Monday, November 1, 2021

Concepts About the Self

Who am I? 
What do I believe to be true about myself? 
What values do I hold for myself? 
How much significance do I place on myself? 

These are all questions one asks themselves when reflecting on the “self.” There are a myriad of applications in the communication model, but let’s review the key terms: 
Self-awareness: The evaluation and comparison of ourselves to internalized standards and values. 
Self-concept: A collection of beliefs about oneself. 
Self-knowledge: How one describes and defines oneself. 
Self-esteem: The significant value one holds for oneself. 

While communicating with someone, firstly, we consider the contexts: cultural considerations, physical location and setting, time of day, social constructs and the psychological mood of you and the receiver. Secondly, we decide whether to communicate ourselves and our perceptions authentically. Depending on the contexts, we may edit our messages. The other thing impacting the communication is noise. 

For example: You are out to lunch with your Manager and a few co-workers. A discussion begins about religions and various religious beliefs. While you believe this discussion is “off-limits” at work, you also feel compelled to engage after your co-worker asks you if you agree with their opinion. 

-What concepts of “self” does this example highlight? 
-What contexts are at play? 
-What are the cultural considerations? 

If it wasn’t already evident, your “self” is a vital part of your communication. The self embodies your internal beliefs, values, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors, and how we define ourselves, hold standards and compare it all impacts our relationships, transactions and everyday life. 

Did you find this carousel helpful in breaking it down? Let me know in the comments!

“Tell me about yourself.”

When we think about “ourselves,” there are different concepts to consider. Do we communicate “ourselves” (inclusive but not exhaustive: beliefs, values, ideas, opinions, etc.) with consideration of our internal perception, or do we edit our communication based on what we perceive others believe about us?

It’s a bit loaded, and the answer is both, depending on contexts, receivers, feedback, noise, etc. We also need to consider our cultural surroundings, whatever that looks like. However, there are methods that can help us strike a balance of assertion, confidence and respect, even if the receiver does not posses these attributes. 

Do you feel that you can communicate your “self” and perceptions freely? Or are there always going to be outside forces that force us to morph?

Image description: Allison, Jahneille and Laelle are reflected in a mirror that sits on a vanity. Allison is holding up her phone to take a photo of them in the mirror. There are acrylic reflective letters above the mirror that say: “I saw myself see myself…” This was taken in December 2018 at the Brooklyn Museum.

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