Individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, age, are constituted by a personality that through experience, interpersonal contact and the relationship with the environment that surrounds us, we are molding, we are making it our own characteristic.

For psychoanalysis, this personality is composed or integrated by three elements that have no structure in the organism, do not occupy space in the mind. These are, according to psychoanalysis: the “it”, the “superego” and the “I”, which are part of Freud’s second topic of the twentieth century.

All of them have their particularity but they work together, never separately and each one has its function within the psyche.

Next, in this article we will talk specifically about the “me”.

What is the self?

The “I” is one of the threepersonalitycomponents ofSigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. It is an executive part of the personality, the most conscious, which mediates between the demands of it, the superego and reality.

This component of the personality operates on the basis of reality, satisfying the desires of the it in order to release the tension accumulated in the mind. It is the part of the personality that organizes in relation to its interrelation with the environment.

By its judgment in evaluating and understanding reality, the self enables the individual to overcome external and internal dangers. It is regulated by the principle of reality and in it the secondary processes of perception and thought work. Understand the rational, realistic part

Characteristics of The Self

The “I” is a component of the personality that enjoys privileges, since it has the peculiarity of acting independently, making decisions, defending and adapting.

This gives it a series of qualities that define it, of which we will mention some:

It is an intermediate psychic instance

The “it” demands satisfaction of its punctures, of its instincts, the “overwhelmed” the fulfillment of strict morality. This is a clash of conflict of interest between two of the three components of personality.

Constitutes the conscious part of the mind

It is governed by the pragmatic and survival

Being the Rational component of the personality, the “I” , through a defense mechanism known by psychology as sublimation , allows it to channel all those drives (stimuli or impulses) and guide them towards behaviors considered acceptable in our society.

It begins to develop from childhood

From the moment of interaction between the baby and its caregivers, self-awareness arises. This is due to the process of satisfaction and dissatisfaction generated by their intimate relationship and the same development of the cognitive process. Remember that the“I” is in the conscious part of the individual.

Focuses on external demands

The “I”becomes aware of the stimuli, storing experience about them, avoiding too strong ones, coping with moderate stimuli and learning to modify the exterior to its advantage. It consists of a process of adaptation.

Receive and manage information

Analyzes and controls defense mechanisms

The concept of defense refers to the action to avoid external damage, however for psychoanalysis the defense is against internal damage.

For example, the sensation of internal discomfort caused by anguish generates in him or a defensive action with the purpose of protecting the internal integrity of the individual against displeasure.

It is built from personal interaction

The “I” is nourished by the relationship with its environment, shaping the bulk of its behavior through relationships with other individuals, situation analysis and decision-making.

Elements that constitute the Self

There are three levels that make up the psyche: conscious , preconscious, and unconscioustag. These account for psychic processes and work interrelated with each other, they do not have a neurological location or a place in the human organism.

conscious elements

It is the most accessible of the psychic apparatus or human Psyche, it is made up of what is perceived. It is everything that is registered through the senses: sight, smell, taste, motor skills, as well as what happens within the subject (memories, desires, feelings,emotions , among others).

Through consciousness it is possible to know things reflectively. The conscious system is managed with the principle of reality, in the here and now, respects temporality, is governed by logical laws and adapts to the context.

preconscious elements

It is the closest level to consciousness, they are related to each other, since they have a certain mobility, that is, the contents found at this level easily enter the conscious level because they have been temporarily forgotten.

This level can be made up of feelings, thoughts, fantasies and experiences that are not present in consciousness but that can become present at any time.

The contents are stored at this level, because somehow they cannot enter consciousness due to lack of space.

Unconscious Elements

At this level are all the emotions, desires, ideas, experiences and repressed conflicts that have no place in consciousness, due to the intensity they possess.

They produce displeasure (suffering) to the person when he remembers them, so he represses them and they remain hidden at this level.

Theories of The Self according to authors

Below are some perspectives on the meaning of “I” from the most representative authors in the study of psychology:

Carl Gustav Jung

For analytical psychology, the self is the center of consciousness and arises from the early stages of development from the self-model, being the true center of the entire personality.

The “I” is by no means the governing entity of the Psyche , since it is made up of other instances, but rather it is just one more complex, which has the unique privilege over the other complexes of possessing the sense of identity.

For Jung , the “I” is made up of a double component, a somatic one made up of everything that is perceived through the senses and, by becoming a conscious part of the individual, it becomes a psychic component.

William James

For William James , an American psychologist from the 19th century, a follower of pragmatism, the “I” is not the center of consciousness, it is dynamic and personal, and it behaves selectively, choosing from the environment what is useful for it to adapt. to reality.

Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman in his theory of the subject , argues that in order to understand human behavior in micro social relationships, people must be assimilated to actors and their actions are performances.

The sociologist explains that people use different facets according to the characteristics of the people with whom we interact or the situation we are facing.

This is how the subject creates his personality from interactions. The “ seeks to adapt for its own benefit.

Mark Snyder

Self-control is a concept introduced during the 1970s by Mark Snyder, which shows how much people control their own representations, expressive behavior, and nonverbal affective demonstrations.

Human beings are different in their abilities to control their expressions. Expressive control is defined as a personality trait that refers to the ability to regulate behavior to adapt to social situations.

According to this perspective, the “I” seeks to adapt to the environment through the perception of the behavior of the individuals that surround it and thus be socially accepted.

Jacques Lacan

There are some scientific studies and research that conclude that what makes it easier for us to relate better with certain people is that they have characteristics similar to ours. We are attracted to people who are like us.

The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan , creator of the so-called ” Mirror Theory “ , analyzed the formation of the “I” during the psychological development phase of the child between six and eighteen months.

The result during this period is that the child is able to identify his own image in the mirror and when he recognizes himself he feels great joy.

That is, he likes the image that the mirror projects. This identification of the“I”can be extrapolated to the social relationships that we acquire throughout our lives. The mirror effect applied to social relations.

Patricia Linville

The more diverse and nourished are our experiences with individuals and with the environment, the greater the number of characters that we can and must develop.

The psychologist Patricia Linville, from Duke University , suggests that the more I’s a person has, or, as she puts it, “tax personalities” , the better opportunities they find to face difficult situations that arise.

In summary, the “I” perhaps comprises the most important part of the individual’s personality, since it shapes behavior from the moment it begins to interact with people and with its environment, its surroundings.

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