Self-concepts provide a way of understanding personality. Your self-concept consists of all your thoughts, ideas, perceptions and feelings about who you are. A mental “picture” you’ve built of your individual personality. If you were asked to “please tell us about yourself,” you would provide a rough outline of your self-concept.

Built from Experiences

We build our self-concept from our daily experiences, beginning as a small child. Your self-concept gets slowly revised as you have new experiences. Once we have a stable self-concept, it tends to guide what we pay attention to, remember and think about. When the ideal self (the self we would like to be) and the actual self are nearly alike, the self-concept is positive.

Self-Acceptance Key to Loving Others

Carl Rogers, one of the most influential psychotherapists of the twentieth century, described “self-actualization” as the ongoing process of always striving to be one’s ideal self. A self-actualized person is one whose ideal self is the same as his perceived actual self, or self-image. Having a positive self-concept is the key to happiness and success. Feelings of empathy and acceptance help nurture positive feelings about oneself. Self-acceptance is the first step towards being able to love others. People who feel liked and accepted for who they are, not just for their achievements, exhibit less defensive attitudes (Shimel et al. 2001).

Self-concepts can be remarkably consistent. In an interesting study, a group of very old people were asked how they changed over the years. Almost all thought they were essentially the same person as in their youth (Troll & Skaff, 1997).

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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