Who am I?
Who am I? This is a very difficult question to answer for most of humanity!
We do not know ourselves well enough- our self- concept is hazy!
Our self- concept is often a summation of consistent views expressed by others about us. The views are often something like this:
“You can never get up in time!”
“You are totally irresponsible!”
“You can never keep your things properly!”
“You stay in bad company- your friends will spoil you!”
“You are only fond of playing; see your neighbor, how much he studies! I don’t know if you will be able to do any work!”
“You are too simple! The World is too bad! I don’t know how you will manage?”
“You talk too much!”
“You never finish your homework in time!”
“You don’t pay attention in class!”
“The way you are going, you will find it difficult to get admission in any good college!”
“You are very straightforward; you should be more diplomatic!”
“X has said that he will beat you in the race! He is practicing very hard!”
Should we form a self- concept on the basis of above views, which are all well-meaning, but reflect the insecurities of the Mother, Teacher & Friend? Is there another way to form a self- concept?
Introspection is another method. You assess yourself based on self- analysis & ignore the views of others. This method has only limited reliability. We may overrate/ underrate our positive/ negative traits. Our assessment is subjective and ignores the value of demonstrated behavior.
Let us learn about a very important research- “Self- fulfilling Prophecy”.
(Pygmalion Research-1968) Self- Fulfilling Prophecy
The original research of Rosenthal and Jacobson focused on an experiment at an elementary school where students took intelligence pre-tests.
Rosenthal and Jacobson then informed the teachers of the names of twenty percent of the students in the school who were showing “unusual potential for intellectual growth” and would bloom academically within the year.
Unknown to the teachers, these students were selected randomly with no relation to the initial test.
When Rosenthal and Jacobson tested the students eight months later, they discovered that the randomly selected students who teachers thought would bloom scored significantly higher.
Higher expectations of teachers induced higher performance. This showed the immense power of the ‘self- fulfilling prophecy’. The logic of ‘self- fulfilling prophecy’ applies almost universally. High expectations induce high performance, while low expectations induce low performance.
How the above knowledge helps us to answer the question who am I?
Let us note some facts.
Fact1-It is very difficult to form an accurate clear self- concept.
Fact 2-Human capacity for growth is unlimited.
Fact 3-By being proactive we can unlearn poor habits & learn good habits & thus change our personalities for the better.
Keeping the above knowledge in mind, can we now formulate the answer to the question-“Who am I?”
Forming a Clearer Self- Concept
We are able to develop a hazy self- concept through opinion of others and by introspection. We can live with it, or make it more accurate by assessing ourselves:-
‘FORM A SELF- CONCEPT ON THE BASIS OF CONSISTENT, DEMONSTRATED BEHAVIOR, RATHER THAN ON THE BASIS OF OUR THOUGHTS & PERCEPTIONS’.
It is not an easy exercise, but feasible to form a more accurate self- concept.
Create your Personality
Now visualize as to what type of person you would like to be- ideal self- image. There would be differences in the ideal self- image & the self- concept.
Some habits will have to be given up, which are unworthy of you, but form part of your personality because of various environmental influences and your choices. It will take time & effort. Similarly some new habits will have to be formed.
Thus you will always remain on a journey of self- improvement, because as you mature your ideas will also evolve & so your ideal self- image will also keep changing.
All this improvement will take place in incremental small steps.
A reactive person will accept himself/herself as evolved due to the impact of genes and environment. The person believes that the negative aspects of the personality are to be lived with. For a reactive person the answer to the question ‘who am I?’ is that the basic nature cannot be changed and he is how God made him and the environment shaped him.
Proactive Person’s Answer to Question- Who am I?
The answer to the question, ‘who am I?’ by a proactive person will be-
“ I AM AN EVOLVING PERSON, WHO HAS A FAIRLY ACCURATE IDEA OF WHO I WOULD LIKE TO BE & AM SLOWLY MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION”
Be a proactive person and create your personality as desired!