My self-concept derives from a whole host of such factors, not the least of which is what others think about me. I have always had a great interest in music and I have a very good singing voice, which has made me popular with my friends: so I consider music and the capability of rendering it is an integral part of my self.
The awareness of my gender has led me to see what women the world over go through in terms of greater struggles for freedom and rights. My self-concept thus wraps around my identity as a woman as someone who has to struggle with the everyday realities of being a woman, and also involves an acceptance of the fact that I have an average appearance.
Add to that my identity as an African-American, and the picture is complete in a social context. People around me see me as a normal, well-adjusted, average-looking African-American woman and also as a student who sings well, and so it becomes an important definition of my self-concept in the social context.
My concept of self contributes to my self-esteem, my idea of what I am worth, of what I am capable of contributing to the society, and the respect of choices and rights that I feel I deserve. My singing abilities and my accomplishments as a student provide a boost to my self-esteem, because they bring me recognition and applause in my community, especially in my church where I lead the choir.
My self-esteem lets me perform well and gives me the confidence to move about in a social context, comfortable in the knowledge that I am likeable and welcome. I feel that my accomplishments more than make up for my lack of physical attractiveness, and it does not significantly detract from my sense of self-esteem. My self-esteem leads me to believe that I can make informed choices about my own life, and indeed have all rights to do so.
In the social arena, my self-esteem helps me perform at a high level of self-efficacy. Based on my concept of self and self-esteem, I am able to form an estimate of how effective I am as a person. There is no hesitation in attempting a new challenge, because my sense of self-efficacy tells me that I am more than likely to succeed.
In my point of view, my sense of self-efficacy increases if the challenges belong to my comfort zones, namely singing or academics, because it is very well accepted by those around me and myself that these are the areas I am easily able to excel in. This is the reason why I am comfortable taking part in community events which involve singing.
One of my earliest and most significant memories is of being sent on stage by my mother to sing a small hymn at a church event. After my singing ended, there was loud and continued applause, and I could see the smiles of approval on the faces of all the people in the audience which included my parents, relatives, friends and neighbors.
This gave my sense of self-esteem a major boost, and whenever I now feel nervous about going on stage, I recall that moment in my childhood when I first heard the applause of the people around me. It gives me a feeling of rise in self-confidence, and my concept of self-efficacy is restored: I do not feel nervous or panicky any more and am able to get on the stage and