Developing Your Self-Concept
An image of who you are is your self-concept. This image of yourself is greatly influenced by four sources: Others’ images of you, Comparisons with others, Self-Evaluations, and Cultural teachings. Our self-concept is developed throughout our lives and it can change if our beliefs and surroundings are altered in some ways. One example would be: if you were to move from one country to settle in another. My family and I decided to move from Bosnia to America in 1997 and this greatly affected my self-concept.
The culture which surrounded me changed and I was eventually forced to change with it; my self-concept was now affected. The day we arrived in America I suddenly became drenched in an entirely obscure culture. I was a foreigner in foreign territory. The differences between Bosnia and America vary from many different perspectives. I had to adjust some of my ideologies towards people. I adopted an understanding which allowed me to see all cultures and races of people as equal. If I wanted to fit in and become accepted by my peers, I had to acculturate myself.
Self-Evaluation played a big part in my growing up process in Chicago. In my opinion, this process of comparing yourself with significant others can be a great tool to learn about yourself and further develop your own self-concept. I was usually the tallest amongst my friends growing up and this allowed me to excel in sports such as basketball. By noticing that I had an advantage over my peers in sports such as basketball, I was allowed to develop more self confidence. Developing self confidence may be tough as an immigrant child but I was able to do it because I saw that I was better then my peers in basketball. Developing self-confidence is one of the key elements which will allow you to further increment your idea of self-concept.
As I grew up and felt more secure about the person that I was, I turned to books and knowledge to further develop some of my own internal ideas. I developed a desire for knowledge right around my senior year in high school. I see reading as one of the most fundamental factors that has the power to change a person. It can be a force which empowers the reader and allows him to become the person who he believes himself to be. Reading further developed my self-concept because I noticed that I was actually developing original ideas and expressing them to my peers effectively. The positive feedback from my peers showed me some of my strengths and opened up my worldview.
My self-concept has developed over the course of my life and I believe it to be a continuous process which will continue to work with time. Since I left my home country of Bosnia, I became acculturated with the American standards of life. There is no doubt in my mind that if I were to have stayed in Bosnia, my self-concept would be extremely different. Looking back at things, I feel grateful that I was able to start a new life in the United States because it allowed me to experience an entire new spectrum of life which would have been obscure to me if I would have continued living in Bosnia. In conclusion, self-concept is an integral part of understanding yourself wholly as a person. If you can understand your strengths and weaknesses as well as how you compare with significant others, such as classmates, then you will have a better grasp on yourself.