Throughout life Essay
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Every situation that an individual is exposed to throughout life, helps mold our “self. ” As humans we have the ability to see ourselves from the outside, and all through life we try to see what others see and our “self” revolves around the generalized other. We observe how others perceive us and we make conclusions depending on our observations. How we act around others depends on the image we feel they have towards us. Charles Horton Cooley, a symbolic interactionist, concluded that our sense of “self” develops from interactions with others.
Cooley described this process as the looking -glass self. The looking- glass self consisted of three elements. We first imagine how we appear to those around us. We may feel that others see us as boring or quiet. Therefore we try to interpret the reactions of others when we are around them to confirm if what we think is true. If others seem to avoid to talk to you or if you really can’t keep a continuous conversation, this may prove to you that you are indeed boring and not so conversational, maybe making you a little uncomfortable when being around people.
On the other hand if you see yourself as an individual who can communicate without a problem and you see that you can keep others interested in a given conversations, your reaction is more positive. Through this looking- glass self we develop a “self” concept. Depending on the observations we make concerning the reactions of others we develop feelings and ideas about ourselves. The reflection we see in the mirror is either negative or positive depending on the feedback we get back from those around us. Misjudgments of the reactions of others become part of our “self” concept also the misinterpretations of how others think of us.
Self concepts begins in childhood but it continues to develop throughout life. As we observe how other people react to us, we modify our “self. ” The “self” is never a finished project, and it continues to change as our life takes different turns. Our “self” reacts to the environment that we are in. As the “self” expands we put together the different reactions making us a unique individual. Every individual has a different way of thinking and therefore they make their own choices about certain situations.
Going through different life changes, means the “self” is expected to change to accommodate the life stage we find our selves in. The way we perceived things when we were adolescents changes when we become adults. We perceive things differently and take in reactions with a different attitude. Even though the family sets basic fundamentals of our personality, we are not destined to keep those characteristics if we don’t like them. We can expose ourselves to different groups and ideas that we prefer. Therefore our “self” transforms depending on the circumstances that we are in.
Cooley concluded that “our sense of self develops from interactions with others,” therefore we modify our “self” depending on those people around us. For example if we perceive the reactions of others towards us as negative, we tend to change the way we act and sometimes think. There are times when we might try to fit in to a crowd were our “self” those not meet there qualifications and we focus on the generalized other. The way society expects an individual to be, also tends to bring about change in a person’s self over the course of time.
Society sets standards and as individuals we tend to form ideas about the way others see us. The “self” is something that never stops expanding. Change is inevitable, since we must accommodate to our environment. Our “self” is build by the interactions we have with others, therefore the reactions that we obtain from those around us are very important. This reactions can create either a positive or negative reflection that will influence the way we feel about ourselves and even some of the choices we make in life.