Self-concept refers to the collection of beliefs and perceptions that individuals have about themselves. It encompasses the thoughts, feelings, and evaluations one holds about their own identity, abilities, values, and overall self-worth. In other words, self-concept is the mental and emotional image people have of themselves.

This concept is multifaceted and can include various aspects, such as:

  • Self-esteem: The overall evaluation of one’s worth and the extent to which they believe themselves to be competent and deserving.

  • Self-image: The mental picture one has of their physical appearance, abilities, and characteristics.

  • Self-identity: The sense of who one is, including roles, relationships, and personal attributes.

  • Self-efficacy: The belief in one’s ability to achieve goals and overcome challenges.

  • Self-perception: How individuals perceive their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Self-concept is shaped by a combination of internal factors (such as personal experiences, achievements, and emotions) and external factors (including societal influences, feedback from others, and cultural norms). It can evolve and change over time as individuals experience new things, encounter different influences, and engage in self-reflection.

A positive self-concept is generally associated with higher levels of well-being, resilience, and the ability to navigate life’s challenges. Conversely, a negative self-concept can contribute to issues such as low self-esteem, self-doubt, and difficulties in forming healthy relationships.

Developing a healthy and positive self-concept is an ongoing process that involves self-awareness, self-acceptance, and intentional efforts to shape one’s beliefs and perceptions in a constructive manner.

Here’s how you can get started:


Setting or shaping your self-concept involves a deliberate and ongoing process of cultivating positive beliefs and perceptions about yourself. To achieve this, it’s essential to engage in self-awareness, challenge negative thoughts, and actively work towards building a more constructive self-image.


Begin by reflecting on your current self-concept—consider the beliefs and thoughts you hold about yourself. Identify any negative or limiting beliefs that may be hindering your self-perception. This self-awareness is the foundation for initiating positive change.

Once you’ve identified negative thoughts or beliefs, take the time to challenge their validity. Ask yourself whether these thoughts are based on evidence or if they are rooted in assumptions and perceptions. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations that reinforce your capabilities and self-worth.


Once you’ve identified who it is you are – or will become – it’s time that you start embodying this person. If you believe you are a healthy person, you must start acting the way a healthy person would act. For example, you will go to the gym regularly and eat a balanced diet. It may be a bit tough to get started, but once you start doing these things because it is who you believe you are and not simply based on your motivation levels on a particular day, you will eventually become a healthy person.

Lastly, it’s important that you practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding throughout this journey. Accept that making mistakes is a part of the learning process, and failures provide valuable growth opportunities. Avoid harsh self-criticism and cultivate a mindset of self-acceptance. And remember this is a muscle you have to grow and it will take time.

Ultimately, changing your self-concept is a gradual process that requires consistency and patience. It involves a combination of internal reflection, positive reinforcement, and intentional efforts to reshape the way you perceive yourself.