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The Formation And Change Of Self-concept

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Am I the same person I knew 5 years ago?

Time will change the environment around us, for instead, from high school to college, from single to having a partner. This has changed our personal environment and social environment, so our self-concept has also been redefined. According to Carl Rogers (1959), the self-concept has three different components: The view you have of yourself (Self-image), how much value you place on yourself (Self-esteem or self-worth) and what you wish you were really like (ideal self). When we grow up, our self-image, self-esteem or ideal self will change. It can prove that we become change to another person in psychological but not biological aspect. This article will focus on self-image and self-esteem and use my own experience as an example to illustrate the impact of changes in self-image and self-esteem by applying the relevant social psychological concepts and theories.

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First of all, self-image which means that the view you have of yourself. It includes the influence of our body image on inner personality. At a simple level, we might perceive ourselves as a good or bad person, beautiful or ugly. Self-image affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves in the world (McLeod, 2014). Bognar (1999) points out that in a school that is based on competitiveness and student ranking, a section of students is condemned in advance to the inability of developing a positive self-image, because it is thought that, according to the Gauss’ Bell Curve, each class should have a certain number of bad students. Bad students are bad because others have managed to convince them that they are bad. The varication for that can be found in Rosenthal’s (Pygmalion) effect (or self-fulling prophecy), according to which our beliefs about somebody can be fulled because we can incite their fulfilment with our behavior. This effect shows and proves that the teacher is one of the most important factors that influence the creation of students’ positive self-image.

In middle school, the relationship between teachers and students is very close. The students receive the guidance of the teacher every day and are influenced by the teacher to form a self-image. For example, a boy needs to cut short hair, a girl needs to tie her hair, can’t dye her hair, and wears neatly. Boys and girls are dressed in school uniforms, so students don’t pay too much attention to their appearance. But in college, from the outside, everyone can dress up. At this time, the student’s self-image will be influenced by the image of the society and peers, and the influence of the teacher will decline.

Second, self-esteem, which means how much you value yourself. During school-aged years, academic achievement is a significant contributor to self-esteem development (Baumeister et al., 2003). Consistently achieving success or consistently failing will have a strong effect on students’ individual self-esteem.

Social experiences are another important contributor to self-esteem. As children go through school, they begin to understand and recognize differences between themselves and their classmates. Using social comparisons, children assess whether they did better or worse than classmates in different activities. These comparisons play an important role in shaping the child’s self-esteem and influence the positive or negative feelings they have about themselves.

 As children go through adolescence, peer influence becomes much more important. Adolescents make appraisals of themselves based on their relationships with close friends. Successful relationships among friends are very important to the development of high self-esteem for children. Social acceptance brings about confidence and produces high self-esteem, whereas rejection from peers and loneliness brings about self-doubts and produces low self-esteem.

Many factors influence self-esteem, Higher education and higher income are related to higher self-esteem. The explanations for this lack of differences between the self-esteem felt by students with different levels of achievement normally involve self-esteem protection mechanisms that are activated when a person’s self- esteem is threatened (Alves-Martins et al, 2002).

Although you may have found some of the findings on self-esteem covered earlier surprising, you will most likely expect this one: studies suggest that social media usage negatively impacts self-esteem (Friedlander, 2016). This effect is easy to understand. Humans are social creatures and need interaction with others to stay healthy and happy; however, we also use those around us as comparisons to measure and track our own progress in work, relationships, and life in general. Social media makes these comparisons easier than ever, but they give this tendency to compare a dark twist.

When we were in high school, our social restrictions were in the same class or grade, and we saw friends at school every day, so we used social media less often. In college, we have increased the frequency of using social media. Most communication with peers will be done on social media, not face to face. In this case, when we see something different from real life on social media, our self-esteem will decline. Since the content on social media is carefully planned and designed, we often see the other side of the perfection of others and reduce the failure to see life. In this unbalanced comparison, frequent use of social media increases our self-reminder and reduces our self-esteem (Ackerman, 2018).

In conclude, this paper analyzes the changes and influences of self-concept from three aspects. Due to the change of time, when students learn from the university, the concept of self will change, in which self-image would change and self-esteem may become higher or may become lower The limitation of this article is that time also affects other aspects such as idea self, and there is no detailed explanation here, which can be further elaborated in the future.


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10 Jun 2021

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