Try Intentional Self Concepting — and Enhance How You See Your Self
We develop and change our ideas about who we are through learning processes that are under our control.
(Photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash)
By Dr T J Jordan
We learn about who we are in the same way we learn about many things in our world. We are processors of the data that bombard us daily. A great amount of the data we process is about our closest topic — ourselves.
When we are very young children, we take in facts and values about ourselves, but we cannot yet fashion these bits and pieces into a whole picture. When we reach the stage of concept development, we knit together ideas about who we are (self-concepts) and how we feel about ourselves (self-esteem).
The processes of self-concepting are learning processes that, as adults, are under our control. As long as we are willing and able to learn and relearn our judgments of fact and adjust our judgments of value, we are poised to modify our views and our assessments of ourselves.
As adults, we evolve and maintain our concepts of our selves in the arenas of education, work, chosen activities, and relationships. We have concepts of ourselves as students, professionals, athletes, physical beings, and emotional creatures, to name a few of our many dimensions. Our gender identities and our sexual orientations form part of how we know our relational selves.
A major source of misery for many of us is a nagging discontent with who we think we are versus who we wish we were. Poor self-concepts are a source of social anxiety, insecurity, presumed inadequacy, and blocked intimacy. We sometimes become unskillfully engaged in self-improvement activities to assuage our discomforts rather than to pursue our health and happiness.
We can begin to modify our concepts of self by understanding what makes us see ourselves as we do.
The Processes of Self-Concepting
Because we are built to take in information, we are impacted strongly by the people and experiences with which we surround ourselves. Given this reality, we do well to select our environments with care.