The Self Concept

The self-concept includes all those aspects of ones behig and ones experiences that are perceived in awareness (though not always accurately) by the individual. The self-concept is not identical with the organismic self. Portions of the organismic self may be beyond a persons awareness or shnply not owned by that person. For example, the stomach is part of the organismic self, but unless it malfunctions and causes concern, it is not likely to be part of ones self-concept. Similarly, people can disown

Incongruence between the ideal self and the perceived self can result in conflict and unhappiness.

certain aspects of their selves, such as experiences of dishonesty, when such experiences are not consistent with their self-concept.

Thus, once people form then self-concept, they find change and significant learnings quite difficult. Experiences that are inconsistent with then self-concept usually are either denied or accepted only in distorted forms.

An established self-concept does not make change impossible, merely difficult. Change most readily occurs in an atmosphere of acceptance by others, which allows a person to reduce anxiety and tlneat and to take ownership of previously rejected experiences.

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