Self-concept and self-esteem — are they same??

Self-concept and self-esteem — are they same??

Author : Sujan Shrestha

Normally we find people interchangeably using the term self-esteem and self-concept. The prefix of self has helped the people to think that they might refer to the same meaning. When people interchangeably use both the terms, the audience or readers generally fail to discriminate between the two terms. Self-concept and self-esteem sound something to do with yourself. But people fail to ask what is that something.  Lets dig deep down to find what these two terms mean and how do they differ from each other.

First lets look onto self-concept:

We tend to have impression about others but do we have impressions for ourselves. We indeed have impressions for ourselves because we spend a lot of time and effort thinking about ourselves only. Self- concept in simple term is one’s self identity.  It is an organized collection of beliefs and  feelings about oneself.  We all have concept of ourselves but we might not have noticed about it. It is a continuous and very dynamic process.  The answers to the question, “Who am I” are the components of self- concept.  What we think ourselves is greatly influenced by the fact what others think of ourselves. Hence self – concept is built upon the social interaction with family, friends and society.  Self-concept includes what we were, what we are and what we will be.

Now lets look about self- esteem.

Self-esteem is the evaluation of ourselves and more importantly it is an attitude towards one-self.  Person might have high or low self-esteem. Person with high self esteem feel good and confident about themselves for what they are but the person with low self esteem feel are unconfident and feel bad about themselves. Self-esteem is greatly influenced by the evaluation of you by others, your values and beliefs.

The difference between the two:

The difference can be best demonstrated with an example:
Your self –concept is that you are lazy. Now you feel bad for you being lazy is your self- esteem.  Some people don’t feel bad being lazy which is their self esteem.

The relationship between the two :

Why people gets confused between the two terms because self –esteem has a relational function with self-concept. Self- concept has two basic components : real self and an ideal self. Real self is present you and ideal self is what you want to strive for. Greater the congruency between them greater the self-esteem and lesser the congruency between them lesser the self-esteem.  Self esteem is a basically the evaluation of your self-concept. 

I guess this article has shed a little light upon the relationship between the two terms. To sum up self concept is “who am I?” and self –esteem is how good i feel about “who am I?”

Sujan Shrestha

About this Author

Sujan is a recent Psychology Graduate and enthusiast psychology student. His interests lies in Research and Clinical Psychology. He is also a writer and blogger. He is also responsible for editing PNN’s website and blog as Chief- Editor

Sujan Shrestha – who has written posts on Psychbigyaan Network Nepal.


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