The self isan evolving composite of three components: self-awareness, self-concept, and self-esteem.
A. Self-awarenessis the ability to step outside yourself (so to speak); view yourself as a unique person distinct from your surrounding environment; and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (George Herbert Mead).
DISCUSSION STARTER 1:Consider people in your life whom you admire. What is it about them you hold in high regard? Are they better communicators than you? More successful at building relationships? How does socially comparing yourself against admired others affect your feelings about your self?
B. The I and The Me (Michael’s Sound Bite 2-1).Mead separated the I (the active part of the self), and the Me (the reflective part of the self, the inner mirror and your “conscience”). People have different types of relationships between The I and The Me. For most people, The I is prevalent; for a few The Me is prevalent (those people are cautious and overly attentive to feedback, sometimes paranoid). Still fewer people have equal shares for The I and The Me, to the point of becoming delusional. People need to learn to make peace with The Me (we will study those in the fourth semester).
C. Self-awareness is developed through:(a) watching and observing; (b) making social comparisons (favorable and unfavorable); (c) doing critical self-reflection.
Critical Self-Reflection Items :
D. Self-Concept:your overall perception of who you are. It is based on beliefs, attitudes and values that you have about yourself. Beliefs: convictions that certain things are true. Attitudes: evaluative appraisals. Values: enduring principles that guide your actions.
Self-concept is shaped by gender, family, and culture.
Charles Cooley:looking-glass self is the concept that shows the influence of our beliefs of how people see and evaluate us and our emotional response to these beliefs.
DISCUSSION STARTER 2:Consider your looking-glass self. What kind of labels do your friends use to describe you? Your family? Your coworkers? How do you feel about others’ impressions of you? How do these feelings shape your interpersonal communication and relationships?
Robert Merton:Our self-concepts often lead us to make self-fulfilling prophesies,predictions about future interactions that lead us to behave in ways that ensure the interaction unfolds as we have predicted. They can be positive and negative.
E. Positive SFPs require work, negative – do not(Michael’s Sound Bite 2-2): It is easy to destroy, it always takes work to create. Saying that your child is stupid is destructive: the child does not have to do anything to let this SFP come true. Saying that your child is smart without acting on it will not help your child get smart.
F. Self-Esteem –the overall value we assign to ourselves (“Given Who I am, What is My Evaluation of My Worth?”). Your self-esteem shapes your communication, your relationship and your life outlook.
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