Self-Aspects. Psychology Fanatic article header image
Self-Aspects. Psychology Fanatic
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Self-Aspects differentiate the self under different contexts. Our view of self is comprised from a complex mix of conceptions of our characteristics under different roles and varying evaluative concepts. Basically, to know ourselves, we understand ourselves from a variety of different aspects and roles.

McConnell et al., wrote “the self is composed of multiple, context-dependent self-aspects represented in an interrelated memory network.” They continue, “these self aspects develop in the service of pursuing important self-relevant goals and reflect one’s important qualities exhibited in these domains” (2012).

A few different evaluative concepts that we may use:

  • Physical,
  • Mental,
  • Emotional,
  • Social,
  • Work/Financial and
  • Spiritual.

Key Definition:

Self Aspects are the individual traits we express under different contexts of experience.

We Can’s Evaluate Ourselves from Every Aspect at the Same Moment

The wide variety of angles of perception are impossible to hold in our working memory at the same time. So we shift, examining and judging from the context of a single aspect. Consequently, depending on the aspect we are using as a lens, the evaluation may be positive or negative.

Three Basic Self-Aspects

We can view the self from almost an infinite number of angles, each providing a small fraction of our overall self. Some authors attempt to limit the aspects, grouping the chaotic compilations of self-aspects into controllable small groupings. Markedly, even here, there is no consensus.

One interesting paper suggested we see ourselves through three primary categories.

  • Existence
  • Identification
  • Location

Self-Aspect of Existence

The sense of self quickly emerges in the young infant. The child moves from nothingness to a broad sense of existence as a sentient feeling being. Perhaps, more than “I am because I think,” I suggest a more appropriate aspect is “I am because I feel.” Here, in existence, our bodies interact with environments, experiencing stimulations, and circular influence in a complex system.

Self-Aspect of Identification

The young child moves from automatic feeling responses to self identification, developing personality, and patterns of reaction. These individual movements are accompanied by the formation of an autobiographical memory. Accordingly, we form subjective self-narratives, creating a self identity beyond simple existence.

Self-Aspect of Location

We do not see ourselves as isolated beings. As we mature, we see ourselves in relation to other things, in a specific location and time. Our sense of location is subjective and egocentric.

A Few Words by Psychology Fanatic

A stable sense of self is an essential resource for defending against depression and anxiety. While context plays a critical role in our present moment perceptions of self, we can consciously and mindfully shift from attention to self aspects that hurt self esteem and derail motivation. Accordingly, we must keep balance, seeing the good and the evil, our successes and failures. If one self-aspect brings us down, we can develop it; however, we balance our confidence by allowing more positive views lift us from different aspects of our lives.

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McConnell, A., Shoda, T., & Skulborstad, H. (2012). The Self as a Collection of Multiple Self-Aspects: Structure, Development, Operation, and Implications. Social Cognition, 30(4), 380-395.

Reddy, J., Roy, S., Leite, E., & Pereira Jr, A. (2019). The ‘Self’ Aspects: the Sense of the Existence, Identification, and Location. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 53(3), 463-483.

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