Self-image is the picture you have of yourself, the sort of person you believe you are. Included in your self-image are the categories in which you place yourself, the roles you play and other similar descriptors you use to identify yourself.
If you tell an acquaintance you are a grandfather who recently lost his wife and who does volunteer work on weekends, several elements of your self-image are bought to light — the roles of grandparent, widower and conscientious citizen.
But self-image is more than how you picture yourself; it also involves how others see you. Three types of feedback from others are indicative of how they see us: conformation, rejection, and disconfirmation.
Conformation occurs when others treat you in a manner consistent with who you believe you are. You believe you have leadership abilities and your boss put you in charge of a new work team.
On the other hand, rejection occurs when others treat you in a manner that is inconsistent with yourself definition.
Pierre Salinger was appointed senator from California but subsequently lost his first election.
He thought he was a good public official, but the voters obviously thought otherwise— Their vote was inconsistent with his self-concept.
The third type of feedback is disconfirmation, which occurs when others fail to respond to your notion of self by responding neutrally.
A student writes what he thinks is an excellent composition, but the teacher writes no encouraging remarks.
Rather than relying on how others classify you, consider how you identify yourself. The way in which you identify yourself is the best reflection of yourself-image.