By  Edith Wanyonyi

The self concept is an individual’s way of how they think about themselves. The model of the self concept is one of the psychological keys that unlocks an individual’s personality.

 The self concept has four core elements which are; the self image, self-esteem, ideal self and body image.

These four core elements are the things that make an individual unique. Each core element has three formations;public, private and hidden.

 The public domain is open and accessible. The individual has no control over the information such as  gender, age, complexion, physique, family and where a person lives.

The private domain consists of information that the individual does not freely give. He or she can select whom to give the information such as likes,dislikes and feelings.

The hidden domain is information that is not known by the individual. Information that makes an individual feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they are memories from childhood which makes a person behave in a certain way. Can generate feelings of shame, guilt or humiliation. This is an area that must be approached with caution.


The way in which individuals perceive themselves. A set of statements or list of characteristics that identify individuals as people;public statements that everyone has access to and private statements which are facts that individuals acknowledges only to themselves and chosen others and hidden statements which a person doesn’t want to admit.



Sometimes people would like to change parts of their self image to be more like an idealised self. The ideal self comprises of statements about who they would like to be. Everyone has an ideal self that they aspire to: somebody they would like to be.

People have public and private parts to their ideal self. The public part is which they admit openly while the private part they keep to themselves.


A set of statements regarding the value individuals put upon themselves. The value is in the sense of respect, admiration, pride and enjoyment. The evaluation is an estimate of personal worth.

The closer the self image is to the ideal self the higher the self esteem. If the body image corresponds with the ideal self again the self esteem tends to be high. Similarly if there is little difference between the public and private self, then the self esteem is relatively high.

Self esteem is a statement of personal worth and is an individual assessment.


Comprises of a set of statements about how individuals imagine that they look. Sometimes the set of statements say little about the way in which people actually look. It is not a concrete and definite thing but is conjured out from the self image.

The body image can be very limited. A person may not seem to know how they look from back below or above by looking at a picture or in the mirror. May need other people to actually describe your body image.

This difficulty is complicated by the fact that bodies are changing.


In summary, the self concept is a fluid and dynamic concept. The four core elements interact and are interdependent.

Clearly to what extent they are in harmony depends on the sense of well-being. The core elements must be mutually supportive otherwise the self concept becomes dysfunctional

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