Definition: The Self Theory emphasizes on the set of perceptions an individual has for himself and the perceptions of the relationships he has with others and the other aspects of life. Carl Rogers has contributed significantly towards the self theory.
The self theory comprises of four factors that are explained below:
- Self-Image: Self-image means what an individual thinks about himself. Everybody has certain beliefs about themselves, such as who or what they are, these beliefs form the self image and identity of a person.
According to Erikson, identity is formed through a lifelong development usually unconscious to the individual and his society, i.e. an individual forms perception about himself unconsciously, according to the social circumstances.
- Ideal-Self: The ideal-self means, the way an individual would like to be. It is very much different from the self-image, as it shows the ideal position perceived by an individual, whereas the self-image is the reality that an individual perceives.Thus, there could be a gap between these two.
The ideal-self-acts as a stimulus to motivate an individual to undertake those activities that are in compliance with the characteristics of his ideal self.
- Looking-Glass-Self: The looking-glass self means, an individual’s perception of how others are perceiving his qualities or feeling about him. Simply, it is the perception of other’s perception, i.e. perceiving what others perceive about yourself and not see what actually you are.
- Real-Self: The real-self is what others show you with respect to your self-image. An individual’s self-image is confirmed when others responses to him and shares their beliefs or perception, about what they actually feel about him.
This is taken as feedback from the environment that helps an individual to adjusts his self-image accordingly and be in line with the cues he had received.
Thus, according to Carl Rogers, the self theory is composed of several perceptions of “I” or “me” and the perception of relationships of “I” and “me” to others.