Posted in Mental Health, Psychology, Self Help

The Self-Concept Merry-Go-Round

When we discuss things like self-concept, coping, problem solving and so on, basically any psychological fitness skill, in this format of a blog, I present things in a linear fashion. However, life is not linear. Life is processed. Life is twists and turns and back and forth and switchbacks and so on and so forth. 

The process below takes you through a cascading series of cognitions and emotional reactions and behavioral responses when we evaluate ourselves. Remember self-concept is that intrinsic voice of ours that evaluates and critiques our every move. 

When we act or behave, we evaluate our skills.  

  • I am a horrible communicator.
  • I can problem solve better than anyone else.
  • I can’t cope very well because I drink and isolate from people.  

As we evaluate our skills, we trigger a belief we hold about ourselves. 

  • I am a horrible communicator so I am weak or dumb.
  • I can problem solve better than anyone else so I am simply awesome.
  • I can’t cope very well because I drink and isolate from people so I am a big time loser.

As we trigger beliefs by evaluating our skills, AUTOMATIC emotional states arise.

  • I am a horrible communicator so I am weak or dumb and I feel sad.
  • I can problem solve better than anyone else so I am simply awesome and I feel happy.
  • I can’t cope very well because I drink and isolate from people so I am a big time loser and I feel hurt and afraid.

As we trigger beliefs by evaluating our skills, AUTOMATIC emotional states arise.   which are expressed through behaviors.

  • I am a horrible communicator so I am weak or dumb and I feel sad then I isolate and avoid making connections or enhancing the ones I have now.
  • I can problem solve better than anyone else so I am simply awesome and I feel happy then I dance and sing.
  • I can’t cope very well because I drink and isolate from people so I am a big time loser and I feel hurt and afraid and I drink and isolate even more or yell at my dog.

We are creatures of habit and often engage with the world in a pattered manner. We can get stuck in the patterns if we are unaware that they exist. Once the behavioral patterns are “automatic” so are the evaluations and emotional responses to those evaluations. This can become a nasty cycle.

Use the merry-go-round…

We… Act – – – Evaluate – – – Feel – – – Act – – – Evaluate – – – Feel

as a point of reference to demonstrate that we engage in patterned behaviors. When the pattern becomes so entrenched, our behaviors may seem almost “automatic” and “outside of our control. In addition, the belief is also automatic, as is the evaluation.

Author:

Counselor, Satirist, Podcaster, Author, Professor, Speaker, Father and Husband

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