Psychology and Psychiatry

Self affirmation

Self affirmation - it is the individual’s need for self-awareness at the desired level in the social, psychological and physical sphere. The meaning of the word self-affirmation - (eng. Self - self and affirmation - confirmation) - indicates the process leading to the formation of a picture of the real, desired or imaginary, approved by the individual in the future.

Self-affirmation of the person is realized both through real actions, achievements, and illusions, when the result is either verbally attributed or overestimated, being objectively less significant.

Self-affirmation is a dynamic process in psychology that involves constant testing of reality. Being a social being, man needs the continuity of society and development does not occur independently. The basic criteria are public standards and ideas. In part, they are internalized by the individual, which is determined by personal orientation, the external reference point is the evaluation of the reference, in the defined sphere of achievements, for the individual group.

The concept of self-assertion often has a negative color, since its implementation is associated with pathological behavioral strategies.

What is self-affirmation?

The need for self-assertion is actualized approximately at the age of three years, when the child seeks to differentiate himself from the environment, the “I” (I myself, I want) is actively used in speech. This stage is also associated with a certain negativism, especially in relation to parents, since self-assertion is connected with activity that is oppositional to a close environment, especially if the internal criteria do not correspond to the declared rules.

In the future, a person gets acquainted with the criteria of society, determines which social stratum he wants to get into, and accordingly plans his behavior.

Self-affirmation of a person is a psychological process that includes components from both a social and personal aspect. Although criteria for goals are more often provided by society, a person can be graded in a certain way, accepting and approving certain and displacing the undesirable. This happens both consciously, purposefully, but, fundamentally, unconsciously, when a person declares an unwillingness to “play by the rules of society” and thereby asserts himself in the group “not playing by the rules”, which also has its own laws.

A healthy will to assert itself is natural for a person, speaks about the qualities of the nervous system, adaptation, the level of striving for self-destruction. The level of claims that an individual defines as sufficient for himself demonstrates his strength, adaptability, survival. Since any organism is focused on the principle of energy saving, the need for self-affirmation, as an incentive for action, is one of the characteristics that motivate action.

The need for self-affirmation of a person, depending on the skills, abilities, education and locus of control will stimulate a certain type of behavior and strategy to meet the needs. These strategies can be both constructive and irrational. Constructive self-assertion is aimed at self-realization, the development of its potential. Irrational can be considered as an aggressive strategy, in the context of which the need for self-affirmation is carried out at the expense of others, and a strategy of self-suppression when there is a rejection of self-affirmation. The latter is self-destructive, since the psyche is not static, without developing, it degrades and becomes simpler, which can contribute to the disintegration on the physical level, provoking somatic dysfunctions.

The compensatory strategy of self-assertion of the personality is characterized by the fact that when it is real or subjective that it is impossible to achieve goals in the desired sphere, the interest is consciously transferred to a more accessible channel. This is sometimes salutary as a temporary replacement, but dissatisfaction in the disclosure of the sphere will not be completely eliminated.

Attaching to another individual or group can be considered a different version of this strategy, identification with it (with it) and merit are perceived as one's own, personality is merged with another (and). In some cases, this can be on the background of identifying oneself with a rather large group, gender, nation, race. This strategy is also pathological, because it crowds out the need to apply its own efforts, and in the case of a feeling of internal inferiority, the aggression is directed to an external source, with which they are identified, making claims to it of their own low value. It is also an infantile strategy, when the locus of control is transferred outside and removes personal responsibility for its own self-actualization.

The relevance of areas for self-assertion is different at different ages, cultural traditions, gender priority. Professional recognition, achievements in science, creativity, business, success in partnership, parental relationships, can be differently evaluated in a local time frame and have a different significance depending on the values ​​of the social environment.

Ideally, a person has experience in realizing himself in each of them, to have the tools for self-realization of oneself without having to do it at someone else’s expense. As self-identification, some areas may come to the fore and, a small implementation in others will not be important, but the flexibility of the psyche will allow you to be successful in various planes and ensure the stability of the psyche in case of failures. The recognition of merit gives the support of society, and the achievements of the individual are included in the collective baggage and with the help of such a mutually beneficial exchange, the communication between “I” and “Others” takes a qualitative and healthy form.

It is important to understand that often the process of self-assertion is isolated in various fields. Success in one does not guarantee self or public recognition in the other. The more spheres covered and qualitatively developed, the better supported the general, integrative, self-feeling.

Self-affirmation at the expense of others

Self-assertion at the expense of others is called a strategy in which a person appropriates the achievements of other people or devalues ​​them, increasing their value against their background. This may occur due to the inability or unwillingness to develop their own qualities. A person leaves from personal responsibility, ignoring the absence of his contribution or manipulating the situation, the situation. This creates a certain illusion of personal self-worth, which is not supported by real achievements. Such a position is infantile, since to meet the need another is needed, the attitude to which is consumer and leads to the regression of the personality. With such a line of conduct, a person is aggressive, demanding, can humiliate and insult, devalue the merits of others. It is this pattern of behavior that is negatively perceived and condemned.

The meaning of the word self-affirmation indicates the priority and desire for a constructive type of self-affirmation. Personality seeks to it through the disclosure of their own talents, qualities and traits. Its value is growing in personal perception by increasing confidence, and by society is perceived as successful and strong-willed. This way is more natural and productive, since the personality is based on its own resources, becoming more autonomous.

Self-assertion at the expense of others occurs when a person puts himself in a dependent position, even if he behaves aggressively and humiliates. If the person or group at whose expense the assertion goes to rebel, gets out of control or influence, develops his qualities and becomes independent of the aggressor, he will lose this resource.

Adhering to self-assertion at the expense of others, the personality does not develop, its past achievements, if they were, become obsolete and depreciate, which can later lead to deep disappointment. The seeming, at first glance, ease of this strategy is deceptive, because it keeps in illusions, not allowing the potential of its “I” to develop. In the future, it is more destructive for the self-affirming than for his victim.

To get rid of this strategy of self-assertion, it is necessary to realize the productivity of personal responsibility to achieve their goals and define themselves at the desired level. This is a more advantageous and adult position that develops value, both in their own eyes and in public opinion.

It is a constructive strategy that paints this phenomenon in a positive spectrum, since it implies personal, deserved success, helping others in this context becomes another tool.