At some point or the other, you’ve probably written a ‘bio’ for your social media profiles. Through these bios or short summaries, we try to convey what we think about ourselves or what we’d like someone else to know about us. In other words, we describe how we perceive ourselves. This perception of ‘self’ constitutes our self-concept. Let’s look at the different components of self-concept and how it impacts our personal growth.

What Is Self-Concept?

Self-concept is the image or the idea we have about ourselves. It can be thought of as our perception of our abilities, behaviors and characteristics. It helps us draw a mental picture of who we are—physically, socially and emotionally. We form and develop our self-concept over time. It’s shaped and influenced by our knowledge and interactions with our immediate environment.

Self-concept can develop in both positive and negative ways.

Here are some self-concept examples that differentiate the two:

1. Self-concept examples that are positive

  • A person thinks of themselves as an intelligent individual

  • A person thinks of themselves as a competent employee

2. Self-concept examples that are negative

  • A person thinks of themselves as being cold and unapproachable

  • A person thinks of themselves as a lazy and inefficient employee

Components Of Self-Concept

The influential American psychologist Carl Rogers was the first to discuss the components of self-concept in 1959. He wrote about three major components:

1. Self-Image

It’s how we see ourselves. Our self-image is a combination of different attributes.

  • Our personality traits (for example, introverted, kind)

  • Our social roles (for example, friend, student)

  • What we know about ourselves physically (for example, tall, short hair)

2. Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the value that we place on ourselves. Our self-esteem often depends on how we evaluate ourselves. In other words, we make personal comparisons and validate how others respond to us. For example, when our managers respond favorably to our achievements, we are encouraged by our performance and our self-esteem grows.

3. Ideal Self

This is centered on how we wish we could be. For example, if our goal is to lead a large team someday, we create an ideal self and make a checklist of goals we want to work towards. We may direct all our efforts towards achieving that ideal version for ourselves.

Formation Of Self Concept

The formation of self-concept begins during early childhood. It continues to develop and evolve throughout our life. Our self-concept can affect various aspects of our lives, including our careers. Most theories suggest that there’s a strong relationship between self-concept and our motivation levels at work.

In an organization, people take on projects, work towards different goals and make choices that drive the business. We generally direct our efforts to complete projects and achieve milestones. By accommodating these external changes, we make room for personal growth. It can be said that our workplace behavior is tied to our view about ourselves—who we are and what we want to achieve.

Harappa Education’s Discovering Purpose course will teach you to envision your best possible future self. The Elements of Purpose framework will help you learn about the three crucial parameters necessary to identify your life goals.

Developing A Healthy Self-Concept

It’s important to remember that the formation of self-concept is a continuous pursuit. When we put some effort into boosting our self-evaluation, our self-concept adjusts accordingly.

Here are some ways to develop a healthy self-concept:

1. Look Within

We can start by looking at our inner selves, our belief systems and daily thoughts. If we feel that our ‘real’ self (who we are) is vastly different from our ‘ideal’ self (who we want to be), we should invest time and effort to address the difference. We can make adjustments by setting realistic expectations.

2. Check Non-Verbal Cues

Our bodies and minds are connected. Sometimes, what we feel may reflect in our body language. However, there are times when we can redirect our self-concept through our physical movements. For example, some of us walk confidently to feel confident about ourselves.

3. Make Important Choices

Lifestyles and habits impact our self-concept to a large extent. It’s one of the factors that determine how we may reach our ideal selves. For example, some of us make it a habit to sleep on time and wake up on time to remain productive throughout the day.


It’s never easy to let go of our beliefs and change our ways of thinking. A useful rule of thumb is to try and reach out to your peers, friends or mentors whenever necessary. They can help you stay focused, motivated, and inspired. Stay driven and find meaning in what you do!

Explore topics such as What is the Purpose of LifeSelf-EsteemHow to Overcome OverthinkingHow to be Successful in LifeSelf-Efficacy & How to Sharpen Your Mind from our Harappa Diaries section and lead on a path of self-development.