16 Sep 2015

Who do you think you are? Who are you (really)? How do you think others see you?

Your self-concept is likely a combination of all of these. It is, in essence, your identity.

If you ask a Westerner (someone from North America, Europe or other whites in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) who they are, they will likely to tell you what they do for a living and what they like to do in their spare time. That is great, but fairly shallow.

This of course if very different than non-Westerners (the rest of the world’s population) whose identity is much more tied to their group (ethnicity, tribe, region, etc.) yet sometimes lacking the specifics of an individual.

Your self-concept is something that changes over your lifetime, or it should be if you are growing as a person. So your self-concept is obviously fluid.

Who you think you are is a subjective view of yourself, including strengths, weaknesses, personality, abilities, talents, character and so on. And it may actually (unfortunately, too) be tied to who you used to be. It is also a subjective view of who you think others think you are. So if you think about it, your self-concept has nothing to do with who you really are. It’s the perception of who you are.

We could break it down like this:

  • Who you are
  • Who you think you are
  • Who others think you are
  • Who you think others think you are

Good grief!

According to academics, your self-concept is influenced by personality, culture, biology, gender roles, and of course what we’ve already mentioned, self-reflected appraisal, and social comparison. It completely makes sense.

I tell my students all the time that they have to figure out who they are and what they bring to the world, or the would will suffer.

Famous preacher Chuck Swindoll said something we can all learn from and take to heart:



Royalty-free image by Maxime Perron Caissy. Retrieved from:





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