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Self-representations - Essay Example

Self Representations Self is a product of interpersonal communication and it affects how we communicate with others. Any changes in our perception of the self lead to changes in relationships; so, we can make a general definition about self concept as a collection of qualities we attribute to ourselves, and self-esteem as the beliefs of one’s capability, significance, and worthiness (Trzesniewski). Although researchers all the time refer to "the self" as a unique identity, it is important to refer to the fact that in most cases there are more than one self. That is, each of us possesses several selves, some private and others public. Often these selves are quite different (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). On the practical level, it can be said that there are two main selves for every individual; one is referred to as the perceived self, and the other the presenting self. First, the perceived self is the real self concept, researchers talk about all the time (Wann and Bosson). That is, our perceived selves are the real persons we believe ourselves to be in private moments. This perceived self can be also called “private” because we are unlikely to reveal all of it to other people. Therefore, our perceived selves are our real identities, which we acquire through a variety of ways. In fact, we are not born with an identity, but others give it to us. For example, our parents, our friends, and our teachers all tell us who we are through reflected appraisals. So, we often get messages about ourselves

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from others (“The Dynamic Self-Concept…”). That is, most reflected appraisals come from things people say about us. On the other hand, there is the presenting self, which is the public image. In other words, the presenting self is the way we want others to view us. Usually, the presenting self is the self we create to be approved by the society around us (Trzesniewski). The fact that we want our presenting selves to be ideal for the society creates a gap between the perceived and pre­senting selves. In this context, it has to be stated that language is an important tool through which people can show and express their “selves” and identities. Through language, one's culture, tradition, and mentality can be revealed to others. In that sense, language and self are closely connected, as one usually attempts to express his beliefs and attitudes through the language he or she uses (Trzesniewski). Actually, the relationship between language on one hand and self and identity on the other hand is too obvious to disregard. The way one expresses himself or herself in words affects the way he or she thinks and believes about himself or herself. That is, the language capacities of an individual usually reflect his thoughts and culture (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). As such, self representation can be defined as the way self is viewed and called to mind to formulate one’s interactions with the surrounding world. Social psychology research reveals that most individuals maintain a variety of self representations, not just one. In that sense, self concepts, self esteem, and self disclosure are some of the types of self representations that reflect the self’s perceived essence or gist (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). Self-concept and self-disclosure are two important factors in personal communication. Self-concept is generally a set of perceptions individuals hold about themselves.  Those perceptions are not only about our physical features but also other aspects of ourselves, such as emotional states, talents, likes, dislikes, values, role, etc. There are some characteristics of self-concept, such as subjectivity and resistance to change (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). In other words, our self-concept is a multi-dimensional, complex system of many beliefs and attitudes that we hold about ourselves (“The Dynamic Self-Concept…”).  It is everything we think and feel about ourselves including our, likes, dislikes, values, roles, emotional states, talents or skills and even our physical appearance.  In a word, the way we feel about ourselves shapes our interpersonal communication. Self-esteem, on the other hand is the part of the self-concept that involves evaluations of self worth (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). There are generally two kinds of people, regarding self-esteem: people with high self-esteem and people with low self-esteem. People with high self-esteem are usually more willing to communicate than those with low self esteem. They are also more likely to think highly of others and be more accepted by others. In addition, people with high self-esteem evaluate their behaviors more highly than are people who are less secure, and consequently they are not afraid of others reactions and perform well when watched. On the contrary, people with low self-esteem are likely to disapprove of others and expect rejection; critical of their own performance; sensitive to possible disapproval of others; perform poorly when being watched (Wann and Bosson). Besides, people with low self-esteem usually have difficulty defending themselves against others negative comments and fell threatened by people they view superior in some way. In regard to self-disclosure, it is seen as a useful strategy for sharing information with others. By sharing information, we become more intimate with other people and our interpersonal relationship is strengthened (Wakslak, Liberman, and Trope). Self-disclosure is not simply providing information to another person. Instead, scholars define self-disclosure as sharing information with others that they would not normally know or discover. Self-disclosure involves risk and vulnerability on the part of the person sharing the information (“The Dynamic Self-Concept…”). To put it clear, self-disclosure performs several functions. It is a way of gaining information about another person. We want to be able to predict the thoughts and actions of people we know. Self-disclosure is one way to learn about how another person thinks and feels. Accordingly, it can be said that how we perceive ourselves plays a central role in communication, regardless of whether the communication is in a daydream, in a journal, in a love relationship, in a small group, or at a podium (Wann and Bosson). Works Cited “The Dynamic Self-Concept: A Social Psychological Perspective.” Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 38: 299-337. Volume publication date February 1987. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ps.38.020187.001503 Trzesniewski, Kali Dr. “Life Span Development Lab.” The University of Western Ontario. 01 Apr. 2012. Wann, William B. and Jennifer K. Bosson. “Self and Identity.” Chapter 16. 02 Apr. 2012. Wakslak, Cheryl J., Nira Liberman, and Yaacov Trope. “Self Conceptualization, Self Knowledge, and Regulatory Scope: A Construal Level View.” University of Southern California


Self Representations Self is a product of interpersonal communication and it affects how we communicate with others. Any changes in our perception of the self lead to changes in relationships; so, we can make a general definition about self concept as a collection of qualities we attribute to ourselves, and self-esteem as the beliefs of one’s capability, significance, and worthiness (Trzesniewski)…
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