“When you believe yourself to be a person, you see persons everywhere. In reality there are no persons, only threads of memories and habits.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj. (I am That)
Meaning of self - (sĕlf): The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual.
Psychology of self
The psychology of self is the study of either the cognitive, conative or affective representation of one's identity or the subject of experience. The earliest formulation of the self in modern psychology derived from the distinction between the self as I, the subjective knower, and the self as Me, the object that is known.
- To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself.
- Baumeister (1999) provides the following self-concept definition: "“the individual's belief about himself or herself, including the person's attributes and who and what the self is"”.
- Carl Rogers (1959) believes that the self-concept has three different components:
- The view you have of yourself (Self-image)
- How much value you place on yourself (Self-esteem or self-worth)
- What you wish you were really like (Ideal self)
- The view you have of yourself (Self-image)
- Self- Image (what you see in yourself) - This does not necessarily have to reflect reality.
The Self-concept (Simply Psychology)
- Self-concept is influenced by our sense of identity. Two things have powerful effects on our self-concept:
a) the opinions and judgements other people make of us
b) social comparisons - perceptions of the ways in which you are similar to and different from other people.
- …although the self is perceived by many to reflect our uniqueness as a human being, there is considerable evidence that it is influenced by culture.
- …By around 18 months, however, children would curiously look at themselves in the mirror and touch the spot on their nose; they now recognized that the person they could see was them and that they were looking different from normal…
- …Why do children develop self-awareness at around the age of 18 months? Research has shown that at around this time, children show a rapid growth of spindle cells, specialized neurones in the anterior cingulate, an area of the frontal lobe in the cerebral cortex of the brain thought to be responsible for monitoring and controlling intentional behaviour (Allman & Hasenstaub, 1999). There is also evidence among adults that this area of the brain is activated when people are self-aware (Kjaer et al., 2002)…
- Many social psychologists believe that people form a sense of self from a comparison process.
- …when people are self-aware, they can think about whether they are the sort of person they want to be or whether there are ways in which they would like to change…
- If someone believes they are failing to meet the relevant standard, they put into operation a change in behavior in order to meet this standard. When they next self-reflect on that issue, they re-test themselves, comparing their self to their values or the values of others for a second time. If the self still falls short of the standard, the feedback loop will repeat itself. If, however, the self and the standard are now in line with one another, the individual will exit the feedback loop…
- When we are privately self-aware we tend to experience intensified emotional reactions, behave in accordance with our true beliefs, and have a more accurate self-perception. In contrast, when we are publicly self-aware, we are more likely to suffer from evaluation apprehension and behave in accordance with social norms regardless of our true beliefs. The information about the self that we access when we are self-aware is stored in self-schemas, cognitive structures that hold knowledge about different aspects of the self. Self-schemas vary on a continuum, from self-schematic schemas that are central to our self-concept, to aschematic schemas that are irrelevant to us.
- … immediately after birth, infants are capable of demonstrating already a sense of their own body as a differentiated entity: an entity among other entities in the environment (Level 1). This is evident, for example, when observing the rooting response of new borns and what triggers it. When touching the cheek of new borns, they tend to orient their head toward the touch stimulation.
- By the end of the second month, infants show clear signs that in addition to self-world differentiation, they also have a sense of how their own body is situated in relation to other entities in the environment (level 2)
- The careful empirical work of Povinelli and colleagues on delayed self- recognition shows that it is not prior to approximately 3 years that children begin to grasp the temporal dimension of the self. That the self pertains not only to what is experienced now but also to what was experienced then, what can be seen in a mirror now or in a movie tomorrow: the same enduring self (Level 4).
- The Self
Smaller than the smallest,
Greater than the greatest,
This Self forever dwells
In the hearts of all.
A person freed from desire,
With mind and senses purified,
Beholds the glory of the Self
and is without sorrow.
- “Most of us live in the world thinking and acting as if we are the child of a barren woman―as if we were born. At some point in our evolution, we wake up and realize we are not the illusion of the body‐mind complex, but THAT which exists as prior to consciousness, time, space, and Being―we were never born and will never die,” states Gabriel Counsens in Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations For Spiritual Life And The Awakening Of Kundalini.
- Although we previously experienced feelings of being isolated in the idea of “I,” we realize that all the while we were the Divine. We were never really separate. The true Self has always been here!
- The person is a very small thing. Actually it is a composite, it cannot be said to exist by itself. Unperceived, it is just not there. It is but the shadow of the mind, the sum total of memories. Pure being is reflected in the mirror of the mind, as knowing. What is known takes the shape of a person, based on memory and habit. It is but a shadow, or a projection of the knower onto the screen of the mind.
- The real is truly independent. Since the existence of the person depends on the existence of the world and it is circumscribed and defined by the world, it cannot be real.
- The source of consciousness cannot be an object in consciousness. To know the source is to be the source. When you realise that you are not the person, but the pure and calm witness, and that fearless awareness is your very being, you are the being. It is the source, the Inexhaustible Possibility.
- The impersonal is real, the personal appears and disappears. 'I am' is the impersonal Being. 'I am this' is the person. The person is relative and the pure Being -- fundamental.
- You are not earth, water, fire or air.
Nor are you empty space.
Liberation is to know yourself
as Awareness alone--
the Witness of these.
- Abide in Awareness with no illusion of person.
You will be instantly free and at peace.
- You have no caste or duties.
You are invisible, unattached, formless.
You are the Witness of all things. Be happy.
- Right and wrong, pleasure and pain,
exist in mind only.
They are not your concern.
You neither do nor enjoy.
You are free.
- Not seeing Self, the world is materialized.
Seeing Self, the world is vanished.
knowledge, the knower, and the knowable
do not exist.
I am the transparent Self
in which through ignorance
- I am not the body.
I do not have a body.
I am Awareness, not a person.
My thirst for life bound me
to a seeming of life.
- In the limitless ocean of Myself,
waves of beings
arise, collide, play for a time,
then disappear--as is their nature.
- The Self is not in objects,
nor are objects in the pure and infinite Self.
The Self is tranquil,
free of attachment and desire.
In this alone I abide.
- When there is no “I”
there is only liberation.
When “I” appears
bondage appears with it.
it is effortless to refrain
from accepting and rejecting.
- The Self--which is
absolute, effortless, timeless, immaculate--
is without limits
and at no distance from you.
You are forever It.
- Where is Knowledge and ignorance?
Where is “I”?
Where is “this”?
Where is “mine”?
Where is bondage and liberation?
Self has no attributes.
- Where is activity or inactivity?
Where is liberation or bondage?
I am timeless, indivisible.
I am Self alone.
- I am the boundless ocean.
The wind, blowing where it will,
Drives the ship of the world.
But I am not shaken.
I am the unbounded deep
In whom the waves of all the worlds
Naturally rise and fall.
But I do not rise or fall.
I am the infinite deep
In whom all the worlds
Appear to rise.
Beyond all form,
Even so am I. (50)
- The Self; That in which all these worlds seem to exist steadily, that of which all these worlds are a possession, that from which all these worlds rise, that for which all these exist, that by which all these worlds come into existence and that which is indeed all these - that alone is the existing reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the reality, in the Heart.
- You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things; that is of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self.
- People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined.
- The Self exists without the mind, never the mind without the Self.
- McLeod, S. A. (2008). Self Concept. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html
- Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life - Philippe Rochat
- Awakening To The True Self Written by Laurel Sherer
- Ashtavakra Gita Translated by Bart Marshall
- I am That – Nisargadatta Maharaj
- Be As You Are – Sri Ramana Maharishi