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Understanding the 'Self'

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  Understanding the ‘Self’   The being of man is the being that continuously search for truth and meaning in life. One can find truth but did not achieve its full meaning while some able to find the meaning but does not end with truth. A sick man might be able to find the truth behind his illness but not able to discover why that truth exist. A lost child may realize why he was lost but still not able to find the right direction. A teacher may find the meaning of his profession but lacks the awareness of the right method to teach a child. This continuous searching of man for truth and meaning allows him to discover many potentialities that are inherent in him. These potentialities are not only embedded in his soul. He is born with it an d made for it. In seeking he makes himself ‘free’ as he opens himself to many possibilities. The possibility of failure, success, truth, lie, pain, joy, betrayal, trust, love and rejection.  All these experiences are essential in the making man to be truly human because when one finds the truth and meaning of his ‘being’ he is now closer to living a life fulfilled.  Immanuel Kant, a Ger  man philosopher, once proposed that “ self-knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom. ” Thus, if we know ourselves well, it would give a good foundation on which to build our lives. This knowledge would enable us to know our likes and dislikes, strengths and weakness, which would allow us to change our negative behavior, maintain self-control and become more responsible humans. Franken (1994) suggests that ‘when people know themselves, they can maximize outcomes because they know what they can and cannot do’ .  This knowledge of oneself can be achieved only through the Socratic method, that is to say, the dialogue between the soul and itself, or between a student and his teacher. Socrates is as often in the role of questioner, as an attendant emotional. Socrate s’ questions because he knows nothing, knows he knows nothing, has nothing to learn, but it can help its followers to discover the truths they have in them. But, how well do we know ourselves? Some people have an easier job answering that question than others. It seems that some of us have a very clear picture of who we are whereas others struggle with it and leave the question unanswered. For years, psychologists have been studying the types of people who know themselves well and the types who are a bit more clueless. In their lingo, they study a concept called “self  - concept clarity.”   In 1990, psychologist Jennifer Campbell published a paper that introduced the idea of self-concept clarity. Basically, she suggested that having high self-esteem  can be associated with having a clear sense of yourself and knowing who you are. We probably already know about self-esteem  –  i t’s how positively we t end to view ourselves. It’s about the overall  good versus bad that we feel towards ourselves. Our self-concept, though, is a set of beliefs we have about ourselves. Regardless of the “good” and “bad”—  the self-concept is just an assessment of our traits, the roles we play, our memories of ourselves, etc. Self- concept refers ‘to the composite ideas, feelings, and attitudes people have  about themselves’ (Hilgard, Atkinson, and Atkinson, 1979). Self  -concept is also defined by Purkey (1988) as the sum of a complex, organized, and dynamic system of learned beliefs, attitudes and opinions that each person holds to be true about his or her  personal existence. We could then regard self- concept ‘as our attempt to explain ourselves to ourse lves, to build a scheme (in Piaget’s terms) that organi zes our impressions, feelings and attitudes about ourselves’ (Woolfolk, 2001) . Thus, self-concept is learnt in the sense that we are not born with it; self-concept is gradually shaped and re-shaped by people who influence us. When it comes to clarity, there are three important components to having a clear self-concept: (1) We are confident in our self-beliefs. For instance, we ’re  sure that we have a particular set of traits. (2) We have a consistent set of self-beliefs. In other words, our personality traits don’t contradict one another. As an example, someone with an unclear self- concept might believe both that he’s generous and that he’s stingy. (3) Our self-beliefs stay stable over time. Who we thought we were last year was the same as who we think we are today. Some people have a clear self- concept and some people don’t. What does it matter?    A bunch of studies have measured people’s beliefs about themselves to see whether having a clearer self-concept is related to other positive experiences. For starters, people with a clearer sense of themselves tend to have higher self-esteem.  Along the same lines, though, other data have shown that having a clearer sense of self is related to lower levels of  depression and reflection , and it’s also related to reduced general and social anxiety. Throw in the links between self-concept clarity and stress and loneliness , and you’re starting to get the picture . In fact, it also seems that people with a clearer sense of self also have better relationships with others. In romantic relationships, this can mean greater satisfaction with the relationship and commitment to it. Also, people with more self-concept clarity tend to be hostile toward other people.  In general, the research on self-concept clarity has tended to look at how clear people think their own self-concepts are. Researchers ask, for example, how much people agree with statements like: “My beliefs about myself seem to change very frequently.”  W hat’s still unclear   is whether people are correct about their impressions of clarity. Does a person who thinks her attributes remain stable over time actually have a stable self-concept? Does a person who thinks he knows himself actually have a clear sense of self? Recently, psychologists have proposed that there can be a difference between the subjective elements of self-concept clarity and the objective elements, each of which have a particular importance. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that the people who say they know themselves really well actually do. For example, study showed that people who said they had a pretty clear sense of themselves were better at predicting what they would do in the future.  Another  study used a very clever method to see how well people were in touch with their unique set of personality characteristics. They used Barnum statements — the kinds of statements that phony psychics and fortune cookies use to make it look like they really know you. Basically, these are statements that are general enough that they apply to anybody. In the right context, though, people think that they are remarkably accurate personality readings. But does everyone fall for them? The results of this study showed that people with a high sense of self-concept clarity rated these Barnum statements as less accurate than people with a low sense of clarity. In other words, they were able to see through the deception because of their enhanced self-insight.

ms-66 july-2018

Aug 5, 2018
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