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Personal Reflections Essay

The concept of self in the social world has been the subject of psychology studies for decades. Self-concept is defined as “a person’s answers to the question, “Who am I?” (Myers, 2010). Several factors, both internal and external, create each individual’s sense of self. Self-concept, self-esteem, self-knowledge, and social self all help create the sense of self. Self-schemas are an important component of one’s self-concept. A schema is simply defined as “mental templates by which we organize our worlds” (Myers, 2010). Self-schemas are the beliefs one holds, which define who we are. Self-concept

The development of our self-concept has numerous influences, which include roles played, social identities formed, comparisons made, personal success and failure, judgments, and cultural surroundings (Myers, 2010). Roleplaying can include what we are in our professional life, as children in school, and into adulthood. The roles we assume may not feel like second-nature in the beginning, however, as we evolve within our roles, we become a more self-confident role player. Social comparison shapes an individual’s self-concept through academics, finances, and looks. The impact the comparison has is dependent who we are comparing ourselves to. Personal success and failure occur on a daily basis at work, school, and home. Judgments made by our peers strongly influence our own perception of self. Positive feedback will result in a positive view of one’s self, as a negative feedback will result in a negative self-concept. Our cultural surroundings impact our self-concept also.

Westernized cultures tend to be more self-absorbed than an Eastern culture. “In many Western cultures, there is a faith in the inherent separateness of distinct persons” (O’Malley, 2002). Individualism and collectivism are two concepts describing how individuals view their importance within their culture. Individualism is mainly seen in a Western culture, where an individual places personal goals and gains over a group’s goals and gains. Collectivism considers a group’s goal as a priority over an individual’s goal. “Most cultures native to Asia, Africa, and Central and South America place greater value on collectivism” (Myers, 2010). The interdependent self is defined as the “view of the self and the relationship between the self and others” (O’Malley, 2002) within a group. Self-esteem

Self-esteem is “a person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth” (Myers, 2010). People have both low self-esteem and high self-esteem, depending on the variance of difficulties in their life. Poverty, drugs, and abuse can all be considered a factor in a person’s low self-esteem. High self-esteem can also be portrayed a negative trait, especially when the individual is viewed as narcissistic. Narcissism is defined as “having an inflated sense of self” (Myers, 2010). Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is defined as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations” (Cherry, What is Self-Efficacy?, 2014). Self-efficacy is not the same as self-esteem, which is how valuable an individual perceives themselves to be. An individual’s self-efficacy is the belief they are capable of accomplishing a task, even when the task is challenging. Studies of the Self

Various studies of the self in psychology have offered an insight into what is believed to be the center of self-concept. Carl Rogers believed self-image, self-esteem, and ideal self are the three components of self-concept. Self-image is “how you see yourself” (Cherry, What is Self-concept?, 2014). A person’s self-image can include positive and negative aspects, which may or may not be realistically true. Self-esteem is the how valuable a person believes they are. Comparison between a person’s own successes and another’s can impact their self-esteem in a negative or positive manner. Ideal self is how a person would like to see their self. Ideal self is not necessarily how an individual actually perceives their self, rather the idealistic version that person dreams of being. Who I am

Amanda’s Self-concept
By asking myself “who am I”, I am able to define my self-concept. I am a mother and I love my children. I am a full-time employee at ESCO Corporation. I am a college student at the University of Phoenix, studying Environmental Science. I am not an easy person to get along with, and I tend to take criticism personally. Amanda’s Self-esteem

I have low self-esteem. My low self-esteem has been an ongoing issue from childhood. I struggle with my weight, which was not a real issue until I was out of high school. I thought I was overweight as a teen, when in reality I was at a healthy weight. After I had my first daughter at the age of 18, depression slowly took over my carefree and happy personality. I began to eat more in an attempt to feel better about myself. I remember one incident as a Senior which really made an impact on my self-esteem. While changing classes, I waited at my locker for a classroom to finish letting students out. One of the disabled girls from that classroom kept looking at my mid-section. She finally asked me “are you pregnant or something”. I was not pregnant anymore, and had given birth two months before. Hearing another person say I looked like I was pregnant still brought my feeling of self-worth to the lowest point at that time. Amanda’s Self-efficacy

My self-efficacy can be compared to a roller coaster. I do challenge myself to excel at work and school. I believe I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Over the past decade, I have improved my self-efficacy, with a tremendous improvement over the last five years. The individuals I have chosen to surround myself with, as opposed to in the past, have helped me accomplish my dreams. My fiancé encouraged me to stand up for myself, especially with my parents. My parents had been involved in raising my children to the point I was not able to make a decision without calling for their opinion first.

The feeling of dread would overcome me due to the fact I knew my parents would not approve of my decisions if I did not talk to them first. I finally realized I was holding myself back, and I could make important family decisions without their approval. I signed up for the University of Phoenix for the reasons I believed were important. I did tell my parents I was going back to school after I had signed up, and I saw the disappointment they felt over not being able to control me with the decision. My fiancé has been encouraging throughout my studies, and continues to give me the push I need to finish my last five classes.

References
Cherry, K. (2014). What is Self-concept? Retrieved January 20, 2014, from About Psychology: http://psychology.about.com/od/sindex/f/self-concept.htm Cherry, K. (2014). What is Self-Efficacy? Retrieved January 21, 2014, from About Psychology: http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm Myers, D. G. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. O’Malley, M. (2002). Hazel Rose Marcus and Shinobu Kitayama, Culture and the Self: Implications for Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation. Retrieved January 21, 2014, from Honors 130: Conceptions of the Self: http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/honors130/culture.html


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