Self is the combination of physical and psychological attributes that is unique to each individual (Shaffer, 2008). Communication in interpersonal relationships plays a major role in the development of the self-concept of an individual. Self-concept can be defined as the characteristics of thoughts, feelings and attributes about ourselves. It is cognitive component of the self and develops from infancy into the adulthood. This shows that the self-concept changes overtime as one accumulates knowledge and experience about the self.
My self-concept has been able to change in my adolescence and early adulthood due to the cultural influences and the upbringing that defines my thoughts and feelings about various issues in life. Various parts of the self-concept include self-esteem, self-image, self-recognition and self-perception. All these parts have changed relatively in my adolescence and thus my self concept has become more abstract, psychological, sophisticated, and coherent and integrated self-potrait.
Lim & Bowers (1991) cited by Domenici & Littlejohn (2006) have identified three types of faces that emerge in most interaction situations namely; Autonomy face is sense of self apart from others and it involves a feeling of freedom to act and an ability to control one's life, an idea of privacy and a sense of boundary between self and other. Fellowship face emphasizes connection and commonality involving the need to be included and a sense of connection between the self and the other. Competence face is the attribution of ability, respect for position, and contribution to society.
Competence face involves both autonomy and fellowship faces. The most significant face to me is the autonomy face that gives me a feeling of uniqueness and freedom to act in whichever interaction situation. Fellowship face becomes more important in the interpersonal relationships with my family and friends where one needs a sense of togetherness while competence face is most significant in the case of leadership where one needs do something constructive and positive for the larger community and consequently bring honor to oneself.
Shaffer (2008) has defined self-disclosure as the act of revealing private or intimate information about oneself to another person. Self-disclosure occurs in many interaction situations whether in school, family settings or at the workplace. I have been a recipient of inappropriate self-disclosure from my friend. My friend revealed to me that they are having a messy relationship with the step-father who has been sexually harassing her. She has never told the mother since she concludes that the mother will not believe her. I felt sorry for my friend for my friend and a lot of anger towards her step-father who was manipulating her. The self-disclosures were inappropriate since I was not in a position to help her much although we sort assistance from a counselor. In addition, our families shared a close connection and from that incident my trust and connection towards their family faded especially towards the step-father.
In conclusion, it is always good to nurture a healthy relationships with the significant others who help us in positively building our self-concept. Sometimes the lack of strong ties with the significant others has resulted to low self esteem among the adolescents and thus they become low achievers in life if the issue is not dealt with.