Sensing that he is a distinct and separate existence from others through time and space, a man becomes aware of his existential self from infancy. As he matures he also becomes aware of his categorical self through the realization that he has characteristics or attributes that distinguishes him from other objects in his environment. These two aspects – the existential self and the categorical self – constitute the initial ways in which an individual begins the self-perception process that leads to his self-concept (Lewis and Brooks-Gunn, 1979).
However, because the idea of self-concept is utilized in many disciplines including psychology, philosophy, sociology, nursing, biology and anthropology, there is no consensus as to how to define “self-concept” using terms of specificity. As illustrative of this, the concept of self-identity is referred by theorists using a diversity of terms such as: the authentic self; the cohesive self; the core self; the saturated self; and the possible selves. Additionally, in describing the components of self-concept, the influential humanistic psychologist, Carl Rogers, used global terms such as: self-image; self-esteem; and the ideal self, while educational psychologist Gary D. Phye and other theorists used more specific terms such as: the physical component; the social component; the academic or intellectual component; etc. Suffice it to say, most of the research literature suggests that self-concept may be generally defined as the sum total of what an individual thinks or perceives about himself. Using this general definition as a foundation this essay proposes to examine the components of a man’s self-concept in terms of his: personhood; place in society; perfection; and purpose.
Personhood – Who am I?
Who am I? This is the most fundamental question which an individual can ask about himself and in endeavoring to