Another part of your belief system is your self-concept. These are subjective ideas that are stuck in your head about yourself. Self-concept includes ideas about your limitations, abilities, appearance, emotional resources, your place in the world, potential, and even your worthiness. These alter your everyday choices and model the way you think. As an example, you may think you’re a lousy public speaker, but it turns out you’re really great. You, however, believe you’re no good at addressing a group, so you turn down an opportunity to speak at a conference even though it could do wonders for your career. You doubt your own ability so you opt out, and limit your potential.
Self-concept begins in childhood and is reinforced throughout your life based on your experiences. Perceptions about your own worth are very slow to change, even with a lot of positive reinforcement. When your self-concept isn’t in sync with reality you will feel distress. Others will have expectations and beliefs about you with which you are uncomfortable. You will constantly feel as though you’re not prepared for situations like the conference. How stressed would you be if you had to give a speech anyway and you had no trust in your abilities?
- Do you often feel as though you’re out of place?
- Have you begun to realize some of your perceptions don’t match reality?