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Self Concept in Psychology of Interpersonal Communication

By observing ourselves, we come to our self-image and self-assessment. This is called self-concept. William D. Brooks defines self-concept as "those physical, social, and psychological perceptions of ourselves that we have derived from experiences and our interactions with others. So self-concept is our view and feeling about ourselves. This self-perception may be psychological, social, and physical.

Factors Affecting Self-Concept

1. Other people.

As discussed above other people have an influence on individuals in concluding their self-concept. In addition, quoting Gabriel Marcel's statement in Rakhmat (2004:100),

“The fact is that we can understand ourselves by starting from the other, or others, and only starting from them.” We know ourselves by knowing others first. How you judge me will shape my self-concept.

We agree that other people influence the formation of our self-concept. However, not everyone else has the same influence on us. There are the most influential, namely the people who are closest to us. George Herbert Mead in Grace (2004:101) calls them Significant others - other very important people.

2. Reference group

In society, we must be members of various community groups. Some groups emotionally bind us and influence the formation of our self-concept. By looking at this group, people direct their behavior and adapt to the characteristics of the group. when we became members of the badminton union group, the student association of Trunojoyo Madura University, and others.

Self Concept in Psychology of Interpersonal Communication
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The Influence of Self-Concept on Interpersonal Communication

A. Self-fulfilling prophecy

That is the tendency to behave according to one's concept. Everyone behaves as much as possible according to his self-concept. If a student considers himself to be a diligent person, he will try to attend lectures regularly, take good notes, and study the course material seriously, to get good academic grades.

Brooks in Rakhmat (2004:105), identifies the human self-concept to be positive and negative. The characteristics of people who have a negative self-concept:
  1. Sensitive to criticism
  2. Very responsive to compliments
  3. Hypercritical attitude, excessive attitude in making judgments of others. he is always criticizing, complaining, belittling, unintelligent, and unable to express appreciation or acknowledgment of the strengths of others.
  4. Feeling disliked by others, feeling unnoticed, until he reacts to others as enemies, so he cannot feel the warmth of friendship.
  5. Pessimistic to compete in a competition.
  6. On the other hand, people who have a positive self-concept are characterized by five things:
  7. Confident in his ability to solve problems
  8. Feeling equal to others
  9. He accepts compliments without shame
  10. He is aware that everyone has various kinds of feelings, desires, and behaviors that are not entirely approved by society.
  11. He can improve himself because he can reveal aspects of his personality that he does not like and try to change them.

B. Open up

  1. Knowledge about ourselves will improve communication, and at the same time, communicating with others increases knowledge about ourselves. By opening up, the self-concept becomes closer to reality. When our self-concept matches our experience, we will be more open to new experiences and ideas.
  2. The relationship between self-concept and self-disclosure can be explained by the Johari Window model
  3. This model explains that one window is not separated from another window. Enlarging one type of window will make the other window smaller.
  4. Open self, presenting information, behavior, traits, feelings, desires, motives, and ideas that are known/realized by ourselves and others.
  5. Blind self, this section presents things about ourselves that other people know/are aware of but don't know/are aware of by ourselves.
  6. Hidden self, this section contains data that we know/realize from within ourselves and are not known by others. which we keep to ourselves.
  7. Unknown self, this part is an aspect of self that we do not know or other people know about. The wider a person's open self, the more open he is to others. This makes the relationship between the two even closer.

C. self-confident

The fear of communicating is known as communication apprehension. People who are comprehensive in communication are caused by a lack of self-confidence. To grow self-confidence, it is necessary to cultivate a healthy self-concept.

D. Selectivity

Self-concept influences our communication behavior because self-concept affects what messages we are willing to reveal to ourselves (selective exposure), how we perceive messages (selective perception), and what we remember (selective memory). In addition, self-concept also influences message encoding (selective encoding).

Self-concept causes:
  • Selective exposure
  • Selective perception
  • Selective memory
One of the determinants of successful development is self-concept. Self-concept is an important part of any discussion about human personality. Self-concept is a unique trait in humans so it can be used to distinguish humans from other living beings. Personality psychologists try to explain the nature and function of self-concept so that there are several meanings. A person's self-concept is expressed through his attitude which is the actualization of that person.

Humans as organisms that have the urge to develop, ultimately cause them to be aware of their existence. This ongoing development then helps the formation of the individual's self-concept.

A person often feels pessimistic that he does not have the ability even though all success depends a lot on the way the individual views the quality of his abilities. Negative views and attitudes towards the quality of their abilities have resulted in individuals viewing all tasks as difficult to complete.

On the other hand, a positive view of the quality of one's abilities results in an individual viewing the entire task as something easy to complete. Self-concept is formed and can change due to interaction with the environment.

DRS. Rakhmat, Jalaluddin, Psikologi Komunikasi, Bandung, PT Remaja Rosdakarya, 2008
Morissan, M.A. Psikologi Komunikasi, Bogor, Ghalia Indonesia, 2010.