This sample essay on Psychology Self Concept provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The wording of the above statement is very strong and extremely personal. Yvonne says she cannot even bear to be with anybody who is fat which obviously shows her strong dislike to over-weight people. To Yvonne, a fat person represents ‘greed, a lack of control, ugliness’ which clearly shows that obesity is linked with greed in her mind.
Yvonne hates fat people to such an extent she is controlling what her eight year old daughter eats to ensure she does not become fat.
Yvonne is not just advising and allowing her daughter to make her own mind up, but actually controlling what she eats.Yvonne is doing this an attempt to stop her daughter getting fat and being bullied like she because she was over-weight when she was younger.
In order to understand why Yvonne feels she has to control her daughter in this way, we must look at how Yvonne’s self concept has been formed. The self concept is defined by Baumeister (1995 cited in Eysenck 2002) as “The total organised body of information that any given person has about him or herself. ” Both the terms ‘self’ and ‘self-concept’ can be used interchangeably to explain about an individual’s overall self-awareness.The self concept contains three components, namely the self-image, self-esteem, and ideal-self.
The term self-image refers to what we believe we are like and how we describe ourselves.
“While the self-image is essentially descriptive, self-esteem (or self-regard) is essentially evaluative.
It refers to how much we like and approve of ourselves. Self-esteem is also partly determined by how much the self-image differs from the ideal self. ” (Gross 2005). Lastly, there is the ideal self, which is how we would like to be. There are many factors which influence the self-concept, but relationships between people are seen as extremely important.Every situation that an individual is exposed to throughout life helps mould our “self. ” As humans we have the ability to see ourselves from the outside, and all through life we try to see what others see and our “self” revolves around the generalized other. We observe how others perceive us and we make conclusions depending on our observations. How we act around others depends on the image we feel they have towards us.
Charles Horton Cooley, a symbolic interactionist, concluded that our sense of “self” develops from interactions with others.Cooley described this process as the looking -glass self.
The looking- glass self consisted of three elements. We first imagine how we appear to those around us. We may feel that others see us as boring or quiet. Therefore we try to interpret the reactions of others when we are around them to confirm if what we think is true. If others seem to avoid talking to you or if you really can’t keep a continuous conversation, this may prove to you that you are indeed boring and not so conversational, maybe making you a little uncomfortable when being around people.On the other hand if you see yourself as an individual who can communicate without a problem and you see that you can keep others interested in a given conversations, your reaction is more positive. Through this looking- glass self we develop a “self” concept.
Depending on the observations we make concerning the reactions of others we develop feelings and ideas about ourselves.
The reflection we see in the mirror is either negative or positive depending on the feedback we get back from those around us.Misjudgements of the reactions of others become part of our “self” concept also the misinterpretations of how others think of us. Self concept begins in childhood but it continues to develop throughout life. As we observe how other people react to us, we modify our “self. ” The “self” is never a finished project, and it continues to change as our life takes different turns. Our “self” reacts to the environment that we are in. As the “self” expands we put together the different reactions making us a unique individual.Every individual has a different way of thinking and therefore they make their own choices about certain situations.
Going through different life changes, means the “self” is expected to change to accommodate the life stage we find ourselves in.
The way we perceived things when we were adolescents changes when we become adults.
We perceive things differently and take in reactions with a different attitude. Even though the family sets basic fundamentals of our personality, we are not destined to keep those characteristics if we don’t like them.We can expose ourselves to different groups and ideas that we prefer. Therefore our “self” transforms depending on the circumstances that we are in. Cooley concluded that “our sense of self develops from interactions with others,” therefore we modify our “self” depending on those people around us. For example if we perceive the reactions of others towards us as negative, we tend to change the way we act and sometimes think. There are times when we might try to fit in to a crowd were our “self” does not reach the groups ‘standards’ and we focus on the generalized other.The way society expects an individual to be, also tends to bring about change in a person’s self over the course of time.
Society sets standards and as individuals we tend to form ideas about the way others see us. Change is inevitable, since we must accommodate to our environment. Our “self” is built by the interactions we have with others, therefore the reactions that we obtain from those around us are very important. These reactions can create either a positive or negative reflection that will influence the way we feel about ourselves and even some of the choices we make in life.An extremely important part of the self-concept is self esteem. “This is the evaluative aspect of the self-concept, and it concerns how worthwhile and confident an individual feels about himself or herself” (Eysenck 2002). In Yvonne’s statement, she clearly states she was bullied because she was ‘plump’ when she was younger.
Bullying has a very negative effect on a person’s self esteem, as it did on Yvonne’s.
It affected Yvonne to such as extent she is controlling what her daughter eats to prevent her from being bullied at school.The damage caused by the violence of childhood and high school bullies can leave lasting consequences on individuals who are harassed by bullies. As a result of continual bullying, teasing and harassment, children may feel defenceless or even feel as if their life is in danger. It is often seen that, “Kids victimised by bullies are likely to suffer mental scars from the experience… Researchers then found that those who were bullied were more likely than their peers to later report symptoms of depression and anxiety. ” (Bailey 2002). The wounds from being bullied as a child will stay with that individual until adulthood.The pain of being an outcast among peers, and looked upon as inferior to other students can push an individual to suicide.
For example, “One child committed suicide after being repeatedly teased and tormented about her hair, whereas another child killed himself after being relentlessly teased about his weight (Hefty boy who feared teasing, 1996)” (Landau). Not all victims react by taking their own lives, but the damage incurred has lasting effects. Many endure the bulling all the way through high school, resulting in mild to traumatic emotional damage depending on the individual.The victim feels helpless with no one to turn to and these feelings of low self esteem may last a lifetime. A small percentage may react to bullies in an aggressive or violent manner as seen recently in school shootings and violence. Yvonne, when she was a child, was bullied so her sense of self was challenged and her self esteem decreased.
As Yvonne grew up, because she was bullied she came to associate being fat with greed, a lack of control and ugliness.
This affected her confidence and had a negative effect on her life.