How to Create a Positive Self Concept

How to create a positive self concept

Our self concept refers to the idea of who we think we are.  Have you ever been in a job interview, and the interviewer asks you “Tell me who you are” or “Tell me a little about yourself”.  Do you hate it when they ask questions like that?  Do you struggle to describe who you are? Do you feel uncomfortable describing yourself? Is it possible that you don’t have a strong self concept? There are many things that help to shape our self concept, like the theory of Reflected Appraisal and the Social Comparison Theory.  We will look into these and discuss how to create a positive self concept.

How to create a positive self concept

First, let’s answer the question “Tell me who you are”.  In order to do this, we are going to do an exercise. You will need a couple of pieces of paper and a pen. On the first sheet of paper, write down ten words or short phrases that describe who you are.  Some of these items might include your social roles: husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, employee, boss and so on.  They may include physical characteristics: fat, skinny, tall, short, white, black and so on.  They may include intellectual characteristics: smart, dumb, math scholar, inquisitive and so on.  You may even include your mood: happy, sad, mad, energetic and so on.  Or you may include social characteristics, such as outgoing, shy, helpful, creative, loving and so on.  You may even include terms based on your belief system: Christian, vegetarian, philosophical, republican, democrat and so on.  You may even include particular skills (or lack thereof): athletic, carpenter, gardener, bible quizzer, wood worker, crafty and so on.  So go ahead and make your list…

Got it?  All ten?  It is imperative, in order to complete this exercise effectively, to have this list completed, not just a mental list, but a physical list written out. Trust me, you won’t regret it.  So now that your list is completed, find the item that is the most fundamental to who you are as a person and copy it to the top of the second sheet of paper.  Now pick the second and write it below the first item on the second sheet of paper and so on, until you have all ten items listed in order of most to least fundamental.

how to create a positive self concept

Now, create a mental image of yourself.  Try to paint a picture that only reflects who you are as you listed in your ten items.  Take as much time as you need to create this image.  Now imagine what kind of person you would be if the bottom item was not part of your personality or physical makeup.  Without this item, how does it effect your personality, the way you feel, the way you parent, and the way others perceive you? Do you like yourself better without this characteristic? Is it easy to give it up? Take a few minutes to reflect and answer these questions. Continue up your list, from bottom to top.

Do you have a better understanding of not only who you are, but what your “self concept” is?

Perceiving and Presenting Self

how to create positive self concept

How Do we Develop Self Concept?

Self concept develops over time, and several factors play into what makes up our self concept. Some of these include Reflected Appraisal and Social Comparison. Our self concept is developed by how others treat us and make us feel, comparing ourselves to others around us, and how the judgments of others make us view ourselves.

how to create a positive self concept

Reflected Appraisal

Reflected Appraisal, or The Looking Glass Self is how we value ourselves based on our interactions with others, how they treat us, and how we perceive their judgment of us to be. Have you ever had someone in your life that just made you feel like you could move mountains? Like you could do anything you put your mind to. These people help to form our self concept in tiny nudges and even some big shoves. Think back to a youth minister or family friend who took an interest in you or your family or who never put you down while you sewed your wild oats. Think about this person and how they made you feel. How they helped you form your self concept.

Now, on the flip side, think of a person who acted or spoke to you in a way that made you feel diminished. It could be a teacher who belittled you in front of the class, a parent who, instead of using words that built you up, they used words that tore you down, it could be a “friend” who laughed at and made fun of you for silly things.

After you recall these two people, you can see how a person’s self concept is formed by the perceptions of the judgments of those around them. This is self appraisal. You are appraising yourself through the eyes of those around you. Those around us can give critical signals, making us feel less valuable, or they can give us encouragement and make us feel like a million bucks!

Likewise, as parents, we can criticize our kids’ decisions and actions, or we can allow their actions and their natural consequences to be a learning tool, then use our words to build them up and encourage them to make wiser choices in the future. We want to build up kids with a strong and positive self concept. Personally, I don’t want my kids to struggle when they answer the question “Who am I?” I want them to have a strong sense of who they are, and I want to do everything I can to make sure I am a positive influence in developing their self concept.

As you can see, the messages that we receive from significant others (those whose evaluations are especially influential), help to shape our self concept. A teacher, coach, family member, close friend, or even a barely known, well respected acquaintance. The messages we receive from these individuals remains powerful, even as time passes as we get older. Social scientists have what they call the “Michelangelo phenomenon” to describe how our significant others can shape and sculpt us.

how to createa a positive self concept

Social Comparison

Social comparison is the process of evaluating ourselves in comparison to others around us. We determine how similar or different, superior or inferior we are to others. Many people (me included) place unrealistic demands on themselves and compare themselves to people that are in completely different reference groups. For example, a high school girl with adolescent acne may compare herself to an airbrushed model on the cover a magazine and feel worthless because she is not as beautiful as that model. When we do this to ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure.

I often see my friends who get to take their kids on vacation 2-3 times a year and dress their kids in the latest styles, name brand clothes, and I can feel like a failure as a mom. I’ll think Why can’t I provide this for my kids!? I get lost in the comparison. I don’t think about that fact that these families probably make more money than we do, or are in debt up to their eye balls trying to provide all these things for their kids.

The problem in parenting and social comparison is that we can feel like failures because we are not able to provide what other parents can provide for their families. This is where social comparison can have a disastrous effect on the self concept.

A great way to use social comparison in your best interest, is to keep in mind what social scientists call “reference groups”. If your family makes $80,000 a year, then don’t compare yourself to a family who makes a $1 million a year. This family is in a completely different reference group. If you are a faith believing family, then don’t compare yourself to a family who has no  religious belief system. If you are a stay at home mom, then don’t compare yourself to a CEO mom. Comparing ourselves to similar reference groups can help to make social comparison effective in shaping a positive self concept.

When I compare myself to a work from home mom, or a blogging mom who’s family is in a similar financial bracket, I will have a much more positive outlook on the comparison. When I talk to these moms, I find out that they struggle with not being able to afford vacations for their families either. And they shop at resale shops to buy name brand clothes too! They can’t even begin to afford Sephora or Younique products. So it would be diminishing for me to compare myself to moms who can afford to do all these things.

Social comparison can also be a way of reshaping an unsatisfying self concept. While talking to another little league mom, you may find out that a mom within your reference group puts money back every month to take her family on a mini “stay-cation”. This may give you the motivation you need to do something similar for your own family. You may not be able to take your kids to Disney World for 10 days, but maybe you can visit a local amusement park for a couple of days. And maybe while conversing with other moms in your reference group, you may also learn new ways to find name brand clothes at reduced prices, grocery stores that offer name brand food at discounted prices and so on. You may also learn ways to give your family what you want to give them at an affordable price (like the mini stay-cation).

As you can see, social comparison can be detrimental to our sense of self concept or it can be a motivator to improve areas that we are dissatisfied with.

how to create a positive self concept

The Self Concept is Only the Beginning

The self concept directly relates to our self esteem and self efficacy. I will go into more detail on these in another blog post. But if you struggle with self esteem or self efficacy, than the chances are you never developed a strong self concept. So take your list that we made at the beginning of your blog post. Really digest it and chew on it over the next few days. Metaphorically speaking of course 😉

how to create a positive self concept


So think about your self concept. Can you imagine how social comparison and reflected appraisal help to form your self concept? You are in control of who you compare yourself to. You are in control of who you allow to effect yourself negatively or positively for that matter. I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. There will always be people in our lives that will try to put you down and make you feel like they are better than you. Some people just like to tear others down. You can train yourself to not allow those people to effect you and your view of your self concept.  You are who you choose to be.

Likewise, you can work hard to create a positive self concept in your children. Your words in your kids’ lives are powerful. Your words can build them up, or your words can tear them down. Your actions can build them up or your actions can tear them down.

Your kids can look back on their childhood and remember their parents as parents who made them feel like they could accomplish anything or you can make them feel like failures. Your actions and your words WILL directly affect how your children view their own self concept. If you want to create young adults who have a high self concept, high self esteem and self efficacy then allow the building blocks you place at the base of your children’s self concept to be positive and uplifting, not negative and derogatory. Your words are powerful. I think many times we forget that, as parents. We get lost in parenting and forget that we have a profound effect on our children. Our words and actions can build them up or they can tear them down. Allow that effect that you have as parents to build your children up and not tear them down.

Isaiah 43:4 “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”



5 Ways Moms Can De-Stress Right Now!

5 ways moms can de-stress right now

Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a working mom, a work-from-home-mom, or something in between, I’m sure you can relate to the inevitable “mom-stress’.  Let me guess.  You plan to be the perfect mom, who can balance all of your daily tasks but by the end of the day, you feel like you are being pulled in so many different directions, you are just completely exhausted.  Both physically and mentally.  But you don’t have to feel that way!  There are so many ways moms can de-stress!  I’ll go over just a few today!

ways moms can de-stress

You start your day off a little like this.  Happy, spending time with your kids.  Enjoying your time together.

Tackling Responsibilities = Mom-Stress

Responsibilities and hearing little ones say “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom” about a bagillion times can often times create anxiety and stress in us moms.  A friend of mine posted on facebook that she actually counted how many times her daughter said “Mom” in a 20 min. time frame.  She said she stopped counting at 200.  Over 200 times, her daughter said “Mom” in a 20 min. time frame.  That can create some serious mommy stress!

So as you go throughout your day, and your kids need you and your husband needs you and your house needs you and you try to be everything for everyone, you find yourself being everything for everyone except yourself.  You neglect yourself.  You put your own needs on the back-burner.  Have you ever thought about ways moms can de-stress?

Comparing Ourselves to Other Moms = Mom-Stress

You see the other moms who always look perfect, who have every hair perfectly placed.  All the time.  Their kids are always smiling.  Their kids are always in name brand clothes.  They go on vacation to elaborate and fancy places.  Their lives seem perfect, and they never seem stressed.  And when they do, it’s about things that you’d wish you could be stressed over.  “Oh no!  We couldn’t go to Hawaii this year because the five stare luxury hotel was booked solid so now we’re just going to have to go to Disney World!”  Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of problems!?


You wake up feeling like this, loving life and cuddling with your babies.

mama stress5You end your day feeling like this, pulled from every direction, like a mid-evil torture device.  You want so badly to be able to handle life  like those “perfect” moms who seem to have everything under control.  All the time.

The Perfect Mom Doesn’t Exist…

Let me tell you this.  There’s no such thing as the perfect mom.  None of us are cut from the same mold.  And no matter how “great” someone’s life seems to be, you only see the part they want you to see!  The instagram photos, facebook posts and snapchats they put out there are the parts of their life they choose to display, in an effort to appear as if their life is perfect.  We can all benefit from finding ways moms can de-stress.

Of your close friends, do you know anyone who has a perfect life?  Of course not!  Everyone has issues, and everyone has problems.  The families that are always going on vacation and have name brand clothes, and hair cuts from the most expensive salon in town, are probably in debt up to their eye balls.  They very well may be wishing on their lucky stars at night to have a life just like yours.  But no matter what life you lead, putting yourself on the back burner and neglecting your own needs will never lead to happiness!

5 ways moms can de-stress right now!

There are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to de-stress.  We can ALL benefit from these ways moms can de-stress.  They are inexpensive.  They are effective.  They will have you feeling like your old self in no-time!

Discover Ways Moms Can De-Stress with This Article From The Today Show: 7 Tricks to Help Stressed Moms Chill Out.

5 Ways Moms Can De-Stress


  1. Have some weekly alone time – Grocery shopping doesn’t count!  Your alone time should consist of you leaving the house, child free for no other reason, than to leave the house.  Sometimes I go to a coffee shop by myself or with a friend and we just sit and talk and drink coffee, or I sit by myself and drink coffee and enjoy reading the paper or whatever.Alone time is yours.  You are not responsible for anyone or anything.  I used to laugh and joke that my grocery shopping trip was my “alone time”.  I would joke about it, but I was very sad because it was true.  That was the only time I could truly be alone.  But as the economy began to change and we became much more tight with our money, grocery shopping became more of a headache than a leisure time away from the house.  Carrying a calculator through the store, comparing products’ price per ounce and stressing about how much you’re going to spend should not and I repeat SHOULD NOT count as your alone time away from home!You don’t have to something elaborate, but you can do something that you like to do.  If money is no object, than go have a massage, or get your hair done just for the heck of it.  Enjoy at least 1 hour away from home, where you are responsible for nothing but your own pleasure.  And “pleasure” can be as simple as sitting in peace and quiet.  🙂
  2. Enjoy some Yoga.  There are a LOT of great yoga poses that are good for depression and anxiety.  Yoga poses are even better at preventing these conditions than they are for treating them.  I’m sure, if you are a mom, there is probably at least a little bit of anxiety in your body (it comes with the territory lol), but if you are not clinically depressed or anxious, than don’t discount these yoga poses!Yoga poses are great for your physical condition, as they help tone your body, but they also offer a restorative effect to your mind and spirit, rejuvenating your inner self and helping you to be ready to meet whatever comes your way!
  3. Mom & Dad date night!  Don’t forsake date night with your partner.  Having time alone without the kids can have a great restorative effect in and of itself!  You may say that you don’t have a baby sitter.  OK, perhaps you can join with another couple and exchanging babysitting for free for each other once a month so that both families can have their mommy & daddy date night!You could also, have an at-home date night after the kids go to bed.  Maybe a romantic candle lit dinner in the back yard. 🙂  If you have kids that have the tendency to get up at night, you might want to forgo the backyard candle lit dinner, and just spring for the out of the house date.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  A walk through the park, or along the beach can be just as romantic as dinner in a nice restaurant.Just like you need your own personal time away where you are  responsible for no one but yourself, you also need time away with your partner where the two of you are responsible for no one but each other.And if you have the money, try to do at least an annual weekend away.  Even if it’s just one night.  Having an overnight stay in a hotel where you don’t even have to make your bed can be so rejuvenating!  Not only for yourself but for your marriage!
  4. Seek out a godly mom-mentor.  I cannot express how important it is to have a mentor whom you can seek godly advice from.  Even if you have the best parents in the whole wide world, who give you the best advice you could ask for.  I’m not saying not to talk to your parents about your own parenting issues.  But what I am saying, is having someone who is completely un-biased who you can talk to and get advice from is worth it’s weight in gold!I just recently joined a group called “Moms Mentoring Moms”.  I signed up both to be a mentor and a mentee.  It hasn’t started yet, we are getting our emails at the end of this week about who we were assigned to mentor.  I can’t wait!  This is why I’m excited!  First, I can tell my mentor things that I would cringe about telling to to anyone else.  I can be real, and I can be fully honest and not hold anything back for fear of them thinking I’m odd or strange.  I don’t have to worry that I’ll lose their friendship.  Because they aren’t there to be my friend.  They’re there to be my mentor.  We are all paired based on our life situations and what we’ve been through and what we’re going through.  My mentor has been through what I’m going through, and THAT is worth it’s weight in gold!  Second, if you ever want to feel better, it will usually happen faster when you help someone else.  I can mentor another mom who feels she has lost herself in motherhood.  I can encourage her and let her know that she is doing a good job!  I can be reminded of what it means to help someone else.  Because with four little people depending on me, I don’t really get out to help people anymore, which is something I used to love to do.
  5. Have daily prayer time.  If you can get up first thing in the morning before anyone else does, that would be the best time to have your prayer time.  Before anyone else gets up.  Before anyone needs anything from you.  Before you have to make breakfast, or take anyone to the bathroom, or change any diapers, or make any juice cups.  Have your time with God, and allow Him to mentor you.  Because there is no mentor out there like God!  Read your bible, have a daily devotional, or whatever you do in the mornings, and have a few minutes of prayer.  Pray for your children, pray for your spouse, pray for yourself, and pray for wisdom and discernment to be able to handle everything you day is going to throw at you.  Because God knows what your day is going to throw at you before you do!  There’s no better way to start your day, than to ask God to prepare you for your day!

You Are Needed…

No matter what is going on in your life, remind yourself that your kids need you, your partner needs you and believe it or not, you need you!  The stresses that are going on now will not be going on forever and eventually these littles that keep you running ragged are going to be grown up with littles of their own and you’ll be begging for these days back.  Believe it or not, you will.  And when that day comes, you’ll be passing down your expertise on ways moms can de-stress to your children and your daughters in-law.

5 ways moms can de-stress right now!

Some days, when my daughter has begged me to take her to the bathroom for the umteenth time, I think to myself “I can’t wait until I’m empty nesting”.  I almost get giddy when I think about it.  I’ll actually be able to do what I want to do!  I won’t have to wash poop out of anyone’s underwear.  I won’t have to have yet another argument as to why you cannot kick your brother in the head.  I won’t have to take one child out to swing, another in to the potty and then argue with them about how I can no longer swing them and play with them because now I have to go in and fix supper.  Then I won’t have to threaten them to eat their dinner.

I get to the point where I have to force myself to quit thinking about it, because my chest starts to tighten with all my responsibilities and obligations turning into anxiety.

Yoga Poses to Teach Ways Moms Can De-Stress

Enjoy These Times While they Last

So I have to remind myself to enjoy these moments while they are here (the happy moments).  Because they won’t be here forever.  And God knows, when my kids are grown and away from home, I’ll look back at pictures and videos of when they were young and cry because I miss it.  I’ll miss Hannah climbing up on my lap and falling asleep sucking her thumb.  I’ll miss Ali asking me to hold her, and sucking her thumb while twirling her fingers in the hair behind my ears.  I’ll miss Joshua coming into my room at night time crying because he forgot to give me his “Joshy-hug” and he was afraid I couldn’t go to sleep until I got it.  I’ll miss Dylan coming to me in tender moments and asking me largely philosophical questions for his age, wanting to make the world a better and safer place for everyone.

5 ways moms can de-stress right now!

At the end of my life, when I look back on these times, I’m not going to remember near the amount of stressful days as I will the happy days.  The hand painted “mommy & me” portraits.  The rocks shaped like dinosaurs.  The Indian arrow heads.  The days spent fishing, and the nights spent catching fire flies.  Badminton in the field and water volley ball in Grandma’s pool.  Camping under the stars and roasting marshmallows over the crackling fire.  Those are the days I will remember.  So the most important thing for me right now, is to make it through today.  I need to remember ways moms can de-stress and put things into perspective.

Let me know what you learned from these ways moms can de-stress!

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