Self in Interpersonal Communication
THE SELF IN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SELF Definition of one’s identity, character, abilities, and attitudes, especially in relation to persons or things outside oneself or itself. There are three fundamental aspects that make up the self: 1. Self-concept: Your self-concept is the way that you view yourself. 2. Self-awareness: Your self-awareness is your knowledge about yourself, including your insight. 3. Self-esteem: Your self-esteem is how much value you place on yourself. SELF CONCEPT The term self-concept is a general term used to refer to how someone thinks about or perceives themselves.
The self concept is how we think about and evaluate ourselves. To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself. Baumeister (1999) provides the following self concept definition: “The individual’s belief about himself or herself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is”. SELF-CONCEPT means your own view of yourself and it can include: * How you see yourself * Your thoughts about yourself * Your beliefs about yourself * How you feel about yourself SOURCES: 1. Others’ images: If you want to find out how you look to other people, then you would at how other people treat you.
According to DeVito (2009), we look to people who are important to us to see how they treat us. He states, “If these important others think highly of you, you will see this positive image of yourself reflected in their behaviors; if they think little of you, you’ll see a more negative image” 2. Your interpretations and evaluations: Naturally, we evaluate and interpret our own behaviors. If we look back at a certain communication event and find that the behavior we used goes against our beliefs, we will feel guilty. Let’s say you are out with friends. Your friend asks you for your honest opinion.
If you tell them a lie, you might later feel guilty because you value yourself as an honest person. 3. Cultural teachings: Our culture teaches us how to think, believe, and act and much more. So how you define yourself is developed from your culture. In addition to your interpretations and evaluations, if you go against your cultural teachings, you may feel a sense of guilt or failure. For example, it is common to be married at a young age in the state of Utah. This is a cultural belief and attitude. If you were to be married after 30 years old, it might be seen as against the cultural teaching to this area. . Social comparisons: For example, if you want to find out if you are seen as a positive person, you could ask your friends if they think you act like a positive person. When we reach out to others to find out how we look, we usually go to those people that we find close to us and important; This would include people like family members or close friends. We do this because we know we are more likely to get an honest answer from these people. The three sources of self-concept are: * Social information and interactions:- The positive and negative messages we receive from others that shape our beliefs. social comparisons:- How we think we measure up to other people; * self-observation:- Being able to monitor our thoughts which affect our behavior and our own interpretations and evaluations. Self Esteem and Self Worth (The extent to which you value yourself) Refers to the extent to which we like accept or approve of ourselves or how much we value ourselves. Self esteem always involves a degree of evaluation and we may have either a positive or a negative view of ourselves. HIGH SELF ESTEEM i. e. we have a positive view of ourselves. This tends to lead to * Confidence in our own abilities Self acceptance * Not worrying about what others think * Optimism LOW SELF ESTEEM i. e. we have a negative view of ourselves. This tends to lead to * Lack of confidence * Want to be/look like someone else * Always worrying what others might think * Pessimism FACTORS: There are 4 major factors that influence self esteem. 1) THE REACTION OF OTHERS. If people admire us, flatter us, seek out our company, listen attentively and agree with us we tend to develop a positive self-image. If they avoid us, neglect us; tell us things about ourselves that we don’t want to hear we develop a negative self-image. ) COMPARISON WITH OTHERS. If the people we compare ourselves with (our reference group) appear to be more successful, happier, richer, better looking than ourselves we tend to develop a negative self image BUT if they are less successful than us our image will be positive. 3) SOCIAL ROLES. Some social roles carry prestige e. g. doctor, airline pilot, TV. Presenter, premiership footballer and this promotes self-esteem. Other roles carry stigma. E. g. prisoners, mental hospital patient or unemployed person. 4) IDENTIFICATION. Roles aren’t just “out there. ” They also become part of our personality i. . we identity with the positions we occupy, the roles we play and the groups we belong to. SELF AWARENESS Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment. The Johari Window The Johari window is a technique created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955 in the United States, used to help people better understands their relationship with self and others. – Johari region 1 is also known as the ‘area of free activity. This is the information about the person – behavior, attitude, feelings, emotion, knowledge, experience, skills, views, etc – known by the person (‘the self’) and known by the group (‘others’). You are open about your thoughts and feelings; you are aware of your behaviors and have an understanding of your skills can capabilities. Others that you are interacting with are aligned and understand your thoughts and feelings that you are communicating, either verbally or non-verbally.
They also have visibility and awareness around your skills and capabilities or other knowledge or information. 2-Johari region 2 is what is known about a person by others in the group, but is unknown by the person him/herself. The Blind Spot is the area that is known to others but not to you. There may be behaviors that you are exhibiting or things that you are communicating that are affecting others in a particular way. You may be unaware or perceive yourself as not having the ability to perform in a certain situation.
However, those that you are interacting with can see exactly how you feel or know from your behavior or prior experience that you do have skills and abilities to perform in a particular situation. 3- Johari region 3 is what is known to us but kept hidden from, and therefore unknown, to others. This hidden or avoided self represents information, feelings, etc, anything that a person knows about him/self, but which is not revealed or is kept hidden from others. The hidden area could also include sensitivities, fears, hidden agendas, manipulative intentions, and secrets – anything that a person knows but does not reveal, for whatever reason.
It’s natural for very personal and private information and feelings to remain hidden, indeed, certain information, feelings and experiences have no bearing on work, and so can and should remain hidden. There may be some things that you know or are thinking in your head, or you may feel a particular way, however you decide to conceal this information and not share it with others. You may know that you have certain skills or abilities, but choose to not show this to others. Those around you do not know what you are experiencing in terms of thoughts and feelings, and may not know or your capabilities.
It is hidden from them 4- Johari region 4 contains information, feelings, latent abilities, aptitudes, experiences etc, that are unknown to the person him/herself and unknown to others in the group. These unknown issues take a variety of forms: they can be feelings, behaviors, attitudes, capabilities, aptitudes, which can be quite close to the surface, and which can be positive and useful, or they can be deeper aspects of a person’s personality, influencing his/her behavior to various degrees.
Large unknown areas would typically be expected in younger people, and people who lack experience or self-belief. The Unknown is the area that is blind to both yourself and to those around you. There may be things about yourself that you do not know, such as your own skills and abilities, even your own thoughts and feelings. Others around you might also have no visibility or knowledge of these. Using the Johari Window for Self-Awareness If you are living with purpose and striving to reach your goals, where do you want to be in the Johari Window?
You will want to be playing within the OPEN SELF! The more open and honest you are in your thoughts and feelings, your communications and your behaviors, the more that those around you will have a clear understanding around what it is that you value, what you are trying to achieve and therefore will actually have the ability to help you reach where it is that you want to go. When you’re playing in the Arena, you are completely aware of your skills and abilities and you will become more effective and productive as your interactions and communications with those around you.
The Arena is the playing field where trust and relationships are established and cooperation is at its highest. Let’s move to the HIDDEN SELF. This is where you are potentially hiding or concealing thoughts or feelings or any other information that is unknown to others. Now, there’s nothing wrong with concealing information and holding private thoughts and feelings to you. However, for someone to be able to help you in a certain situation, they will need to know where you currently stand and what your thoughts, feelings or knowledge is on the subject.
The more you can be open and honest and reveal certain things about yourself, the more those others will be able to gain an insight into who you are and how you operate. By doing this, you will build trust, enhance your relationships and when it comes to pursuing your goals, those around you will be able to start helping you get there! The more you can reveal about yourself, the more you will expand yourself into the Arena and start enhancing your relationships, communicate more effectively and perform at higher levels.
Similarly when it comes to skill sets and capability, the more you can openly share and reveal around these, the more that others will have an awareness of where they can help you through coaching, mentoring, teaching or providing support or guidance. Now onto the Blind Spot. This is the fun area! This is the area that you really need to minimize to ensure you are self-aware around your behaviors and impact on others, and to ensure you can perform at your highest ability. What don’t you know about yourself? Aren’t you curious to find out? How do you find out something about yourself when you don’t know what you need to find out?
Feedback! Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to request feedback from others whenever or whoever that may be. There may be things that you are doing that you do not know that you are doing! This is not a productive space to be in. Feedback is essential for building your self-awareness and can help you learn and discover how to communicate or perform in a more effective and productive way. When it comes to skill and ability, asking for feedback is essential for learning and development and helping you make your way into the Arena where you can be more effective at pursuing your goals.
The Unknown area is the area you want to try stay out of. People with low self-belief or that are inexperienced may fall into this quadrant. You may not know what your skills and capabilities are, and others may not have had any opportunity to witness any of these. Self-limiting beliefs or feelings or attitudes that hold you back can prevent you from discovering certain things about yourself. Perhaps it’s a fear of entering into the unknown. On many occasions, and individual that spends time in this area may need to break out of their comfort zone to start entering one of the other quadrants.
Trying new experiences and testing your limits can help you discover more about yourself and your skills and abilities. Working closely and building relationships with others may help them identify certain traits that they can point out for you. Similar to the blind spot, seeking feedback can help you identify certain traits and build your self-awareness. In addition to using the Johari Window, there are five other ways in which we can increase our self-awareness. 1. Ask yourself about yourself. 2. Listen to others. 3. Actively seek information about yourself. 4. See your different selves. . Increase your open self. SELF DISCLOSURE Self-disclosure is both the conscious and subconscious act of revealing more about oneself to others. This may include, but is not limited to, thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, dreams as well as one’s likes, dislikes, and favourites. Factors Influencing Self-Disclosure Many factors influence whether or not you disclose, what you disclose, and to whom you disclose. Among the most important factors are who you are, your culture, your gender, who your listeners are, and your topic and channel.
Who You Are Highly sociable and extroverted people self-disclose more than those who are less sociable and more introverted. People who are comfortable communicating also self-disclose more than those who are apprehensive about talking in general. Competent people engage in self-disclosure more than less competent people. Perhaps competent people have greater self-confidence and more positive things to reveal. Similarly, their self-confidence may make them more willing to risk possible negative reactions.
Your Culture Different cultures view self-disclosure differently. Some cultures view disclosing inner feelings as a weakness. Among some groups, for example, it would be considered “out of place” for a man to cry at a happy occasion such as a wedding, whereas in some Latin cultures that same display of emotion would go unnoticed. Similarly, it’s considered undesirable in Japan for workplace colleagues to reveal personal information, whereas in much of the United States it’s expected. Important similarities also exist across cultures.
For example, people from Great Britain, Germany, the United States, and Puerto Rico are all more apt to disclose personal information—hobbies, interests, attitudes, and opinions on politics and religion—than information on finances, sex, personality, or interpersonal relationships. Similarly, one study showed self-disclosure patterns between American males to be virtually identical to those between Korean males. Your Gender The popular stereotype of gender differences in self-disclosure emphasizes males’ reluctance to speak about them.
For the most part, research supports this view; women do disclose more than men. Women disclose more than men about their previous romantic relationships, their feelings for close same-sex friends, their greatest fears, and what they don’t like about their partners. Women also increase the depth of their disclosures as a relationship becomes more intimate, whereas men seem not to change their self-disclosure levels. In addition, for women, there are fewer taboo topics. Finally, women self-disclose more to members of their extended families than men. One notable exception occurs in initial encounters.
Here, men will disclose more intimate information than women, perhaps “in order to control the relationship’s development”. Still another exception may be found in a study of Americans and Argentineans; here males indicated a significantly greater willingness to self-disclose than females. Your Listeners Self-disclosure occurs more readily in small groups than in large groups. Dyads, or groups of two people, are the most hospitable setting for self-disclosure. With one listener you can monitor your disclosures, continuing if there’s support from your listener and stopping if not.
With more than one listener, such monitoring becomes difficult, because the listeners’ responses are sure to vary. Research shows that you disclose most to people you like and to people you trust. You also come to like those to whom you disclose. At times, self-disclosure occurs more in temporary than in permanent relationships—for example, between strangers on a train or plane, in a kind of “in-flight intimacy”. In this situation two people establish an intimate, self-disclosing relationship during a brief period of travel, but they don’t pursue the connection beyond that point.
You are more likely to disclose when the person you are with discloses. This dyadic effect (what one person does, the other person also does) probably leads you to feel more secure and reinforces your own self-disclosing behavior. Disclosures are also more intimate when they’re made in response to the disclosures of others. This dyadic effect, however, is not universal across all cultures. For example, although Americans are likely to follow the dyadic effect and reciprocate with explicit, verbal self-disclosure, Koreans aren’t.
As you can appreciate, this easily results in intercultural differences; for example, an American may be insulted if his or her Korean counterpart doesn’t reciprocate with self-disclosures that are similar in depth. Your Topic and Channel You also are more likely to disclose about some topics than others. For example, you’re more likely to self-disclose information about your job or hobbies than about your sex life or financial situation. Further, you’re more likely to disclose favorable rather than unfavorable information. Generally, the more personal and negative the topic, the less likely you are to self-disclose.
SELF DISCLOSURE REWARDS: 1. Self-knowledge. One of the benefits of self-disclosure is that we gain new perspectives about themselves and a deeper understanding about our own behavior. In therapy, for example, views into the often arise when the client is doing self-disclosure. Clients may be aware of aspects of behavior or relationships which have not know it. Because, through self-disclosure, we can understand ourselves in depth. 2. Ability to Overcome Difficulties. Another closely related argument is that we will be better able to overcome our problems or difficulties, in particular feelings of guilt, through self-disclosure.
One big fear is present in many people is that they are not environmentally acceptable because of a certain secret, because of something they once did, or because of certain feelings or attitudes they have. Because we believe that these things are the basis of rejection (rejection), we build a sense of guilt. By expressing such feelings and receive support, not rejection, we become better prepared to cope with feelings of guilt and perhaps reduce or even eliminate them altogether. 3. Even self-acceptance (self-acceptance) becomes difficult without self-disclosure.
We accept ourselves largely through the eyes of others. If we feel other people reject us, we tend to deny ourselves as well. Through self-disclosure and supports that come, we put ourselves in a better position to capture the positive response to us, and we will be more likely to react by developing a positive self-concept. 4. Efficiency of Communication. Disclosure of self-improving communication. We understand the messages from other people as far as we understand most of the others individually. We can better understand what someone says if we know the better person.
We can know what the meaning of certain nuances, if that person is being serious and when he was joking, and when he became sarcastic or when I’m angry. Self-disclosure is a necessary condition to get to know other people. You can only examine a person’s behavior or even live with him for years, but if that person never reveals himself, you do not understand the person as a whole person. 5. Depth Communications. Perhaps the main reason for the importance of self-disclosure is that it is necessary to foster a meaningful relationship between two people.
Without self-disclosure, meaningful and deep relationships are not possible. Through self-disclosure, we tell others that we trust them, respect them, and they will care enough and will link us to express ourselves to them. It then will make others want to open up and establish at least the beginning of a relationship that is meaningful, honest and open relationship and that relationship just improvise. SELF DISCLOSURE DANGERS: In weighing any decision to self-disclosure, consider the potential dangers: Personal Risks
The more you reveal about yourself to others, the more areas of your life you expose to possible attack. Especially in the competitive context of work (or even romance), the more that others know about you, the more they’ll be able to use against you Relationship Risks Even in close and long-lasting relationships, self-disclosure can cause problems. Parents, normally the most supportive people in most individuals’ lives, frequently reject children who disclose their homosexuality, their plans to marry someone of a different race, or their belief in another faith.
Your best friends—your closest intimates—may reject you for similar self-disclosures. Professional Risks Sometimes self-disclosure may result in professional or material losses. Politicians who disclose that they have been in therapy may lose the support of their own political party and find that voters are unwilling to vote for them. Teachers who disclose disagreement with school administrators may find themselves being denied tenure, teaching undesirable schedules, and becoming victims of “budget cuts. In the business world self-disclosures of alcoholism or drug addiction often result in dismissal, demotion, or social exclusion. Remember too that self-disclosure, like any other communication, is irreversible. You cannot self-disclose and then take it back. Nor can you erase the conclusions and inferences listeners make on the basis of your disclosures. Remember, too, to examine the rewards and dangers of self-disclosure in terms of particular cultural rules. As with all cultural rules, following the rules about self-disclosure brings approval, and violating them brings disapproval.