Thinking About Self-Perception by Jen Hamilton, Licensed Educational Psychologist
I recently read a fascinating article by psychologist Timothy D. Wilson entitled "We Are What We Do." The premise of the article is based on the assertion of social psychologist Daryl Bem that how we view ourselves is based not on innate traits that cause us to act in certain ways, but rather that our actions shape our self-perceptions. For example, we might hear our kids (or ourselves) say "if I am forced to do something nice for someone, it is not a genuine sentiment so it is less meaningful." In reality, the act of doing something nice for someone actually changes how we view ourselves.
Thinking in this new way can have a tremendous impact on our lives. Regularly participating in community service opportunities will make you see yourself as more altruistic and generous, which may in turn shape how you behave in other areas of your life. Practicing thinking more positive thoughts (for example, by keeping a daily gratitude journal) may help you view your life more constructively. Training yourself to practice mindfulness and deep breathing on a daily basis may help you view yourself as a calmer, more centered person.
During times of stress, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have little control over many aspects of our lives. But rest assured that making small and deliberate changes in how we act can have a tremendous positive impact both on self-esteem and productivity.
For more information on this topic I encourage you to read Wilson's article
and as always, if you have any concerns about your child please feel free to contact a member of the counseling department.