Our Understanding of Self

Our Understanding of Self

Perspective
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As a journalism major, I will take many communication classes and therefore have to study various theories regarding people and their thought processes. Many of these theories could be filed under psychology and how the brain functions, but you can also look at it through a communicable aspect in order to understand the reasoning behind why people choose to say certain words in certain manners.

Our entire understanding of the world has been, and will continue to be, influenced by our own perception of what is around us. As people we have come up with pre-defined meanings and interpretations for things based on prior experiences and events. Therefore, we cannot entirely see something through someone else’s perspective, or even imagine ourselves in their shoes. Because by imagining to be someone looking at yourself, you are using your own opinion on how people see you, rather than how the person views you. Interactionists call the phenomena of imagining how we look to others as “the looking glass self.” The A First Look at Communication Theory –Ninth Edition textbook defines “the looking glass self” as “the mental self-image that results from taking the role of the other; the objective self; me” (pg. 58). If the theory of communication is anything, it is a process of vocabulary words one must understand. Therefore, to put it in other words, a looking glass self can be described as pretending to be someone else in order to view yourself. Easy enough? Sort of.

The term “I” is the subjective self, “the spontaneous driving force” (pg. 58). What do I look like to them? Who am I? What am I going to do? While the term “me” is the objective -- “The image of self - seen when one takes the role of the other” (pg. 58). The text gives examples from social constructionist Herbert Mead in order to better understand this concept. “If the ‘I’ speaks, the ‘me’ hears. And the ‘I’ of this moment is the present in the ‘me’ of the next moment” (pg. 59).

If that wasn’t complicated enough, the concept of “generalized other” also can come into play. This concept essentially is explaining that the mental image you have of yourself is due to societal expectations and its reflection upon yourself.

The majority of us have probably created our sense of self through other people and their expectations -- who we believe they want us to be based on conversations and responses. Perhaps that is why most people have varying personalities depending on who they are with. One acts one way with their professor in order to meet the expectation. They act another with their family, to fit a portrayal. They then continue to become another character when they are with their friends. It’s a continuous and inevitable cycle.

But I believe it is important for people to understand as one self, you cannot fully know what another thinks of you or know what their expectation for you is, without clearly communicating it to one another. You can imagine being them and seeing you, but that still reflects your impression of yourself with regards to how you see their expectation of yourself. This can affect everything between how you behave in total and how you choose to interact with people. A small example can be found in how you greet people. Using examples from before, greeting a professor most likely would go along the lines of, ‘Hello, how are you?’ Greeting family may sound a little more relaxed, ‘Hey what’s up, how are you?’ While greeting friends will be comfortable, and the set of vocabulary you choose to use may be completely different, such as, ‘What’s good?’ Your choice of words and expressions is a direct reflection of your assumed expectation. This is an example of the communication aspect of influence in personal self, rather than psychological reasoning.

We do not know what others think of us. Only what we think others think of us. Even if you try to detach the self when you look at something or someone through someone else’s eyes, you can still be blinded by your own perception. I think it’s okay to be blinded sometimes, but don’t allow it to become your light.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Used To Think Height Didn't Matter, But Maybe It Really Does

I've come to a conclusion

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I've had my fair share of boyfriends in the past. A common theme in my past choices of boys is that they were all an inch or two taller than me or the same height. Now, I am a little on the taller side considering that the average height for a woman in the US is 5 feet 4 inches tall. I'm not saying all the tall boys belong to all the tall girls and the shorter guys should stick with shorter girls, but I do think there might be something behind all this madness.

My reasoning for this is simple: I've been in an amazing relationship with someone who is fairly taller than me. Is this reason totally irrational and have no sort of concrete evidence for this argument? Yes, totally, but hear me out. All my other relationships haven't been this good or even had the potential to be this good. Is it a coincidence that they were all shorter? I think not!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys who are under 5'9''. There are some nice ones who probably don't talk to 5 other girls while you're dating, I just never happened to come across one back when I was in the game. I just find it interesting that I've been in a really healthy relationship for awhile now with someone who is over 6 feet tall.

Many amazing relationships have happened between all different types of people, no matter the height. It's just if you are having problems with boys who are under 6 feet, you may have some thinking to do.


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