Self-affirmation at the expense of others - what is it like?

Self-affirmation at the expense of others: psychology. The very concept of self-affirmation has not yet entered science as a precisely studied and known phenomenon, and is a whole conglomerate for research.

It can be both creative and destructive for its bearer and others, and can have various forms of use: at the expense of material things, social status, creative or career self-realization, at the expense of another person.

Features of the phenomenon

What is self-affirmation? This is a rather complex phenomenon, in which the following components are distinguished:

  • Social and psychological aspects: a person actively interacts with his environment, and in the course of this process he is realized. Opponents’ values, emotions, views, interests, etc. are involved here.
  • Close connection with self-concept, self-attitude and self-esteem.
  • Motives and needs related to achieving vital goals. This may include success, recognition, self-fulfillment, power.
  • Tactics and life strategies (defensive, compensatory, dominant, constructive).

It’s also worth noting that you can assert yourself in different ways. This is done both through real actions and illusions. A person can either overestimate any achievement or take credit for something.

Personality Traits and Properties

Personality traits or properties refer to human characteristics that denote the deep (internal) characteristics of a particular individual. This applies to both behavior in society and the ability to communicate, as well as a special response to various life situations in the aspect of long-term contacts. The nature of personality traits is both biological (innate) and situational (depending on circumstances).

Creating a complete and, especially, correct list of personality traits is impossible. Firstly, because it can be infinite, like the number of people on the planet. Secondly, the arbitrary nature of personal properties is always possible. Personality properties from the point of view of visibility are manifested in different ways: through character traits and temperament, interests and habits, developed abilities and style of activity of a particular person.

Temperament, as an important personality trait, describes how a person does something (not what he does). Temperament is determined by the type of higher nervous activity

Depending on its structure, experts distinguish 4 main types of temperament.

Choleric is fast, loud speech, impetuosity of movements, well-expressed facial expressions. A sanguine person has the same traits, but in a less pronounced form. Representatives of these two types are usually optimists in life.

A phlegmatic person needs a long time to respond. Representatives of this type of temperament tolerate monotonous loads well (work on a conveyor belt). It has been established that phlegmatic people in marriage are compatible with all temperaments. A melancholic person can be recognized from a whole crowd of people by the expression of sadness and grief on their face (popularly called the “Pierrot” mask). Melancholic people are eternal and incorrigible pessimists.

Temperament is the physiological basis of character. Character is an acquired quality. Character is described through a system of a person’s relationships to 4 structures:

towards oneself (selfishness, egocentrism) towards people (sociability, aggressiveness) towards activities (hard work, laziness) towards things (greed, accuracy)

The core of character is will - the human ability to force oneself to do what is needed in a life situation.

Abilities are those individual psychological characteristics that distinguish one person from another and allow one to quickly and easily perform a certain type of activity. The foundation of abilities is the ratio of hereditary and social. Abilities are formed and developed in the process of human activity. Abilities can be general - thinking, speech, etc. And also special (mathematical, musical, creative, etc.).


Why is it so important to understand and know your emotions? The answer is simple: in order to manage them! After all, experiencing emotions and knowing them are not identical concepts. Experiencing emotions does not provide the key to managing them, while knowing them allows you to understand yourself

In order to manage emotions, a person must know how they are structured, as a result of what acts of the soul they appear and continue to exist, despite obvious attempts to hide them.

Motives and needs. Need is a state experienced as the body’s need for something. They can be biological, physiological, social, etc. When an object appears to which a human need is directed, a motive arises.

Motive is what motivates us to activity. Motives can be external (“carrot and stick”) and internal (interest, curiosity, etc.). If a person has decided to seriously and carefully approach the issue of studying himself as an individual, he should develop his ability to manage needs. And to do this, you need to clearly understand what needs prevail, what drives these desires.

Direction is a stable goal-setting system that determines and regulates human life. Direction is expressed in several forms: unconscious orientation, inclinations, interests, goals and motives, views and beliefs, worldview.

All of the above concepts are the psychological characteristics of a person, his properties. Based on them, you can create your own psychological portrait, which will help you get to know yourself better.

The appearance of desire

A person develops a desire to assert himself very early. This need arises around the age of three. During this period, the child already differentiates himself from the rest of the environment, actively using “I myself,” “I want,” etc. in speech.

Having matured, the child becomes familiar with social criteria. Drawing certain conclusions, he decides in which structure he wants to see himself. And therefore he begins to plan his behavior.

The need to assert oneself is what stimulates a person to behave in a special way. His strategy is formed on the basis of his inherent abilities, skills and upbringing.

Constructive behavior is the best - it helps to develop and realize one’s potential, which is the main source of self-affirmation.

At the expense of others

This dubious strategy needs to be discussed separately. If you think about it, it contradicts the topic under discussion. What does it mean to assert yourself? That's right, achieve success on your own. And when a person receives satisfaction from life at the expense of others, this is already passive, parasitic consumerism.

The strategy is also very sneaky. A person appropriates the merits of others, or devalues ​​other people, trying to stand out favorably against their background.

Why do people engage in this behavior? Because they do not want or cannot engage in the development of personal qualities. They don't like to be responsible for their own well-being.

The result is personality regression. A person becomes a real parasite on the body of society. He is selfish, demanding, aggressive, and also insults and humiliates others. Such a person has absolutely no value. And such people are perceived negatively by society.

Few people manage to renounce such a strategy. There is only one way out, and it lies through the awareness of the productivity of one’s own responsibility for achieving personal goals.

Increased self-awareness

Sometimes it seems to a person that those around him are watching his actions, discussing them and waiting for what the individual will do in the future. This is a state of heightened self-awareness. It often puts a person in an awkward position and even makes him very nervous. Of course, people don't often find themselves in the spotlight. However, such a feeling sometimes becomes chronic.

A shy person has a more pronounced level of private self-awareness. This can be both a bad and a good sign.

People with a deep sense of self are more aware of their beliefs and feelings. This leads them to steadfastly adhere to personal values. And this is the positive side of increased self-awareness. But at the same time, sensitive people are more often overcome by various ailments. These negative health consequences arise from constant stress and increasing anxiety. Sometimes such people experience pronounced depressive states.

A public, but at the same time shy person has a more developed social self-awareness. He believes that other people often think about him, and worries that they may judge his appearance or some actions. As a result, sensitive individuals try to adhere to group norms and try to avoid situations that will make them look bad or feel awkward.

Personal self-awareness in psychology is a topic that attracts special attention. A person’s understanding of his inner “I” is associated with his development and formation

At the same time, not only psychologists study self-awareness. This topic is also of interest to some branches of sociology and pedagogy. Many modern researchers are also turning to self-awareness. This allows them to make great discoveries in various fields of science.


This term is directly related to the topic under discussion. Self-suppression is the refusal to assert oneself.

Destructive strategy. Why? Because the human psyche is static. If it does not develop, it will eventually become simpler and degrade. This may well contribute to physical decay, provoking somatic dysfunction.

Why does self-suppression occur? The reason is usually fears, doubts and anxiety. Many people are so afraid of failure in life that they choose to do nothing. This is typical for insecure individuals. Such persons are afraid to take even a small step forward, because they do not want to be convinced that they themselves are the reason for their failure in life.

To get rid of this, you will need a tremendous amount of work on yourself. Eliminating absurd thoughts and bad habits, developing character and willpower - perhaps, for a certain (probably long) period, this will become the main activity of a person.

Effective methods

They definitely need to be taken into account if there is a great desire to really change your life. The easiest way to feel your own self-sufficiency is through systematic work on yourself

In fact, it turns out that this is not as easy to do as it seems at first glance. Sometimes you have to sacrifice something and look for additional opportunities. The following methods will help you develop and strengthen your self-awareness.

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Another phenomenon worthy of attention. Although, as it may seem, it is the opposite of the concept of “self-affirmation.”

How to understand this term? Self-denial is the renunciation of one's individuality. For some reason, a person doesn’t like himself, and therefore he decides to simply “join” someone, finding a certain ideal in him. As a rule, this goes far, and in the end he simply transfers to himself the qualities of an idol.

In other words, a person lives someone else's life. He identifies himself with the idol, develops in himself those traits that are characteristic of his beloved hero. As a result, the behavior strategy becomes different.

Scientific approaches in human personality psychology

In psychological science, there are different approaches to the study of men and women.

Search for Personal Differences

Depth or psychodynamic theory of personality

This concept of studying the mental characteristics of a subject is based on S. Freud’s theory of the unconscious. The author is convinced that the driving force of development is the instincts of life and death. In the structure of individuality, S. Freud distinguishes 3 categories: It (the desire for pleasure), I (the conscious component that makes decisions) and the Super-I (moral component). If the ego cannot balance the desires of the id and the superego, an internal conflict arises.

The followers of this approach were A. Adler and K. Jung. They saw the citizen’s desire to become better in the eyes of others and the vitality of the body as the driving forces of development.

Phenomenological theory of personality

In the phenomenological approach, the main emphasis is on the independence of the individual at the moments of making significant decisions. Proponents of this theoretical concept believed that everyone himself is responsible for his own mood and for the result of his actions, because he has thinking. As a stimulus for development, the authors of this approach proposed to consider the need of participants in social relations for self-actualization, self-expression and self-improvement.

Dispositional theory of personality - trait theory

The dispositional theory of personality formation is based on the works of G. Eysenck, G. Allport and R. Cattell. These scientists argued that by nature people are endowed with a certain set of dispositions - individual characteristics. These individual typological traits determine the style of communication and the characteristics of people’s reactions to certain situations. The authors compiled a description of various options for combining dispositions, resulting in a list of personality types.

Attention! According to this concept, dispositions do not depend on the individual's experience and are not subject to fundamental changes. They are constant, it is very difficult to purposefully correct them

Behavioral theories of personality

The object of study in this approach was a person’s life experience as an indicator of his social development. The developers of this theory were confident that the formation of individuality cannot occur in isolation from the surrounding reality and without interaction with other people. When studying a person, researchers assess his communication skills, behavioral reactions, and characteristics of participation in joint activities.

Different behavior

According to the philosophy of this approach, a person is a subject of social life. The concept of personality as a subject of relationships was introduced into psychology by S.L. Rubinstein. The initial behavioral concept of person formation was later divided into 2 schools:

  • Behaviorist school, the founders of which were J. Watson and B. Skinner. The main idea in the concept of this direction was that the external environment in relation to behavior is the determining factor.
  • The installation school, which was founded by A. Bandura and J. Rotter. These scientists argued that human behavior is explained by his internal motives and attitudes. How a person communicates depends on his perception of the situation and his motives for entering into contact with the interlocutor.

Cognitive theories of personality

This direction of studying personal structure is based on explaining a person’s actions and actions from the perspective of cognition. Many researchers are confident that cognitive interest determines an individual’s activity, because people choose an activity based on their interests and a profession, guided by their preferences and liking for a particular type of activity.

Exploring the world, a person creates unique constructs. They reflect the interests and inclinations of the individual. As a rule, individual constructs explain a person’s selectivity in communication: he more easily converges with a partner whose construct models are similar to his own.

Good relationships with others

Personality psychology was formed as an independent branch of psychological science, the object of study of which was the stages of formation of personal structures and features of human interaction with the environment. Today, the theoretical provisions of this science are of interest not only to professional psychologists, but also to representatives of other professions. This is due to the fact that a person needs to be able to build relationships with people around him, regardless of what field of economic activity he works in. Therefore, knowledge of the basics of personality psychology will be useful for everyone to optimize social contacts and self-knowledge.

Compensatory strategy

Some people use it to assert themselves. This strategy is as follows: a person realizes that he will not be able to achieve any goal in the area of ​​interest to him (real or subjective), and therefore he transfers himself into a channel accessible to him.

This approach is an effective temporary replacement. However, it will not be possible to completely get rid of dissatisfaction in revealing the sphere to which the soul lies.

There is another version of the compensatory strategy. Sometimes a person joins someone else, becomes identified.

How it works? Let's say a person wanted to open his own business. But for one reason or another I couldn’t. Then he got a job in a company that was engaged in the field in which he would dream of doing business, and began to build a career in it. As a result, people partially perceive the company’s merits as their own.

But sometimes such a strategy is pathological, because the need to make one’s efforts is repressed. And it can also be infantile, because it removes responsibility for personal self-affirmation.

Who can be called a self-actualizing person?

Portrait of a self-actualizing personality according to Maslow (suitable for diagnosing self-actualizing personality):

  • thinks positively;
  • trusts himself and the world;
  • open to the world;
  • free from anger and hatred and other negativity;
  • lives in harmony with himself and the world;
  • accepts oneself and other people as they are;
  • loves his job and does it with pleasure;
  • free from stereotypes and clichés;
  • has a developed sense of humor;
  • knows how to admit his mistakes and learn from them;
  • strictly distinguishes between good and evil;
  • does not hide from problems, but solves them;
  • does not depend on other people's opinions;
  • strives for development;
  • knows how to choose and take responsibility for his choice;
  • has its own system of beliefs, principles, values;
  • has psychological flexibility.

If you recognize yourself in this description, then congratulations - you are a mature and healthy person.

Why is this necessary?

Some people ask this question. Self-affirmation is important, but where did this need come from?

The fact is that we all live in a society. And every person from an early age has to compare himself with others. Therefore, the idea of ​​self-affirmation is formed, behavior appears that is aimed at asserting one’s own significance. Expressing yourself and achieving one or another status is normal and correct.

Of course, everyone's motives are different. As a rule, they are determined by a person’s desire to improve his financial situation, achieve financial well-being, build a career, gain universal recognition and respect, and power. And some simply strive to fully understand themselves or those around them.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is a person's opinion of himself. Most often they evaluate their capabilities and personal qualities. Many people know that it can be underestimated, adequate and overestimated. Some psychologists distinguish between adequately low and adequately high self-esteem, while others are convinced that there is only low and normal self-esteem. Let's figure it out.

Low self-esteem is a person’s subjective attitude towards his personality, which is characterized by cowardice and lack of self-acceptance. There may not be any compelling reasons to think about your Self this way, but there are motives for such self-perception. Most often, these seeds are sown in childhood by parents or respected adults, and in youth by peers.

A person with adequate self-esteem objectively perceives his capabilities and other personality characteristics.

Inflated self-esteem is characterized by exaggeration of all one's achievements.

According to leading psychologists, there is only low and adequate self-esteem, and high self-esteem is a deliberate or subconscious mechanism that works to hide low self-esteem.

Revealing Yourself

This approach deserves special attention in the topic of why self-affirmation is important. This is the best strategy. A person who concentrates on himself is interested in personal development. And this is a key factor in implementation.

The soul aspect is significant here. A person does not chase money, fame or power - it is important for him to take “his” place in the sphere that he, so to speak, chose out of love. Achieving success in an area that was chosen with the heart and not the mind means that a person has truly succeeded in life.

In such cases, not only self-affirmation occurs, but also self-disclosure of personality. And this is something more important, an ascent to a higher level of development.

Recommendations from a psychologist

To stop asserting yourself at the expense of others, you need to work through childhood traumas and grievances against your parents. It is necessary to regain a sense of security, self-worth, significance, to find a source of love and support in yourself and in other people. You need to accept and love yourself, develop self-confidence and work on self-esteem.

How to assert yourself?

You can answer this question for yourself by understanding the topic in detail. What it means to assert oneself is clear. But how to get there, where to start?

Most people, as a rule, have at least “outlines”, rough plans. But some have no idea about their future.

And in such cases, it is better to make the notorious choice with your heart, completely turning off your mind. Then it will be easy to determine a sympathetic field of activity. We need to discard unnecessary questions, including “Is this area in demand?”, “Can I master it?”, “What if nothing works out?” etc.

After all, as practice shows, the main thing is desire. Many people assert themselves through areas that seem completely irrelevant to outsiders. But they are making impressive progress! Why?

Because the thirst they experience for their favorite activity is a powerful driving force. People spend time, energy, ideas and other resources, fully investing in a business because they truly love it. And it gives impressive results.

What is the real goal?

Much has been said above about why a person asserts himself - it is important for him to feel his own value and significance. But what is the key goal of this process?

Discovering your talents. And as a result, self-confidence increases. After all, talent is special, outstanding abilities. Its presence determines a truly high level of development of any abilities that enable a person to cope with this or that activity in an original, independent and successful manner.

But that is not all. The combination of the notorious abilities that form talent is always unique. It is special for each person. There are no identical combinations. Therefore, each talent is unique, and its owner, as a result, is too.

Awareness of this fact also plays a certain role in self-affirmation. A person, knowing that he is not like anyone else, feels unique, exceptional. When he receives confirmation from the outside (admiration, praise, etc.), he also realizes his importance and value.

Definition of concepts

This section of psychological science combines the most important concepts for studying the internal connections and mental processes of an individual. At the same time, different psychologists offer different approaches to what is the object of research. For some, this is a single representative of humanity, who is the bearer of consciousness. For others, it is the same, but as an element of social relations. In this regard, a generalized definition is born that understands a person as a being distinguished by conscious mental activity and being a subject of social interactions.

What is personality: a brief definition in psychology

In simpler terms, this is a combination of the following properties:

  • abilities (mental and physical internal resources);
  • character (that which shapes behavior and views on the world);
  • worldview (a special vision of reality and individual attitude towards it);
  • emotionality (expression of reaction to external stimuli);
  • focus (the ability to determine values ​​and guidelines, set goals and achieve them);
  • general portrait (external features - gait, habits, facial expressions, gestures);
  • temperament (unchangeable attitudes that influence the formation of behavioral factors - melancholy, choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine);
  • motivation (what determines a person’s actions);
  • experience (acquired skills and knowledge).
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