Self-concept is the mental image we have about our skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, and personality. But, where does that mental image come from? How do you know about your skills and abilities? Do you know what your personality is, or do other people tell you? These questions lead us to the text’s definition of self: “a multidimensional process of internalizing and acting from social perspectives” (Wood, 2016, p. 46). In other words, our sense of self is developed through interpersonal communication.
After reading Chapter 2 in the textbook, write down seven words that describe you and your skills, abilities, interests, personality traits and roles. Examples might be responsible, empathetic, ambitious, good-looking, funny, out-going, shy, etc. It is important to provide specific examples and a backstory of why you chose those words.
Then ask a friend or family member if these words ring true and what they might add or delete to develop a more full-bodied portrait. What did they add or subtract? Were there any surprises?
Explain if these attributes are part of an “identity script” you’ve been given (Wood, 2016, p. 51), “reflected appraisal” (Wood, 2013, p. 48), “direct definition” (Wood, 2016, p. 47) or through “social comparison” (Wood, 2016, p. 50). Make sure you reference the textbook and use appropriate terminology.
Now comment on what influences your self-concept? Identify the “particular others” (Wood, 2016, p. 47) who have been and are now significant in your life. How have these people influenced the words you chose to describe you? How have they communicated to you about the traits you listed? How did they express their appraisals of what you defined as important parts of you? Can you trace how you see yourself to these individuals? What role did they play in your ideas of what makes you “you”? What scripts did they provide you about who you are or family is? Do you follow some of those scripts today? Why or why not? What other life experiences have shaped who you are today? Please describe with examples.
“Attachment styles” (Wood, 2016, pp. 51-54) provide a generalized overview of how we may approach relationships in the future.
Attachment Styles and Close Relationships – R. Chris Fraley