomplish anything would be a positive trait. “Researchers sometimes measure three dimensions of state self-esteem (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991): performance (‘I feel confident about my abilities’), social regard (‘I am worried about what other people think of me’), and appearance (‘I feel satisfied with the way my body looks right now’)” (Fiske, 2010, P.181). While, a person might not feel confident at all times about their body, social life, or personal accomplishments; it is more about the overall feeling they experience.

Emotions plays a large part in a person’s self-esteem. Humans are for the most part very emotional people and this can deem how we feel at many different times. For example, a person might be extremely confident in how they look, but if someone were to tell them they looked a little chubby today; this can make them question what they look like. The same could be seen in how smart you are after you get a poor grade on a paper you worked really hard on. The reverse of this is if you get a good grade on the same paper; this can help to make you feel smarter and want to try harder. We also base our self-esteem in the emotional regard on how others feel about us; either through their own actions or words. If a person is always short and blunt in conversation; this can make a person feel they do not like them. This makes that person question their self-worth and what might be wrong with them. For some that are people pleasers and that want to be liked by everyone, this can create a significant problem.

Relationship: Self & Behavior in regard to self-presentation Self-presentation is just that; how we present ourselves to others in a general everyday sense. People want to feel like they fit in and are part of the broad group of people. “Self-presentation aims to maintain and save one’s social face—the positive front one puts on in public” (Fiske, 2010, P. 214) Self-presentation can be seen through four different explanations, including personal goals, audience, situation, and societal context. Personal goals is very self-explanatory and includes the goals, both short-term and long-term that the person wants to accomplish. Audience is those who the person is interacting with, and this is continuously changing. Situation describes the environment and surroundings of the person. Lastly, society is the expectation from others tha the person is expected to meet. “People’s self-presentations increase their subjective well-being by meeting three primary motivations: maximizing the rewards of social relations (belonging), enhancing self-esteem (self-enhancement), and establishing desired identities (self-understanding.) Self-presentation mainly facilitates belonging but also serves self-enhancement and self-understanding” (Fiske, 2010, P. 215) Belonging is a large part of self-presentation because it does support and recognize the relationship that the person is having with others. It is also simply about feeling like you are part of the group. For those who are considered outsiders or loners, self-presentation could prove to be incredibly difficult. This might simply occur because the person does not know where they might belong in a particular atmosphere. This can lead to other issues down the road for the person.

This paper has defined and examined as the different facts of the self. There are many characteristics that could be used to define a person. The concept of self does have an impact on a person’s self esteem and how they present themselves. This is an ever-evolving task that a person goes through throughout their life. References:
Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social Beings:Core Motives in Social Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
McLeod, S. (2008). Simplypsychology.com. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html

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