We all have a self-concept of ourselves, but how is this image formed and changed over time? Self- image develops in various ways, but it is usually influenced above all by experiences and interactions with the people most important to us.


Self-concept is formed through one’s own perceptions of behavior, abilities, and unique characteristics. It is a mental image of who you are as a person and how you want to be in the future. For example, you may think that you are a nice or kind person, or that you are a good son or good friend. This is part of a person’s general self-concept.

But this concept can be more malleable when people are younger and in the process of self-discovery and identity formation. As people age, self-perceptions become more detailed and people get a much better idea of ​​who they are and what is important to them and to their life.

People form their self-concept taking into account the personality traits that differentiate them from others, such as being an introvert or an extrovert (individual self). It is also formed taking into account relationships with other close people (relational self) or with belonging to social groups (collective self).

In its most basic form, self-concept is a collection of beliefs that one has about oneself and the responses of others. Represents the answer to the question “Who am I?”

To understand it better

There are different ways of thinking about the concept itself. According to social identity theory, self-concept is made up of two important parts: personal identity and social identity. Personal identity refers to the characteristics that make a person unique and social identity refers to how we are identified as a collective, such as a community or a political group.

According to the psychologist Bruce A. Bracken in the early 1990s, he pointed out that there are six specific domains related to self-concept:

    • Social. Interact with others
    • Competence. Meet basic needs
    • Physical. Feelings about appearance, health, physical condition, and general appearance
    • Academic . Academic success or failure
  • Familiar . Function within the family unit.

Carls Rogers, a humanistic psychologist, commented that there were only three important parts to the self-concept:

    • Self-image. How a person sees himself. Different attributes are combined including physical characteristics, personality traits, and social roles. It does not always coincide with reality, you can have a distorted concept of yourself.
    • Esteem. How much a person is valued . There are several factors that affect how behavior or what others think of us.
  • The ideal self. How you want to be. In many cases, the way we see ourselves and how we would like to see ourselves do not match.

Congruence and incongruity

Personal concepts are not always equated, some people may think they are excellent in one area but then the results show different things. According to Carl Rogers, the degree to which a person’s self-concept matches reality is known as congruence and incongruity. While we all tend to distort reality to some degree, congruence occurs when self-concept is fairly well balanced with reality. Incongruity occurs when reality does not match our self-concept.

Unconditional love helps foster congruence in people from childhood, and toxic relationships distort it. Children who experience unconditional love from their parents do not feel the need to distort memories and will accept themselves as they are from an early age.  

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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