How Do You Define Yourself?

Self-Concept

Who are you?

The field of psychology often looks to a person’s self-concept for the answer to this question. Self-concept refers to the sense of self that has been constructed from the ideas and beliefs a person holds about themselves, and includes the components of self-image (how you see yourself), self-esteem and self-worth (the extent to which you value yourself), and ideal self (the self you would like to be). Self-concept also interacts with self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.

Researchers have compiled an extensive body of research on topics pertaining to self-concept – and with good reason. Findings indicate that understanding self-concept is extremely important because it strongly influences a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Research also indicates that self-concept affects life outcomes such as academic achievement, and levels of happiness, anxiety, self-esteem, and life-satisfaction.

In her inspiring Tedx Talk, Lizzie Velasquez, once labeled “The Worlds Ugliest Woman,” demonstrates an intuitive understanding of the importance of self-concept. She asks the question, “Who are you?” And more specifically, she asks “What defines who you are as a person?” Is it your background? Your appearance? Physical impairments and limitations? The opinions and labels of others?

Recalling her experiences of bullying, ridicule, and ostracization, Velasquez proposes that the answer is none of the above, and shares how she decided to take control of her life, set her own goals, and create her own definition of self.

*Image: Ruslan Grechka

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