Self-concept is behind how we go about managing communication. We are almost always attempting to protect the precious commodity that is the self-concept, and this often equals communication chaos.
What is a self-concept?
Self-concept is a relatively stable set of ideas we have about ourselves.
Try this. Get out a pad of post-it notes and write one characteristic that describes you on each note. (Ideas could be related to physical appearance, strengths and weaknesses, feelings, moods, intellectual ability, talents, beliefs, social roles) Keep going until you run out of ideas. Now order all the notes from what you think are the most essential things about ‘you’ to the least. There is your self-concept in a nutshell of post-its.
Where did we get these most basic and compelling ideas about ourselves?
From our interactions with others – going all the way back to when we were little kids. We could say the self-concept is a mixed bag of all the messages (plus and minus) we have received about ourselves over the course of our lifetime.
Important aspects of the self-concept to keep in mind:
It’s a subjective state of mind and is prey to distortion. Our self-concept may or may not be an accurate reflection of the reality that exists outside of our own thoughts and feelings.
Our self-concept may be out-dated. (Maybe a person spends her whole life believing she can’t sing because one day when she was a child an insensitive adult said, “You sing like a rusty hinge.”)
We are often deceived by the number of times life confirms what we think about ourselves when, in fact, we have simply tended to pay attention to what fits our ideas about the self and ignored the things that didn’t. (One negative comment weighs heavier than ten positive comments.)
When it comes to communication – our self-concept can lead to endless misunderstandings, self-fulfilling prophecies, and inaccurate portrayals of our true feelings.
Check out a couple of examples
Sharon is a person who believes she always gets unfairly blamed for things.
Blake: I thought I had $30.00 in my wallet.
Sharon: I can’t believe you think I took money out of your wallet. What kind of person do you think I am? You don’t know me at all. You can just go to hell, Blake. (Sharon stomps out of the room.)
Robert has always had a chip on his shoulder when it comes to his physical appearance.
Ellen: Come to the pool today with us for the public swim. The kids would love to have you there.
Robert: Get off my back. I’m working myself to the breaking point for this family. I don’t have time for frolicking around at the frigging swimming pool.
I’ll let you connect the dots on whether those exchanges led to better relationships.
Next time we’ll look at how we might go about changing self-concepts.
Bye for now.
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Он потянул сильнее. Труп сдвинулся еще чуть-чуть. Тогда Стратмор напрягся и рванул тело изо всех сил. Внезапно его швырнуло назад, и он больно ударился спиной о кожух генератора. Пытаясь подняться на ноги, Стратмор в ужасе смотрел на предмет, зажатый в его пальцах: это была рука Чатрукьяна, обломившаяся в локтевом суставе.