How Self Concept Impacts Communication: An Overview

The communication process is an intricate and dynamic one that has many influencing factors. One of the most pertinent of these is the self-concept; our perception of ourselves and how it can have a direct impact on how we interact with others.

In this article, we take a comprehensive overview of the role of self-concept in communication, exploring the different psychological aspects, the relationship within self discrepancy theory affect our environment, and the distinct ways it affects our behavior and relationships. We delve into topics like self-esteem, self-efficacy, impulse control, perception, and trust in order to build a nuanced and informed understanding on the complexity of self-concept communication.

Understanding these concepts promises to give readers a broader and more astute view of their communication style, as well as open up possibilities for deeper insight into themselves and their relationships.

Self-Esteem and Self-Image

Self-concept is a fundamental facet of human identity, consisting of an individual’s sense of self-respect and self-worth. Self-esteem and self-image are two key components of self-concept which have direct impacts on an individual’s communication style and ability to effectively interact with others. Self-esteem has been defined as ‘belief in oneself as an equal and independent being’, with each person having their own unique ‘self-concept’. This self concept develops and is made up of ideas and beliefs that one adopts from the way they perceive themselves and how others perceive them, resulting in positive or negative consequences on interpersonal communication.

The way individuals communicate is largely affected by their level of self-esteem, since this determines the kind of energy they put forward into any communication. Many factors influence the development of ones self-concept: current or past experiences, family values, social norms, feedback given, accomplishments obtained and how much time spent with significant people in their life. Low self-esteem can often lead to feelings of intense insecurity and can make it difficult for someone to have meaningful interactions with others. Dissatisfaction with physical appearance can also be an influencing factor to enhance one’s self esteem and-perception problems; this is particularly common among teenagers who are feeling increased pressure to look a certain way or fit into a certain mould.

The concept of self-efficacy is closely related to self-concept, as it describes a person’s confidence in their ability to succeed in specific tasks or activities. Developing a strong sense of self-efficacy creates the foundation for resilience and strength when faced with challenges and setbacks. It encourages us to learn from our mistakes and take charge of our lives, rather than relying on external validation or approval to determine our worth. Ultimately, constructing a positive self-concept is essential in order to form and maintain healthy relationships with yourself and others.

Positive Self-Esteem

Positive self-esteem is associated with healthy behaviors and effective communication. It is developed over time through supportive parenting styles, such as providing encouragement and guidance rather than aggression or abuse. People with high self-esteem tend to possess traits like empathy, self-awareness, and responsibility which can lead to improved interpersonal relations. Metaphors, similes, personification, and alliteration are stylistic devices that can be used to illustrate the importance of positive self-esteem in our lives.

Negative Self-Esteem

In contrast, people with low self-esteem often struggle to communicate effectively. This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as avoiding conversations altogether, speaking quietly or hesitantly, and feeling anxious when engaging with others. Low self-esteem can also lead to other undesirable effects like depression, anxiety, and difficulty forming relationships. Social comparison, cultural differences, reference groups and media images all play a role in influencing positive or negative patterns of self-perception. It is important for individuals to build both positive and negative perceptions of themselves in order to create an accurate sense of their own identity. To do this effectively one must use stylistic devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration and repetition.

Social Norms and Language

Social norms refer to the agreed upon standards, and expectations of behavior within a given society. They play a crucial role in our self-concept, influencing how we view ourselves and how others view us. Social norms can often be communicated through advertising aimed at women and men, which can affect women’s self-concept negatively. As studies have shown, females usually compare themselves to more positive female stereotypes due to the messages such advertisements instill in them about body image. This can be seen in the beauty industry, with its overwhelming preference for slim models that shape how women view their own bodies and general attractiveness. Lastly, media may stereotype certain cultural and racial groups, which has implications for self-concept as well.

Social comparison is another frequent form of interaction that influences the way in which individuals perceive themselves. People will often evaluate their own level of success or failure by comparing themselves to family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers. Passive-aggressive communication is another common form of expression, characterized by indirect expression of resentment or anger. In addition, people’s nonverbal behaviors, such as facial expressions, voice tones, choice of clothing, hair styling, and body language, can project their feelings about themselves. Ultimately, these behaviors communicate to others how an individual views himself or herself.

Social comparison and reference groups can have both positive and negative consequences on person’s self-concept. On the one hand, it provides individuals with inspiration for personal goals and successes, as well as ideas for better self-expression. On the other hand, it can lead to feelings of inferiority and dissatisfaction. Moreover, the advertising industry might contribute to a “culture of lack,” which is typified by subtle messages from brands urging people to buy more, be prettier, or further delineate gender roles in order to fit society’s standard of acceptability. Reference groups also play a role in shaping how individuals perceive themselves. Group membership can determine one’s beliefs and behaviors. It can also blur the line between what a person deems as his or her actual self (how they see themselves) versus an ideal self (how they would like to be seen). Thus, reference groups can reinforce or challenge cultural stereotypes related to gender and race. Similarly, the looking glass self theory suggests that our self-perceptions are formed from ideas presented to us by other people. As humans, we tend to use such external signals to form our self-concepts, and those signals can be misinterpreted by others and even ourselves if taken to an extreme.

Finally, language can influence self-concept through the thoughts it evokes and the emotions it carries. While most communication is constructive and facilitates professional and interpersonal relationships, some people’s language choices may communicate generally negative evaluations, that damage another person’s self-esteem. This might include terms such as “lazy” or “stupid” that encourage a lack of self worth. Conversely, language that exhibits positive behaviors, such as using terms like “brave” or “intelligent”, can help improve a person’s self-perceptions.

Overall, our self-concept can be greatly impacted by social norms and language. In order to develop healthy self perceptions, we must strive to respect and express our own stories, rather than allowing for such narrow media representations to shape who we are. Positive and negative self-esteem is often attributed to early childhood parenting styles, and this affects a person’s self concept in varying ways. Parents who provide a warm and accepting environment, who demonstrate empathy and nurture the child’s creative abilities for example, give the child more positive self-perceptions. Unfortunately, parents who are aggressive or abusive parents, aggressive, hostile, or reject the child may lead to lower self-esteem. Additionally, the amount of positive reinforcement a child receives impacts how much self-esteem he or she derives from other sources. Overall, self-concept is a very personal matter and is shaped by many aspects of our lives.

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Social Norms

Social norms, or accepted forms of behavior, have a major role in shaping our self-concept and how we communicate with the world. According to the principle of social comparison, individuals will assess their opinions, abilities, and personal worth based on how they compare to the reference groups and cultures around them. This can manifest in passive-aggressive communication, where a person indirectly expresses hostility or anger towards someone, or outright aggression. Other forms of self-expression include posture, clothing selection, hairstyle, behavior, language, and even tone. All these things directly affect how others will perceive us and potentially how we will perceive ourselves.

Furthermore, cultures and media outlets carry a substantial influence on how individuals perceive themselves and internalize social norms. For instance, when young girls observe slim models, perfect smiles, and attractive figures in movies and fashion magazines, they learn to think of those traits as necessary for success and acceptance, creating an unhealthy standard of beauty. Furthermore, because of human nature of media representation, culture and ethnic identity factors into perfectionism and unrealistic expectations in parts of minority communities. The gap between an individual’s actual and ideal selves begins to widen as they try to reach a standard that may be out of reach.

When discussing social norms, it’s important to consider how much praise and positive feedback children receive during early development. Studies have shown that overprotective and neglectful parents attach less value to accomplishment and instill an overall tendency toward low self-esteem. However, praise, appreciation, and support have been linked to higher self-esteem in children regardless of racial background. This suggests that parenting style plays a crucial role in a child’s self-concept throughout their life.


Language can be used as a tool to present oneself to others and can play an especially important role in maintaining our self-concepts. The words we choose and the manner in which we speak are powerful indicators of our true feelings about ourselves. How we judge others’ language, too, how does self concept affect communication, reflects our inner state. Thus, understanding cultural and individual differences surrounding language and communication conventions should help us understand how to effectively present ourselves.

Things like slang and idiomatic expressions vary greatly between communities and can influence interpretation differently. For example, saying something like “That’s cool” conveys understanding but may not necessarily reflect a particularly strong opinion. On the other hand, something like “That’s awesome” might suggest a much more enthusiastic sentiment behind the same statement. Furthermore, the media and presence of reference groups can completely alter how language is used, reinforcing or challenging cultural stereotypes in the process.

In any case, whether language is used positively or negatively, it carries implications on how we view ourselves. Overly aggressive rhetoric or vulgarities can distract from the point of the conversation without properly expressing the speaker’s true feelings. For example, in a heated argument, someone may use foul language, resort to name-calling, or other demeaning speech instead of calmly relaying their opinion. Words may also evoke thoughts that bring forth certain emotions, so being mindful of how we talk can help avoid unnecessary drama and frustration. Listening thoughtfully and speaking calmly is key to successful communication.

Ultimately, language has the power to help us present ourselves in a positive light or make us look bad. Despite the personal view of language being self-expression, one must find a balance between speaking freely without disrespecting oneself or others. Maintaining a proper level of respect during conversations helps build a positive self presentation leads to confidence and stronger relationships with peers. Therefore, understanding the importance of ruling out potential triggers and avoiding harsh language can create an effective method of self-expression.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Humans are constantly developing beliefs and expectations about themself and the world around them. Robert Rosenthal’s self-fulfilling prophecy is based on this fact, and is defined as a phenomenon in which a person’s expectations about themselves or another can influence their behaviors and turn into reality. A prime example of this is Pedro, a mentor from a non-profit organization aimed at boosting adolescent self-esteem. As Pedro went around performing various tasks, he himself realized how efficiently he was capable of completing tasks. This increased his feeling of self-efficacy which then drove him towards higher achievement.

The way culture affects whether people engage in self-enhancement is undeniable. Self-enhancement is characterized by an emphasis on desirable qualities relative to other people, and through research it has been found that some cultures rely on positive self-perceptions more than others. An interesting concept related to this form of self-enhancement is known as the pygmalion effect, in which superior results seen in one individual serve to significantly boost the self-confidence of all those surrounding them.

Additionally, when evaluations placed upon self-concept don’t match up with actual self, the emotions, thinking and behavior of the individual that result from such a divergence create self-fulfilling prophecies. In this case, the person’s thoughts evoke emotional responses that tend to worsen the earlier thought creating a vicious circle. The discrepancy between the actual and ideal selves can also be seen in regards to group and cultural membership or social comparison theory. Verbal and nonverbal feedback from significant people can either enrich or degrade the person’s authenticity, ultimately affecting their behaviors. Thereby, self-concept will always refer to more than just one concept and can even include expansive components common self presentation strategies such as self-image and self-esteem, both of which will affect the person differently.

Ultimately, self-fulfilling prophecies pave the way for humans to make more positive self-perceptions and gain higher self-esteem while simultaneously upping their potential. Thus, when used appropriately, self-fulfilling prophecies can result in both positive and negative consequences. To conclude, constructive use of this technique helps shape individuals’ thoughts and feelings of self-worth as well as their interactions with others. Along with feedback provided by others, our own self-perceptions play an essential role in developing and sustaining a healthy self-concept.

The Looking Glass Self

The term “looking glass self” is a metaphor to explain how we form our self serving self presentation and identity. It suggests that we view ourselves through the eyes of others. Our self-perception is shaped largely by the perception of others and their reactions to us, a process known as reflected appraisal. Social and family influences, culture, and even the media have an immense effect in shaping an individual’s self concept. Unfortunately, media images can be particularly detrimental to self-perception, reinforcing unrealistic standards of beauty, attractiveness, and more. Individuals who come from biracial families face additional challenges when integrating both racial identities into their self-concept.

As people interact with each other, their thoughts and feelings about themselves begin to take shape. Through social comparison theory, we are able to examine how we form individual beliefs through comparing and contrasting ourselves with other individuals or groups. This can be done through reflecting on our successes and failures, as well as within the context of ideal self versus actual selves and group or cultural membership. Unfortunately, this approach can reinforce existing social and cultural stereotypes, creating and maintaining narrow, rigid notions of identity. The thoughts that we generate about ourselves through these comparisons often evoke powerful emotional responses, which provide clues to our own self-awareness and worth.

When reaction of others creates a gap between our actual and ideal selves, the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy comes into play. It is when personal characteristics, self-perceptions, and self presentation have the power to influence essentially any situation. This suggests that our thoughts and feelings about ourselves can lead to both positive and negative consequences. Finding a balance between the two is critical, as it can affect one’s self-concept and determine a person’s success or failure in various aspects of life.

Ultimately, it is important to understand how self-concept shapes communication and influences our behavior, forming the basis of healthy relationships and communication.


Self-perception consists of the beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves, which are shaped by external factors such as reflected appraisal and comparison to others. Reflected appraisal is the process of forming our self-image based on how we think other people view us. We often compare ourselves to those around us in order to gain a better understanding of who we are, but this can lead to problems if it reinforces existing stereotypes or causes feelings of inadequacy. To illustrate these concepts, stylistic devices such as metaphors, similes, personification and alliteration can be used. In this essay, I will explore the concept of self-perception and how it is influenced by external factors like reflected appraisal and interpersonal comparison.

Reflection of Others’ Perceptions

The ideas of reflection of others’ perceptions and the looking glass self are complex concepts that can have a profound impact on our lives. When we try to please others by adapting our behaviour, it can be beneficial in some cases but also potentially damaging if taken too far. Those whose actual selves do not match up with the idealized image they have of themselves often find it difficult to reconcile these two aspects of their identity. To overcome this challenge, one must be aware of how their actions may affect those around them and strive for a positive self-concept without compromising their authentic selves. By doing so, we can grow and find fulfillment in life while still being true to ourselves.

Coping with Failure

Self-discrepancy theory describes the phenomenon of evaluating ourselves against an ideal self. It suggests that our self-concept is affected by discrepancies between our actual self, ideal self, and our perceived or potential selves. These evaluations can lead to a cycle of thinking and acting with both positive and negative consequences. For example, Patricia Rosenthal’s work illustrated in her experiments how an individual’s evaluation placed upon them can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. His experiment on Pedro showed just how much positive reinforcement and his improved sense of self-efficacy as a result of more positive and supportive attention from his teacher changed his performance, even though there had been no actual change in his IQ score.

Culture also has an impact on self-enhancement behaviors, which affect an individual’s self-image. Social comparison plays a significant role in this process, due to reinforce cultural stereotypes related to the implications it carries. People are often compelled to compare themselves to others and when they do so they become aware of the personal characteristics they may lack or the standards they have yet to reach. Additionally, people tend to process information about themselves within their family, intimate partners, and culture. Supportive parents and partners can significantly influence an individual’s self-worth. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact their verbal and nonverbal feedback has on a person’s concept and self-image.

Furthermore, the looking glass self theory reveals how much support and reinforcement we receive from our social circles, to adjust our behavior and become closer to our ideal selves. This evaluation of our actual and potential selves create strong emotional responses, which are based on our thoughts about ourselves. We need to respond to these evaluations in either positive or negative ways. The extent to which these evaluations have a positive or negative impact on an individual’s self-esteem depends on the amount of both positive and negative ways of reinforcement they receive.

When we encounter failure in life, believing in ourselves and focusing on our strengths is crucial. Positive thoughts propel us to remain proactive and to take responsibility for our actions. As with every other emotion, failure has both positive and negative effects. People who experience positive emotional and behavioral effects as a result of failing can use it as motivation to push forward, while those who feel dejected should be mindful of exhibiting aggressive or abusive behaviors. Ultimately, this will affect their way of communicating with their group or cultural memberships.

In conclusion, it is extremely important to remain conscious of your own self-perception, as it affects self concept varies well as its impact on how you communicate to protect and retain your self-concept. Lastly, the effects of self-enhancement coupled with social comparison, can exhibit both positive and negative reactions. Therefore, judging and obtaining the significant others wishes for them, is wise but not always helpful when it comes to enhancing self-concept.


Self-presentation is a process of strategically concealing or revealing personal information to influence others’ perceptions. Having a positive self-concept facilitates openness and can lead to better communication. One’s behavior, appearance, language, and nonverbal communication behaviors (posture, tone of voice) project how they feel about themselves. Managing self-presentation online also poses its own challenges, such as constructing a profile, posting status updates, “liking” certain things, and sharing various information—all of which can be used to form impressions based on number of friends and photos/posts tagged. Intentional misrepresentation during self-presentation carries dire consequences, yet there are two main types of self-presentation: prosocial and self-serving. Cultural and economic factors can influence self-enhancement and these same media influence self perception.-enhancement behaviors can also be misused leading to negative online experiences.

Self-presentation can be used to enhance one’s self-concept. Competent and conscious self-presentation allows others to pick up on more cues from which to form impressions, creating a more positive and accurate picture of oneself while being more engaging and confident. Self-monitoring skills are important, combining situational and social context, ideal and actual selves, false self presentation and how to cope with failure in order to understand the implications of one’s such false self presentation and identity in order to receive a positive evaluative response.

Being an effective and skilled self presenter draws on understanding of how one’s behavior affects one’s self perceptions and how it reflects on other’s perception of oneself. As such, self presentation strategies must involve careful consideration and planning to explore the aspects of self serving strategies benefit one’s self concept and ensure honest self presentation. With the use of self presentation, it is possible to build self esteem and foster more positive self perceptions and self serving strategies that will ultimately benefit individual’s self identity.


In summary, effective communication requires a strong self-concept and the ability to maintain a healthy balance between accurately presenting oneself to others and staying true to one’s own values. Our self-esteem and positive self presentation re-image play an important role in how we communicate, with positive self-esteem enabling us to be more assertive and better equipped for communication.

Our self-concept is shaped by parenting styles and the supportive feedback we receive from those around us, social norms, language, media and reference groups and our environments can all have direct impacts on our self-concept. This can lead to both positive and negative effects in communication, depending on how effectively and accurately we are able to portray ourselves while maintaining a sense of integrity.

Self-fulfilling prophecies and the looking glass self represent the effects of reflected appraisal: if we expect certain behaviors or reactions from someone, this may come true due to our own behavior and expectations of ourselves as presented to others.

In order to stay grounded and establish positive relationships with others, it is necessary to understand our self-perception, manage failure, and develop a strategy for presenting ourselves authentically and positively.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does one’s self-concept impact one’s communication effectiveness?

One’s self-concept is an important factor that influences how we interact with others and see ourselves. Having a favorable self-view will enable us to engage in more meaningful conversations with the confidence needed to convey ideas and messages effectively.

As such, a strong sense of self can support successful interpersonal communication.

What is self-concept in communication examples?

Self-concept impacts our communication in numerous ways, from how confidently and clearly we express ourselves to how we interpret the feedback of others. Our own assessment and perception of ourselves plays a large role in our conversations with those around us.

Understanding how it affects our communication can help us to become more effective communicators.

How is self-concept a barrier to communication?

Self-concept can be a major barrier to communication because it causes one to assume they know what other people think and how they will respond, leading them to create an internal barrier that hinders a productive conversation.

Additionally, one’s self-concept has the potential to become a false reality, leading to communication based on beliefs that are not factual or accurate.

Is self-concept shaped by communication?

It is evident that communication can greatly shape one’s self-concept. As individuals interact and form relationships, they use communication to make judgments and form perceptions of their own identity.

Thus, communication undeniably has a profound impact on an individual’s self-concept.

What is self-concept in communication examples?

Self-concept in communication examples is all about how we perceive ourselves and present ourselves to others. It’s our self image and self esteem that directly impacts how we communicate and are then perceived or judged by those around us. How we view and think about ourselves can shape our conversations for the better or for worse.

Our self-concept can be influenced by our environment, our experiences, and our relationships. It can be a positive or negative force in our lives, depending on how we choose to

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