Self Concept & Self Esteem

by May Bleeker, 26 February 2009

Your self concept or self image is the sum total of all the knowledge and information you have about yourself.

It includes things like your gender, name, personality, physical appearance, race, likes and dislikes, beliefs, values, social history, nationality, schooling, family, career, accomplishments, failures, skills and talents.

Your self-concept also includes who you think you might become and what you believe you were like in the past. It is an idea or image of yourself that comes from what you know about yourself and what you believe others think about you.

It answers the question: Who am I*?

Your self concept also includes information about you, that only you know. Like how you really feel about something (in spite of what you do or say) and what your intentions are when doing something. No-one else can know this but you.

*Of course, your mental image of who you are is not actually who you are, it is just a set of ideas you have about yourself. You are much much more than just all the knowledge and information you have about yourself…but that is a topic for another website altogether!

Your self esteem is whether you think all these things add up to something good, bad, worthy or unworthy. It's how you rate what you know about yourself. It is sometimes called your self-evaluation.

It answers the question: Am I good enough?

When you know that who you are is bigger than just the set of ideas you hold about yourself you begin to see that you can change these ideas.

You can change ideas (and actions) that result in poor self esteem, to ideas (and actions) that strengthen self esteem. When you bring your actions, thoughts and emotions into alignment your self esteem grows still further.

Your current self image is just a collection of ideas. How you rate these ideas (self esteem) is up to you.

Self Esteem in Action

I've come to believe that self esteem also has an action component. Besides reflecting how you rate yourself, your self esteem is also expressed in how you treat yourself. 

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it is the only one you have. - Emile Chartier
(From A Bag of Jewels by Susan Hayward & Malcolm Cohan)

Your goal is to find out Who you are. - A Course in Miracles

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