Self concept is made up of different self aspects and has the following characteristics: Central vs. Peripheral; Salient vs. Non-salient; Conscious vs. Automatic; Actual vs. Possible vs. Ideal. This paper discusses self aspect belonging to different self concepts, i.e. Personal, Relational, and Collective. One self aspect for each of the two self concepts, i.e. Personal and Relational, is separately discussed along with their above mentioned characteristics. All these aspects and concepts are discussed with reference to social psychology.
Aspects of Self-Concept
Self concept is a very important part of personality and reflects many personality traits in a person. According to Fox, self concept is a “self-description, whereby a series of statements are used such as ‘I am make’, ‘I am student’, to formulate a multifaceted personal picture” (Fox, 1990). Self concept may reflect a person’s personal, relational, or collective identity (Sedikides & Brewer, 2010). The self aspects belonging to the Personal and Relational self concepts are discussed below.
Personal Self-aspect: The aspect of my personality which reflects my personal identity is that I am an organized person. This is a central part of my personality as I have always associated it with achievement. Keeping things in place and organizing my activities give me some sense of control and motivates me achieve my short term goals, which I believe is the salient characteristic.
This aspect is both conscious and automatic as I am aware of my habit but since I have been practicing it for a while it has become somewhat automatic. But I do not believe that it’s chronic but is actually a part of my personality which is very important to be because I see it as an advantage. As self representation is dependent on interpersonal comparison (Markus, 1977) I view my organized nature as one of my traits that differentiates me from other.
Relational Self-aspect: One common aspect in all my familial and social relationships is that I always like to know everything about the other person. I like to communicate on another level and discuss different topics. It is very important for me to know what is going on in the life of people I am close and always try hard to help.
I always make sure that they know they can always as me for help, which is a conscious effort. This makes me feel more close to people around me and gives a sense of belonging and closeness. This is not the most central part of my personality but it is important for me to have a healthy relationship with my family and friends.
The possible reason for this may be that I do not like to be isolated and always am more comfortable when I am emotionally connected with people around me. I believe that my relational self concept is healthy as I always try to protect, enhance, and maintain a healthy relationship with other people (Brewer & Gardner, 1996).
Both these aspects of my self concept are not as visible as I would like them to be. The reason I want people to know about these self aspect of mine is that they are an important part f my personality and and so they differentiate me from others as it is said that “distinctive characteristics help define our self-concept” (Bordens & Horowitz, 2002, p. 59).
I often make an effot to let people know about my organized nature as being unorganized makes me feel a little uncomfortable and so does not being close to important people in my life. The concept of self verification may be applied here. When the situation demands I even present myself in a way which reflects my personal and relational traits and self presentation is is important for me.
Bordens, K. S., & Horowitz, I. A. (2002). Social psychology. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Brewer, M. B., & Gardner, W. (1996). Who is this “we”? Levels of collective identity and self representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71 , 83-93.
Fox, K. R. (1990). The self-perception manual. Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University, Office of Health Promotion.
Markus, H. (1977). Self-schemata and processing information about the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35 , 63-78.
Sedikides, C., & Brewer, M. B. (2010). Individual self, relational self, and collective self. Partners, opponents, or strangers. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from Soton: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~crsi/Individual_self.pdf