Self concept and how it can impact your life

Trauma Counselling

The society which we live in can be termed a self-obsessed society because we are very much concerned with the way we look offline and the way we are presented online. This constant battle of keeping up with our appearances and fast-paced trends can instantly consume our lives. Instantaneously, we can be deemed self-centred for merely uploading a photo of our self, rather than others because you are viewed as separating yourself from others.

To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself.


What is self-concept?


A self-concept is an understanding and perception you have of yourself, which is based upon your image, thoughts, skills and abilities. Throughout your life, you gather information and knowledge from experiences which influences the way you think and evaluate yourself. In lay terms, ‘you are your worse critics.’

Carl Rogers (a Humanists Psychologists) broke the self-concept into three parts (self-image, self-esteem and your ideal-self) which allows us to truly understand the self and its impact.




Your self-image does not necessarily reflect reality, rather it is about how you see yourself in the present. The self-image can be affected by external factors, such as parental, friends and media influences.




To an extent, your self-esteem is the way in which you value yourself or how much you approve of yourself. If you have a negative view of yourself, your self-esteem will be low, which can lead to lack of confidence, wanting to look a certain way and pessimism. By contrast, having a positive view of yourself means you have high self-esteem, which can lead to confidence in your abilities, self-acceptance and optimism.

Four factors have been identified which influence self-esteem: the reaction of others (e.g. admiration, avoidance, etc.), comparison of others, social roles and identities.


Ideal self


As you may have guessed, the ideal-self is simply what you would like to be, the self you foresee of being and becoming. Your ideal-self can affect how you value yourself when there is a mismatch between your self-image (how you see yourself) and your ideal-self. Problems such as self-sabotaging behaviour patterns and emotional struggles may then arise.

A weak self-concept will delay your progress and more so, you may find yourself struggling to follow through with your actions. This is where therapy plays a role, where you can work on your self-concept and develop a healthy self-concept to allow you to excel. A weak self-concept could consist of you comparing yourself, rejecting compliments continuously, easily jealous, etc. In the therapy sessions, you will learn to understand the signs are defensive mechanisms that are only protecting you from emotional harm

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