The most important aspects of my self-concept in the image that I created are the negative words. I say this because they are the ones that I need to work on. Overall, I am happy with who I am as a person and how I conduct myself. I have things that I want to improve, and these words are what I tend to focus on daily. I think that they greatly influence my behavior because they motivate me to be and do better.

Because I am aware of my weight issues, I try to make more nutritious food choices. Fitting in time to go for a swim or to a walk on the treadmill. I try to motivate myself to do something productive when I feel like being lazy. My anxiety affects my behavior in many ways. I think that it is both a positive and negative. It motivates me to do my best in my schoolwork, but it also prevents me from wanting to attend a lot of social activities.

Another important aspect in my self-concept image is the word strong. Over the past years, I have truly learned my personal strength. I have always known that I could be strong for other people, but I was not aware of how strong I was personally until January 2020. I was in a bad car accident, and I learned that I could overcome anything I put my mind to. Self-concept develops and changes overtime with the challenges and experiences that you face in life.

Challenges give you the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. I have always been a bigger person. I had accepted that was how I was going to live my life. But then I got into my accident, and I was in a wheelchair for three months. I had shattered my talus, broken a rib, split my skull in two places, and damaged my neck and back. The doctors told me that I would need neck and back surgery. Before this surgery, I needed gastric bypass surgery. With a lot of time to think at my disposal, I started watching various content online. This is also when something important happened for me.

This may sound crazy, but it has had a big positive impact on my life so I’m OK with it if it sounds crazy. I started watching BTS videos. At first it was out of boredom. I literally couldn’t move, and they were pretty cool dancers. I started looking up the lyrics and the messages that they were trying to promote. Through them I found motivation to love myself. I found myself wanting to improve and although I couldn’t exercise because of my injuries I started making diet changes.

Then when I got out of the wheelchair and started physical therapy. I did what I could physically, mainly non-weight bearing. I lost 140 lbs in about eleven months. Then my dad died from Covid, and my family moved in. I got really sick from my gallbladder, I had surgery, and I fell off my health journey. I am finally at the point where I am ready to get back on track. My whole point of this is that my self-concept keeps changing with each life experience. I have my highs and my lows, and self- concept is something that evolves with you.

“In addition to our thoughts about who we are right now, the self-concept includes thoughts about our past self—our experiences, accomplishments, and failures—and about our future self—our hopes, plans, goals, and possibilities

Oyserman, Bybee, Terry, & Hart-Johnson, 2004)” (Principles of Social Psychology, 2015, 4.2

When we consolidate our self-concept about ourselves into mainly one thing such as being a mother or a wife if that one thing disappears or changes it devastates us. Having self-complexity means having several ways in which we self-identify and feel about ourselves. Diversifying our social identities is healthy and good for our mental health. “

“Research has found that compared with people low in self-complexity, those higher in self-complexity experience more positive outcomes

Principles of Social Psychology, 2015, 4.2

One example of a person that I know that has struggled with having a simple self-concept would be my aunt. She is a mother of four and a wife and that is how she self-identified for over twenty-two years. Her kids are now grown though and although she does have a strong relationship with her husband she struggled because she has focused so strongly and solely on those roles. I have watched as she struggled to find new self-concepts and identities as they grew older and needed her less and less and eventually moved out of the house.

She went through a rough time before she decided that things needed to change. She has now diversified her identities and has a complex self-concept she is a mother, a wife, she works a full-time job and she also returned to school, and she has expanded her social circle. I am extremely proud of and happy for her. I can see and feel the joy when I talk to her, she is simply happier and living a fuller life.

“Private self-consciousness refers to the inclination to partake in self-analysis of what a person is truly thinking or feeling inside. A person who has a high private self-consciousness is aware of their personal principles and ethics and is likely to do their best to live their life by them. Public self-consciousness is when a person bases their standards on the ones that have been set by the people around them”.

Principles of Social Psychology, 2015, 4.2

A person who has a high public self-consciousness concentrates on what their outer appearance looks like and making sure that it fits the standards that have been set by others. They care about what they look like and do their best to make a good impression. My thoughts, feelings and behaviors are strongly influenced by my private self-consciousness than my public self-consciousness. I am not saying that I do not care at all what people think of me, because I do, but it is not my main focus. With strong beliefs, I live my life according to my values and morals. I do not try fit into other people’s standards I just hope they can accept me for who I am.

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Guest author: Kim

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