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The Self-Concept Definition Research Paper

The concept of the self

According to McLeod (2008) self concept is the perception that an individual holds about him or herself. It is the conscious expression that each individual embraces about his or her personality. In view of the fact that each person has a different perception, the concept of self differs from one person to another. Some concepts are good whereas, others are poor. A poor self concept affects self- worth and behavior (Cluff, 2007).

A variety of aspects define the concept of self: substantial, intellectual, societal and, transpersonal. One’s intellectual concepts describe the academic performance.

The physical component mostly relates to the body image, the weight or stature, whereas the societal concept of self portrays the relationship one has with other people. The transpersonal aspect relates to the connection of an individual to a supreme power or deity. This paper addresses the concept of self and how it relates to self-esteem and behavior.

Development of a self-concept

The concept of self develops right from childhood (McLeod, 2008). However, as life goes on, it grows through interaction with other people and the environment. It changes from time to time depending on these factors. In addition, self concept can develop through the reactions of other people. The manner in which an individual is handled can determine his or her self perception (McLeod, 2008).

Similarly, the response a young person receives from own parents or guardians establishes his opinion of self. A child who is brought up in a secure home learns from an early stage how to deal with his emotions toward self. For example, a child who is embraced by his parents to show affection will grow up differently from a child whose parents do not bother to embrace him.

It is likely that these children will have different concepts of self. As a child interacts with his environment, his concept of self grows and evolves. A student who does well in mathematics develops a perception that he or she is smart. He is likely to perform well in other subjects because he already believes that he can make it.

The relationship between the self and emotion and how this relationship affects an individual’s self-esteem

The concept of self and self- esteem are sometimes used interchangeably. However, self- esteem describes the conscious emotional attitude toward self (Cluff, 2007). It generally refers to the importance of self or self- value. Essentially, self- concept is related to self-worth (Cluff, 2007). An individual with a poor self-concept will have poor self- esteem, the opposite is true.

If an individual perceives that he is important, he will think positively. His attitude and emotions will align themselves with his concept of self. Self-esteem is categorized into: low and high. People with high self-esteem are confident in who they are, they are contented about their body size, talents, and abilities. This does not mean that they are perfect.

Nonetheless, they have made a choice to accept themselves (Cluff, 2007). Individuals with high esteem are often happy and hopeful. Additionally, they treat other people well because they have understood that everyone is important.

On the other hand, people with low self-esteem have issues with their personalities; they do not think they are good enough (Cluff, 2007). Habitually, they perceive themselves as failures. They are filled with negative feelings such as humiliation, loathing, guilt, sorrow. Such people are unhappy or depressed. They struggle with issues of anger and violence.

They are afraid to make significant decisions because they are afraid of disappointment or mockery. People with low-esteem prefer to stay away from their peers because they are afraid of experiencing rejection. Others try so hard to perform well in class or sports. Dejection and suicide among the youth are strongly interrelated to low self -esteem.

Cluff (2007) asserts that, a poor concept of self brings about negative emotions that dominate the thoughts and attitude of an individual. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that not every emotion is influenced by high or low self- esteem; possessing high or low self esteem is an individual decision.

The relationship between the self and behavior and how this relationship affects an individual’s self-presentation

The action undertaken by an individual is largely influenced by the concept of self (Cluff, 2007). The manner in which a child conducts herself toward her teacher or a manager toward his employees is influenced by the self perception. It would appear that the concept of self is important because it determines behavior. According to Cluff, the emotions toward self affect the way of thinking.

The way a person thinks affects his or her behavior. For example, an individual with high self –esteem and self- concept is secure. He is likely to present new ideas in a board meeting because he understands that his idea will succeed. He has the assurance that he can face the challenges that confront him. He walks tall with his head held up high because he has good feelings about himself.

In the same way, the school bully often has low self-esteem because of his poor concept of self. Therefore, he builds confidence in himself by harassing his fellow students and instigating fear.

This title makes him feel good about himself. A thief does not believe that he can make an independent living; therefore, he steals from others to make a statement. On the other hand, a teenage girl with a poor concept of self will try so hard to fit in with the popular girl. She can engage in shoplifting and dress skimpily to be accepted in the group.


Self perception determines the emotions that dominate a person. An individual with a poor concept of self thinks negatively about his or herself. Emotions such as remorse, pride, and embarrassment govern the mind, way of thinking, and behavior. Self- concept establishes a person’s lifestyle. However, it is significant to note that personal decision determines the concept of self (McLeod, 2008).

Its development can be influenced by the reactions of society but the final opinion depends on the individual. Whether to take a risk and make friends or stay isolated is a personal choice. People from violent or broken homes can make a choice to think positively about their body image and personality.

Self acceptance is the only way in which a person can live a fulfilled life. By accepting the body image, the academic performance and the opinion of the community, a good self concept is developed. In addition, positive thinking and good relationships further develop the perception of self.

According to McLeod (2008) a good concept of self affects self-esteem, which affects behavior. Knowledge of the self enables a person to develop a sense of wholeness, thus being in a position to respond to the environment around him or her.

References List

Cluff, D., (2007). Emotional Development and Self Esteem in Children. Retrieved from <>

McLeod, S., (2008). The Self Concept in Psychology. Retrieved from <>

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Self-Concept Definition'. 12 August.

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