Budding ideas around self-concepts

Budding ideas about accountability, ego, and the various ways we come to understand who we are

Budding ideas around self-concepts
Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham / Unsplash

For the past year or so, I've been slowly building out a digital garden and personal knowledge hub to help develop my thinking.

And in that space, there are threads of ideas that keep resurfacing like how we understand ourselves, the desire to live authentically, and formulating new ways of Being.

One day, I was talking to my girlfriend about how one of the reasons it's so hard to practice accountability, is because the awareness that we may have done/might do something "bad" is at odds with our egoic conception of self.

We really liked this language of an egoic conception of self, and attempted to further develop it:

Early ideas about self-concept

If there is an egoic self-concept, then we can infer that there are other conceptions of self, or ways of understanding who you are.

  1. The Egoic Conception of Self is how you understand yourself from the perspective of your Ego, which according to Google is a person's sense of self-worth or self-importance. This self-concept shows up in our behavior as I do these things because I am this kind of person.
  2. The Spiritual Conception of Self is how you understand yourself as a person with a spirit or soul, and connected (or not) to a higher power. This self-concept supports the ego and is informed by a person's spiritual beliefs.
  3. The Primal Conception of Self is how you understand yourself through your base-level needs related to things like survival and reproduction. I think that the primal self is expressed through bodily sensations like being hungry, tired, cold, hot, etc., and shows up in how we attempt to satisfy our desires.

How egoic self-concept influences accountability

A good example of how the egoic self-concept influences accountability is the "good guy" that we've all encountered at some point in our lives. In my experience, this is usually a cisgender heterosexual man who strongly sees himself as objectively "good." He took a handful of gender studies classes in college, he does chores around the house without being asked, and he's very very nice.

Our Good Guy has a positive self-regard (ego), and on a regular basis, his ego affirms that he's a "good guy". And so when someone tells the Good Guy that something he did really hurt them, it's hard for him to take that information in, and use it to evolve his understanding of self as someone who is not always "good".

His self-concept is too fixed and rigid.


This is not a fully informed or researched idea, but it's something that I find interesting and exciting to think about.

✨ Kiana