Monday, May 31, 2010

Negative at Self Concept?

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Self concept in simple words means what u think of your self. Your views and perceptions about yourself are termed as self concept. How you think about your self affects your behavior to a great extent. When you have a positive view of self, you are confident, have high self esteem and resulting to a positive self concept. On the other hand, when you are low in love of self, and don't have a positive opinion of self. Criticize and judge yourself a lot, blame your self and have high degree of self doubt, all these contribute to a negative self concept. The seven reasons given here are my views based on famous theories or schools of psychology. Let us examine these seven reasons for negative self concept.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychodynamic theories stated that humans are driven mainly by the sexual drive (also called libido) and the aggressive drive. Freud explained that the libido mainly consisted of the id, ego and the superego. The id works on the pleasure principle that demands the immediate gratification of all impulses and engages in primary process thinking commonly known as wish fulfillment. Parts of the id spills into the ego which tries to gratify the ids' demands in a socially accepted way, it works on the reality principal and engages in secondary process thinking. The superego is the storehouse of rules and regulations a person learns from his/her parents and society. They are the absolute moral standards.

When the person is dominated mainly by the superego, the ego tries constantly to find a balance between the ongoing conflicts between the id and the superego. One side a person wants to fulfill their desires and on the other side has moral and social obligations. Since the superego is dominating, it pressurizes the individual to comply, if the individual fails to comply, he/she faces a lot of guilt. This guilt often leads to a negative self concept.

Next view is that of Abraham Maslow. Abraham Maslow gave a hierarchy of needs. Needs low in the hierarchy must be met before needs higher in the hierarchy can be satisfied. At the base of this hierarchy deep roots are observed pertaining to the need of belongingness, love, security, and basic needs like hunger, thirst, warmth. Above those lie aesthetic needs like beauty and order, cognitive needs like to know, to be aware, and esteem needs like to achieve, be competent. At the tip of this hierarchy stands self actualization.

Generally people satisfy their basic and lower order needs like food and shelter, safety and security, but they do not fulfill their need for love and belongingness. They lack these needs and thus, stun their personal growth. The lack of these needs often lead to frustration and thus lead to a negative self concept.

Erick Erickson gave a series of psychosocial developmental stages. At each stage individuals are faced with conflict or crises. How they deal with the crises can have an effect on their development. When dealt with positively can lead to a positive concept and if not dealt with can lead to a negative self concept. Let us see some of these crises, at infancy one falls in the crises of trust versus mistrust, at the early childhood one falls in the crises of autonomy versus shame or doubt, between the ages of three to five one falls in the crises of initiative versus guilt, between the ages of six to puberty one falls in the crises of industry versus inferiority, at adolescence one falls in the crises of identity versus confusion, at early adulthood one falls in the crises of intimacy versus isolation, at late adulthood one falls in the crises of generativity versus stagnation, and finally at old age one falls in the crises of integrity versus despair.

When a crisis is not resolved it leads to a negative self concept. An example, in early adulthood the individual is faces the crises of intimacy versus isolation. If the person is not able to resolve this crisis and hence feels a sense of isolation, that sense of being isolated can lead to a negative self concept. Behaviorism states that reinforcement and conditioning play a dominant role in shaping a persons behavior. Behaviors are learnt through experiences in the environment. Behaviorism has two main principles, classical conditioning and operant conditioning. When a person behaves in an unacceptable manner, depending on the feedback or response of the people around him/her, that behavior is punished or reinforced. This will have an impact on the person. More than often people are not aware of the impact of their response on the opposite person. Consider the example, when a boy behaves in a way that is not acceptable to his mother, she might hit him or shout at him and say "you are a bad boy". This statement may make the boy feel that he is not good and he may start to develop a negative self concept of him self as "I m a bad boy".

When trying to understand the reasons why people develop a negative self concept it must be remembered that first n foremost it is the person's perception of him/her self. Thoughts and feelings affect and shape our behavior and emotions. They contribute to the maximum extent in the development our sense of self. A psychologist Albert Ellis developed a technique called as A B C D E technique. Ellis introduces the rational emotive therapy. The ABCDE technique involves:
A activating agent
B belief
C consequence
D dispute irrational beliefs
E effect

I would like to explain this theory by saying that feelings lead to thoughts and thoughts lead to behaviors. There fore all thoughts have some kind of feelings underlining them. We can not stop or control the activating agent may it be an object or an event, so to change our consequence to a situation we have to change our belief system. Most of the time, we are not aware of the fact that we as individuals consistently talk to our self, we are consistently talking to our selves. In my opinion we talk to are selves in two ways. We are either motivating our self or we are consistently judging or criticizing our selves. When our inner self, our inner voices are too harsh in judging our every move, it creates pressure on us and if we don't behave in accordance with our own expectations, we feel guilty. These thoughts and feelings often lead to our negative self concept.

Another reason for a negative self concept thought the concept may be temporary is the biological factor. Biologically, a negative self concept can be explained in terms of chemical imbalances, i.e. sometimes when our hormones are not in balance they can produce discomfort that can lead to a negative self concept. Consider an example, sometimes a thyroid dysfunction can cause depression and lead to a negative self concept. Humans are social beings; they can not live in isolation. Each society forms its own sets of regulations which become the base of our behavior. The society defines the roles we perform in our environment. It is the society that makes us what we are and it is through social comparison that we feel "accepted"; hence, we are obligated to obey the social norms. Unfortunately we humans are hedonistic in nature; we find it difficult to follow the social norms all the time. When we do not follow the norms, the society puts us under pressure. This pressure sometimes leads to a negative self concept.

It should be known that all the different factors work together to form either our positive or negative self concept. But the most important step is to realize and be aware of our environment, and know what the different aspects that shape us are.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Beauty - How to Succeed

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The concept of Beauty can refer to a particular person, a special place, an object of interest or even the concept of an idea, all of which can provide a perceptual experience related to pleasure, meaning or satisfaction.

The study of beauty is intrinsically a part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology and culture. In the form of a cultural creation, beauty has become extremely commercialised.

The characterisation of an "ideal beauty" is represented in a person who is admired, or possesses features widely associated with beauty in a particular culture. There are many historical figures that have come to personify beauty itself, such as Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Marilyn Monroe. The subjective experience, which refers to the sensory buzz and awareness associated with a perceptive mind, related to "beauty", often involves the interpretation of some entity as being as one and in harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being.

Beauty, as expressed by the popular saying, is in the eye of the beholder. In its most profound sense, beauty may engender a salient experience, which refers to a state or quality of standing out relative to neighboring objects, of positive reflection about the meaning of one's own existence. Something that reveals or resounds with personal meaning may indeed be regarded as an object of beauty.

In classical Greek mythology, beauty was associated with the idea of "being of one's hour". Accordingly, a ripe fruit, which is “of its time”, was considered beautiful, whereas a young woman trying to appear older or an older woman trying to appear younger would not be considered beautiful.

History of Beauty

It was in the submissions of the ancient Greek philosophers, such as Pythagoras, that the earliest Western appreciation of beauty was to be found. The school, personified by Pythagoras, discovered that there was a strong connection between mathematics and beauty.

In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden rule, which can be expressed as a mathematical constant with a value of 1.618, seemed more attractive. In fact, this view of symmetrical structures that were in proportion is based on ancient Greek architecture.

It has been found that people whose facial features are symmetric and proportioned, in accordance with the golden ratio, are considered more attractive than those whose faces are not. Another important factor is that of symmetry since it suggests the absence of any hereditary or acquired defects. In fact, one of a number of aesthetic characteristics, including being average and that of youth, which are associated with the health, physical attractiveness and, ultimately, the beauty of a person, is associated with the concept of symmetry, especially that of facial features.

Even though there may be significant changes in image and fashion, it has been found that people's interpretation of beauty may be defined in a number of ways. In this respect, eyes that are large and a complexion that is soft and clear, are especially desirable. Further, such features are most certainly considered beautiful, irrespective of gender, and certainly regardless of culture.

Interestingly, the features of a newborn baby are inherently attractive, and youthfulness is a timeless characteristic that is always associated with beauty. Early in child development, there is evidence to suggest that an affinity for beautiful faces emerges, and this definition of attractiveness is regardless of their gender or culture.

Beauty – How To Succeed

Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a range of subjects. Beauty Articles cover History, Human, Society, Mathematics, Philosophy.

His Website contains a total of 75 Beauty Articles, written by others and carefully selected.

View his Website at:

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