Self-concept, also called self-awareness, refers to how one views oneself. How we perceive ourselves affects how we interact with other people. At the same time, the way we think others perceive us through the way they interact or communicate with us, for instance, also contributes to the development of our self-concept. Intrapersonal communication, such as self-talk, helps us in being aware of, and changing the way we view ourselves, and developing our self-esteem.
Self-esteem or self-worth is an element of self-concept which refers to how we evaluate ourselves or how we feel about who we think we are. Consider the self-portrait you made in the Explore section. How do you feel about the qualities or characteristics you listed? Not all characteristics have the same value. For instance, someone who may be talented in singing or someone who considers himself or herself good in academics may still have low self-esteem depending on the way he or she values these qualities. Consider the following example:
Emily always gets the highest marks in class. She easily understands difficult topics and aces all exams; however, Emily doesn’t have many friends. She doesn’t feel comfortable talking to her peers because she is afraid of being rejected or being criticized by them. Emily feels embarrassed about her physical appearance, especially since she looks different from her classmates.
Peter barely gets a passing grade in his subjects. He isn’t that good-looking either. However, he is the captain of the basketball team. Compared to Emily, he has a high self-esteem. He performs well in every game, especially if others are watching him. He is able to communicate without any difficulty and expects others to accept him for who he is.