You were born fearless. You developed all your fears through your experiences. Fear of failure and loss, and fear of rejection through it’s expression, criticism. What becomes of your fears, as well as hopes, dreams, achievements is known as your self concept. Your self concept is the collection of all of your beliefs about yourself and your abilities.
In addition to an overall self concept we all have a huge subset of mini-self concepts for each area of our lives. We have a self concept for our level of fitness, for how well we look, especially to the opposite sex, for what a great parent and friend we are, for how well we drive our cars, how much money we make and how smart we are with it. In short all of our little self concepts make us what we are.
Every self concept contains a self ideal, a self image, and self esteem. The self ideal represents our perfect selves and everything we would like to be assuming we have unlimited potential. The self image is the mirror in which we actually see our abilities and tends to act as the item that our subconscious mind accepts. Self esteem is the emotional component of our self concept, it simply represents how much we like ourselves.
Self esteem is the most critical component of your self concepts. It’s the microprocessor of your psyche’s hard drive. The more you like yourself the less you will fear failure. Whenever you do something that is not in keeping with your self ideal your self esteem goes down, and vice-versa. The good news is that our self concepts can always change, and that we fortunately tend to become what we say to ourselves.