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Self, Perception, and Communication

Self-concept is how you think about and value yourself. Self-concept comes from three sources: reflected appraisals, social comparisons, and self-perception. Scripts, roles, and self-fulfilling prophecies also influence your self-concept. If people are willing to give up some of their psychological safety and take some risks, their self-concepts will become more positive.

There are several ways to improve your self-concept. Decide what you want to change about yourself, consider your circumstances, take some chances, set reasonable goals, use a program of self-discipline, find people who will support you, and act positively toward others.

While self-concept is how you look at yourself, perception is how you see others and the world around you. Your perceptions come from interactions with others and from your cultural background. In the perceptual process you select information, organize it, and interpret it. Your education and experience will influence how you carry out this process.

There are a number of things that can be stated with certainty about the self-concept and perception including that they are intimately and intrinsically linked, each affecting the other in both subtle and profound ways. Your perceptions are essential to the building, maintenance, and sustained support of your self-concept.

Any perceptions you have are less than perfect because of deletions, distortions, and generalizations. Also, perceptual filters such as your biologic make-up, culture, values, and beliefs, coping with and tolerance for stress, conflict resolution strategies, previous experiences with failures and successes, illnesses, traumas, and surgery will all have an effect on your perceptions. Because there are so many influences, and because these influences are likely to combine in unknown ways and even have some cumulative effect, there is no way to predict or know the effect of the influences on your perceptions nor on how your self-concept is altered.

There are a number of ways to adjust to perceptual influences. The first is to stay healthy and get rest and exercise. The second is to avoid hasty conclusions. The third is to take more time. Be available and be committed are four and five, and the sixth way to adjust to perceptual influences is to be prepared to change. But just because you have adjusted to perceptual influences, keep in mind that it is common to come to wrong conclusions; thus, it is extremely important to continually check out your interpretations of reality.

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