Self Concept, Self Knowledge, and Self Esteem

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Who we are is very important when talking about the self or our identity, initially, the self is a system of thoughts, feelings and behaviour, it is a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others. It consists of self-concept, self-knowledge, and self-presentation, social comparison, self-esteem and personal versus social identity continuum.

Firstly, self-concept asks the question of how we as individuals think about ourselves. As we grow we form our self-concept based on knowledge and beliefs about ourselves, it can be broken down into three identities such as actual self, which is one’s perception of his own attributes such as intelligence, ideal self is an idealized image that we have developed over time through experiences e.g. hope and the ought self is what others want us to be (sense of duty), an example of self-concept is a person seeing himself as intelligent. In my opinion factors such as age and gender can affect self-concept.

Secondly, self-knowledge is a term used by many psychologists, it is the cognitive and affective representation of one’s identity or the subject of experience. Introspection can be a source of self-knowledge as it analyses the self such as examining their thought and feelings, along with seeing ourselves how others see us. Self-knowledge helps us to understand ourselves better, based on a better self-understanding, one is able to be to control of his/her own life, likewise, by ignoring barriers and practising mindful habits can increase self-knowledge.

Additionally, people present themselves to control or shape how others view them based on what situation there in, s/he presents oneself in a way others will accept them. As individuals we want to create a positive impression on others, so we spend money on cosmetics and appearances. Example a non-smoker, may smoke because of peer influence, s/he tries to be liked, and this leads to a self-presentation tactic called ingratiation, where we do our best-conveying others to like us.

When comparing our self to others we intend to put our self-down or imply were are not good enough this is linked to self-deprecating tactics, others include exemplification, self-verification, self-promotion and intimidation. However, trying to present our self to be viewed differently, one may tend to compare themselves with others. In social comparison, people compare their attitudes, behaviour, abilities with others. This is done to feel good about themselves or to be accurate.

People often compare themselves on age or success. These comparisons can make a person feel good or bad about themselves which can lead to self-harm. “People compare themselves to others as a way of fostering self-improvement, self-motivation, and a positive self-image.” (Cherry 2019). According to Festinger, “People have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others by making judgement a person can feel less of themselves unimportant viewing a negative perspective” (Cherry, 2019).

Likewise, this can lead to low self-esteem. Self-esteem is an individual sense of worth or value of themselves. It is evaluated in a positively or negatively way, it’s important as it can guide and control actions and influences people choices and decision, low self-esteem can lead to self-harm and drug use when a person feel bad about him e.g. the TV show Wentworth, person with high self-esteem makes good decisions, initially self-esteem can be divided into 2 group’s implicit self-esteem and self-esteem measure.

“Social identity reflects membership and is formed in intergroup. We are comparing ourselves between 2 groups.Personal identity usually reflects a relationship between a person and other individuals, it is presented by personal features” (Korestelina, 2013). This concept is comparing between members of the same group. Everyone is different and function in different ways, in pertaining to social identity intending to compare groups we feel that our group is better than others, sometimes this leads to disputes e.g. in religious groups or teams.


  1. Cherry, K. (2019, January 11). Social Comparison Theory in Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-social-comparison-process-2795872
  2. Korostelina, K. (2013, April 13). Personal and Social Identity. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-W15SbrCUQ&t=108s

Cite this paper

Self Concept, Self Knowledge, and Self Esteem. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/self-concept-self-knowledge-and-self-esteem/

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