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Self can be defined as the set of someone’s characteristics such as personality and ability, that are not physical and make that person different from other people. Gecas (1982) initiate that an initial distinction should be made between the term “self” and “self-concept” as more confusion over whether the self is a process or a structure stems from the failure to distinguish between “self” and “self-concept”. The term self, used in his journal “The Self Concept”, 1982 refers to a process of reflexivity which derived from the dialectic between the “I” and “Me”.
The formation of self-concept influenced by several things. Among of them is the perception or image created by others against us, which determines how they describe ourselves. Besides, the role we play, the messages from our media, the experiences we have, the gender, culture and the environment we live are influencing our own concept. Ourselves image plays a significant role in how we communicate and how others accept us. Thus, there is a need for people to develop the understanding in the process of communicating with others to enhance the development of human relations.
Self-concept is distinguishable from self-awareness, which refers to the extent to which self-knowledge is defined, consistent and currently applicable to one’s attitudes and dispositions. Someone’s experiences, backgrounds and knowledge gathered in life can affect the interpretation of message. Therefore, it is important for us to understand how the experiences, background and knowledge accumulation takes place and how it contributes to the communication process. Self-concept is a factor that has significant effect on interpersonal behaviour, also known as the mental image that each person has of themselves. This self-concept comes from past experiences and interactions with others. If often differs from the way other person see us and should not be confused with the roles each of us performs. The two main components that make up the self-concept are self-image and self-esteem.
Self-image is how people perceive of themselves. It can also be defined as the total subjective perception of oneself, including image of one’s body and impression of one’s personality and capabilities. Self-image can influence behaviour in a positive way such as it gives a person confidence in their thought and actions. However, self-image can also give negative impact such as making a person doubtful of their capabilities and ideas. There are actually many believe of self-image. For example, some believe that a person’s self-image is defined by the events that affect him or her such as conditions in school, work or even relationship. While others believe that a person’s self-image can help to shape those events. However, it is undeniable that self-image has a very strong effect on happiness and perspective of people around us. For instance, if one shows a positive self-image, other people tend to see that person as a positive and capable person too. For the two components of self-concept, self-image is a bit different than self-esteem in that it means how an individual thinks others view him or her. One’s self-image may not always be in line with what people actually view, but someone can imagine the effect it can have on human relations. For example, if someone’s self-image is that people think they are arrogant, they might not try as hard as they can to overcome it since they believe this is what people think of them. This situation definitely will be unproductive and unhealthy way of working with others. Supposedly, people should control the self-image to reach better human relations.
Self-esteem is a reflection of an individual’s overall subjective evaluation of his or her own worth. It encompasses beliefs about oneself, as well as emotional state such as despair, pride and shame. Self-esteem may be determined and influenced by development and the environment of growth of a person. Nilofar Vazir and Syeda Imrana Raza stated in their article on topic ‘What is Self-esteem’ published on June 2009, good self-esteem is important as it helps one to hold his or her head high and feel proud of oneself and what people can achieve. It gives courage to try new things out and enhance respecting among each other even when individuals may make mistakes. Everybody should start to gain their self-esteem as soon as possible. However, parents, friends, association and professional colleagues should take part as the positive influence for the development of other person’s self-esteem. This is because people with high level of self-esteem tend to feel competent and worthy compared to people with low level of self-esteem, who always feel incompetent, unworthy and insecure. By having higher level of self-esteem can improve one’s projection, which means he or her can better accept criticism, learn from mistakes and communicate more effectively. This will result in better human relations with people.
The Johari Window is a communication and human relations model developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It is developed to focus on four important roles to achieve greater openness and personal growth feedback encouragement, self-disclosure and providing feedback.
The Open Area is the common arena where we share certain aspects of ourselves with others. Example of information in this area are communication style and trust levels. The enlargement of open area leads to the downsizing of blind area hidden area. This will minimize distortions and mistrust among people, which may establish a better positive human relationship among peers.
The Blind Area is our blind spot where we are unaware of certain aspects of ourselves or of others’ perception of us. For example, we may not aware of our own faults and weaknesses or others’ true thoughts and feelings about us.
The Hidden Area is where we conceal aspects of ourselves which we do not want others to know. Hiding our true thought or feelings can affect other’s behaviour towards us as they can respond only to what they know.
The Unknown Area is the seat of all oneself suppressed memories, feelings, desires and needs which may express themselves in unconscious and unexpected behaviour. Newstrom and Rubenfeld (1983) stated that in this area, the parties lack conscious awareness of relevant data. This absences of awareness by both parties may still have impact on the quality of the overall relationship.
The Johari Window is a tool for communicating. It can be used not only to improve development of oneself, but also can helps team summarize and expand the scope of their communication by understanding what is already common knowledge and works together to bring other important information into the open through discovery, disclosure and feedback. For the earlier stage of using the Johari Window, it is suggested to practice with the first window. People should expand the list of descriptors to include negative traits if the team is comfortable with the critical feedback and disclosure. Then when people are ready for more flexibility, everyone can start using all windows to discuss the goals, thoughts, skills or knowledge of the team. The more people use this method, the better the human relations people can develop in the team.
It is undeniable that the Johari Window is an excellent tool for comparing self-perception with other’s perception and had become a guide map for developmental improvements. By understanding the concept of Johari Window, people can have a better human relation. As for sound interpersonal relations, teamwork and cooperation, we need to increase the size of Open Area, particularly by reducing the Hidden Area through appropriate self-disclosure and reducing the Blind Area through other’s honest perception about us.
Self-disclosure is a process of communication by which one person reveals information about himself or herself to another. Self-disclosure does not always have to be deep to be useful or meaningful such as people revealing hidden self to someone to build a meaningful human relationship among others. Self-disclosure can be intentionally or unintentionally, include unconscious behaviour and pronunciation as well as the open confessions that we said. Self-disclosure is more towards the information we try to hide compared to information we have not yet reveal. In order to build better and trusting human relationship, some level of self-disclosure is required. Self-disclosure can lead to a better human relations development, but there are also times where these personal revelations did not go quite as planned. Inappropriate or poorly timed self-disclosure can sometimes cause damage in relationship. Successful of self-disclosure depends on many factors such as the type of relationship people share, the place in which this information in deliver and the current level of intimacy shared.
Self-disclosure is a complex communication process, but has a powerful impact on how relationships with others form, progress and survive. An important aspect of self-disclosure is the rule of interchange. This rule states that self-disclosure between two people works best in a back and forth fashion. When someone tell other person something that is personal, that person expect them to do the same. When one person reveals more than another, there can be an inequality in the relationship because the one who self discloses may feel more exposed results from sharing more personal information.
Our perception of ourselves are much influenced by what and who are around us, where are the place we have been and currently at, the experiences we have been through as well as the time that determines maturity in recognizing who we are. Whatever perception of ourselves and others toward us, it can contribute to the formation of our self-concept that helps identify who we are. In addition, self-image is also part of self-concept as it is self-assessment, as well as the assessment of others on the individual’s self. While, self-esteem is based on the experiences accumulated over the life of either positive or negative experiences.
To be conclude, there are few things that contribute to the development of self-concept, that are what others describe about other people, the understanding of people toward others, comparison made between ourselves and others, as well as the cultural background. Thus, the discussion of the Johari Window as well as self-disclosure are encouraged especially for those who wants to pursue a better development of human relations.
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