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Self-concept and Self-esteem

Self-concept is a fundamental factor in the life of every individual. That is why it is necessary to know everything about it. If you do not know what it is, what its importance is, how it is formed and more, then you can learn all this and more.

In the following article you can find all the information related to self-concept . From its definition, characteristics, to its differences with self-esteem , the different types that exist, among other relevant aspects.

What is self-concept?

Self-concept, as the word itself indicates, is the concept that a person has of himself. In other words, it is the definition or appreciation that we have about ourselves. Therefore, they are all those ideas, opinions and judgments that we make about our personality, actions, behavior and ideas.

By having a self-concept, we can describe the image we have of ourselves to other people. It is important to remember that although this may seem the same as self-esteem, it is not.

Definition of Self-concept

You have to learn to discern between both concepts, since, although both are quite related, they are not the same. Explained in another way, it is the image of the ‘I’ of each individual . This image includes both aesthetic and emotional aspects, physical, among others.

When a person indicates that they are productive and hard-working, they are using a positive self-concept .

What are their characteristics?

To better understand what it is, it is necessary to detail each of its characteristics and components. In this way, we can also observe the differences that exist between self-concept and self-esteem .

Multifaceted and dynamic

It is said that the self-concept is multifaceted and dynamic because, as the person grows, it changes. Due to the new experiences and maturity that the individual has acquired, he will be able to create a more precise and organized self-concept.

Precisely for this reason, adolescents can change their definition of themselves relatively suddenly. This is due to the changes they go through at this stage of their lives. This being the case, they can agree with some fashion or a set of ideas , and then they will totally change their mind, taking out of their self-concept what they previously included.

Organized and hierarchical

Likewise, self-concept is characterized by being organized and hierarchical . A person can have different ideas about himself, being able to have a general concept about his person. In the same way, it will take certain attributes to define its self-concept.

This means that someone can define themselves as shy, this being their general self-concept. However, you can also point out that you are outgoing at times, but that this happens in specific circumstances. In this way, shyness would be the predominant trait.

It is not innate

The self-concept is completely learned, which means that it is not born with it, but rather it is learned. This is acquired and modified through different experiences and the projection or perception that we have of our image in other people.

Relatively stable

Although dynamism and multi-facets were previously indicated as characteristics of the concept car , this is, in a relative way, stable. This is so because, although our self-concept may change over time, the general ideas of it will remain stable.

Continuing with the example given above, the person who has a concept of himself as shy in general, and in specific situations is extroverted, could change the latter concept over time. While shyness probably remains stable and forms part of your self-concept for much of your life.

It is related to self-knowledge and self-awareness

In order to create a self-concept, it is necessary to have self- awareness and self- awareness Through self-knowledge, we can recognize those characteristics that are part of our personality.

In turn, self-awareness is extremely necessary to create a self-concept, since thanks to it, we recognize that we exist and that we are different from others. In other words, when we begin to notice that there are certain things that we do not identify with, we are already creating a self-concept.

Components of self-concept

In addition to the aforementioned characteristics, the components of the self-concept will help us to better understand this topic. According to the American psychologist Carl Rogers, the self-concept is made up of three essential parts:

Self-esteem: affective component

The affective component is, in turn, the evaluative part of the self-concept. This part allows us to approve or reject certain concepts that we have of ourselves . Self-esteem is mentioned since, if we have low self-esteem, we could have a negative self-concept.

This is because, having low self-esteem, we will feel rejection towards ourselves and we will belittle ourselves. On the other hand, having good self-esteem will allow us to observe our capacities and abilities, recognize them as such and create a positive self-concept.

Self-image: cognitive component

The cognitive component is nothing other than the self-image we have of ourselves. Self-image is the mental representation that we have of our person.

This, in turn, is divided into three: the self-image resulting from how we perceive ourselves, the one that is the result of how others perceive us, and the self-image resulting from the way we perceive how others see us. .

It should be noted that, on many occasions, the self-image we have of ourselves is not entirely real, and in fact, the other types of self-image, neither.

Self-ideal or motivation: behavioral component

As the last component of the self-concept we find the behavioral component. This is the one that creates the ideal image of what we want to be . In other words, it is the motivation we seek to be able to work on everything necessary to become the person we want to be.

Types of self-concept

In psychology, three types of self-concept are distinguished, among which are: the individual self, the collective self and the interpersonal self. Each one helps us to define our image in each situation.

The individual self

In the first place, there is the individual self, this consists of the ideas that the individual has of himself according to his personal characteristics. It serves, mainly, to differentiate yourself from other people, and the objective is to give yourself value.

You may also be interested in:   Freud’s second topic: it, me and superego

I collective

On the other hand, there is the collective self, which consists of the perception that one has of oneself when feeling part of a group or collective. This arises at the moment of feeling a member of a group and seeks to give value to the group to which it belongs.

Therefore, the self-concept that is created from this collective self is related to the characteristics or behaviors of the group with which the person identifies.

I interpersonal

Finally, the interpersonal self focuses on relationships with other people . In this type of self-concept, it is about giving value to the other person to maintain relationships, in addition, there is a more critical self-evaluation.

Self-concept, self-knowledge and self-esteem

As has already been made clear, self-concept is the perception or image that a person creates of himself. Therefore, you need to have a self-knowledge to recognize each of the characteristics that define you.

Likewise, self-esteem plays a fundamental role in building a positive self-concept .

In case of not having a good self-esteem, our self-concept would be negative, since we would not be able to see and value our abilities and achievements. Therefore, to achieve a positive self-concept, it is of great importance to have a correct self-knowledge and a high self-esteem.

How is self-esteem different from self-concept?

To have a clear idea of ​​the differences between self-esteem and self-concept , it is enough to give a descriptive value to the self-concept and an evaluative meaning to self-esteem . In this way, we can point out that through self-concept we can describe how we are.

While, on the other hand, self-esteem allows us to value, either positively or negatively, everything we feel or think about ourselves. Therefore, through self-esteem, we judge everything that is part of our person, that is, skills, competencies, among others.

How is self-concept formed?

There are several factors that can be decisive when forming the self-concept. Since we are children, we are exposed to comparisons, criticisms, stereotypes, expectations and so on.

All of this can significantly influence our concepts of ourselves.

External assessment

Every time we receive a criticism, a compliment, an acknowledgment, a complaint, and so on, we are perceiving how others see us. Through these experiences, we could add certain qualities or aspects to our self-concept .

The self-esteem

This is another important factor when forming our self-concept . As mentioned before, through self-esteem we can recognize or belittle our abilities, virtues and achievements. This will depend on whether we have a high self-esteem or not.

However, self-esteem can also be affected by different factors, such as comparisons, social stigmas, among many more.


Of course, self-image also plays an important role in the formation of self-concept. However, the image that we perceive of ourselves could be altered in an exaggerated way, both positively and negatively.

This is because, like self-esteem, it is also influenced by external factors, such as praise or criticism from our parents, friends and others. In addition, social groups or fashions can also affect our self-image, and therefore, self-concept.

The Autoideal

The way we want to be also affects. However, many times this image of the ideal of the person we want to be does not coincide with the way we perceive ourselves. Therefore, this serves as motivation to get to be as we really want to be.

Importance of self-concept

With all the information described above, you can easily guess why it is so important to have a positive self-concept. This, especially, in the youngest, as they are the most vulnerable to criticism.

Forging a positive self-concept from an early age will allow us to feel more secure with ourselves . In this way, we will also have more confidence in the social environment. All this, consequently, will allow us to develop our activities in a better way, whether at school, work, home, and others.

Can I change it or work it?

As was well indicated in the characteristics of self-concept, this, although stable, is not immovable, since it is multifaceted. Although over time it can be altered due to maturity or new experiences that we live, we can also change it at will.

Of course, it is not a simple process, much less fast. It requires time, patience, dedication, and of course, the help of a professional. However, you can keep in mind that, to work on self-concept, you must ask yourself who you are.

You must externally analyze how you see yourself in life, make a self-criticism in the most objective way possible. This will allow you to place yourself in a reality closer to your self-image , that is, instead of false appearances, a completely transparent reality.


As you can see, self-concept is really important to develop in our social environment in a healthy and positive way. It should be remembered that, in many cases, the way we perceive ourselves may not be correct. This is not to say that the way others see us is.

This is a complex subject, and it takes a lot of objectivity to create a successful concept car, which is very difficult, if not impossible. And this is influenced by various factors, such as culture, society, emotions, education, among others. In fact, this construct of psychology has an imprecise definition because of its length.

Either way, the important thing is to feel comfortable with who we are . Always having good self-esteem, for which it will be important to know ourselves and accept ourselves.

In this way, we can forge a positive self-concept, which will influence our performance in a favorable way. This way we will feel more satisfied with ourselves, more secure and we will have greater confidence.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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