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2.6: Summary and Review

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    Understanding what the self is, and how it is formed, is integral to recognizing who you are today—and who you may become tomorrow. We have suggested that selfhood is not only a product of your own thoughts, but also constructed through communication with others. In this chapter we have explained how aspects of self are interconnected, and that self-concept is integrally tied to self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-efficacy. We all engage in a never-ending process of building the self through interactions with family, friends, teachers, and others while responding to social and political forces alive in each historical era.

    We learned that social identities impact our sense of self: a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class shift communication patterns, perceptions, and interpersonal relationships in particular.

    Additionally, we know now that relationships become tricky when individuals play roles such as uppers, downers, and/or vultures. Our sense of self-worth, impression management, and especially the way we see the world around us is linked to those with whom we communicate. This is why surrounding yourself with people who have healthy communication skills and positive self-esteem is so important. The interactions that we participate in literally produce and reproduce the people we become, whether in face-to-face or in virtual settings.

    Because of this fact, we discussed different guidelines to aid you in transforming the self. We invite you to take stock of who you are and make shifts as you become your best “you.” Such a road is not always easy, but it may be the most satisfying work any of us do.

    If you think back to the beginning of this chapter, we described the overwhelming number of results that a Google search for the term “self-help,” produces. Understanding the self is more than reading affirmations on wall art to improve self-esteem, of course. Our hope is that you now see such an endeavor cannot simply be answered by a simple search. Rather, it takes investment, self-reflection, and strength.

    Discussion Questions

    1. What is the difference between self-awareness, self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy, and how do you feel about each of these important aspects of self after having read this chapter?
    2. Who are some of the uppers, downers, or vultures in your life and how have they impacted your identity?
    3. What elements of your own selfhood have been affected by reflected appraisal or social comparison? Has social media had any impact on this process for you or others you may know?
    4. Which of the strategies for changing the self resonate with you in particular? Do you believe one is more difficult to accomplish than others? Which one? Why?

    This page titled 2.6: Summary and Review is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Karyl Kicenski & Victoria Leonard (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .