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What is Self Concept?

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what is self concept

What is Self Concept and why is it important if you want to change your life?

I have heard this said a million times and always roughly the same way – what you think about your life is generally what you will make the truth of your life. Your thoughts create your outcomes. 

This was an eye opener when I really took a second to think about this. Sounds easy – just change your thoughts and you can change your life. 

Deep down I agree 100% with this. But changing who I am at the core was something I don’t believe I had ever considered. I was just me. 

The revelation that I limit myself was life changing. Accepting that I have created my reality exactly the way it is because of my belief system about me, my environmental experiences as a child, as well as an adult, how I have interpreted it all and what I have made it mean was simply: Wow. 

So if logic prevails, then this would also mean that I control what happens to my future. But, and this is a big but, I would need to reinvent my thinking and find the courage to change. 

That sounds a little uncomfortable, doesn’t it? And if I have learned anything in my 50+ years it’s that we as humans like to stay in our comfort zone a lot of the time. It’s just easier. (Read the dog on the tack story by clicking here).

Once I wrapped my head around the fact that I can control / change my outcomes for my life it was a time to do some digging. And this is where self concept comes in to play.

I had never heard this expression. But as I dug a little deeper things started to make much more sense. A quick read of this definition and I can see how these 3 components together form the ‘me’ that maybe I’m in denial about. 

Carl Rogers (1959) (taken from Simply Psychology) believes that the self-concept has three different components:

>The view you have of yourself (self-image)

>How much value you place on yourself (self-esteem or self-worth)

>What you wish you were really like (ideal-self)

How was I going to really change and reinvent my life if I was hanging onto these old stories? 


I remember way back, I think I was 17 years old, my mother said to me in a fit of anger that I was the reason everything was wrong in our lives. Little old me. I’ll never forget, she was blow drying her hair, stopped the blow dryer and looked me right in the eye and said it with such anger that I believed it. I still believe it. I have hung onto this narrative since that very moment. If anything goes wrong in my or my families’ life it is my fault. Something I have done wrong. Because of course it could be nothing else. 

The real story of course is that she had just ended her second marriage. She was feeling like a failure but she projected it at me. I can see that. I have always understood the reasons behind what she said, but it has always stuck around.  

So I fight that. I have had to work hard to change that narrative. Of course not everything was my fault. But it felt that she really meant it. And I couldn’t shake it. 

Fast forward a million years till now. Clearly I have had a mixed bag when it comes to my Self Concept. I refer to my rollercoaster all the time. The highs and lows. Being successful, then ruining it. Having money, then losing it. Having it again, now holding onto it. Shifting my mindset little by little. 

What I think about myself is in a perpetual state of discovery, most of the time positive. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process in courage and vulnerability that takes time.

As I continue to undue some of this self sabotage and outdated thinking, I strive for the evolution I want in my life. I realize that as the journey to reinvent myself moves forward, I will shed familiar skins like a reptile, and this self awareness will guide me towards this necessary change. 

Understanding self concept has been a catalyst for my reinvention.

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  1. […] aha! Yes, remember back to that story from a million years ago when I was 17? ‘I ruin everything’. So I was just living up to my own […]



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