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From a cognitive standpoint, one guideline for improving my self-concept is the ability to change my beliefs. This point asserts that there are deeply embedded thoughts in my unconscious which have been brought about by my past experiences. Possibly, the negative experiences have been harbored in my unconscious and have had repercussions on the way I perceive myself. I realized that I have to be able to analyze what underlies my negative self-concept. Upon carrying this out, I had very meaningful insights and thought that the bottom line are the feelings of fear, hatred of oneself, angst, and grief, among others. As the feeling and the belief of not being adequate becomes reinforced through my experiences, it becomes more difficult to change, and all the more I become convinced that I am just good enough.In all of these thoughts I have to learn to observe and to validate where all of these are coming from. Yet another step is for me is to be able to set a target or a goal. I have to live believing that I can change myself for the better if only I can change the way I perceive myself. This is an act of the will, and I have to have the firm conviction of wanting to change – this is a very potent step of the process. The next definitive step of cognitively changing my self-concept is being able to release my old, erroneous beliefs about my self-concept. This guideline may be carried out in a ritualistic manner; for instance, I can write down these beliefs on a piece of paper and burn them. This ‘physical’ release of the belief is more powerful and may cause the healing process to be undertaken more expeditiously.Having explained these principles, I realized a time when I wanted to change my belief that I do not deserve to be romantically involved with anyone. Throughout my life, I have avoided most opportunities of people who wanted to get close to me in this way. Now that I have discovered the power of changing cognitions, I believe that this has been rooted in the way that my parents brought me up. Growing in a very sheltered environment and following very stringent rules, I have been strongly reprimanded by my parents whenever I made mistakes. I felt this more strongly with my father who was a disciplinarian. I have failed in trying to change myself because the belief had a long, and deeply rooted cause. Having known these principles, I decide to finally rid myself of this belief by first addressing the problem at its root – in my belief system.First, I have to observe how I react to social contexts related to this belief. Moreover, I will also reflect about the causes of this cognitive schema, and then try to logically change this. I will reaffirm myself systematically by telling myself phrases such as “You deserved to be loved”, “You are lovable” or “You are a loving person and deserved to be loved”. I will also change myself behaviorally by welcoming opportunities of love that come my way. I shall not shy away from suitors and get rid of the fear of romantic involvement. I know this will be very difficult because I have been accustomed to believing this over such a long time. But despite the initial difficulty, I will continue to persevere. I will also reward myself for small wins. To be able to expedite the change process, I shall also be ritualistic about it. I shall write down all my wrong self-perceptions and burn them.One very significant learning which I have garnered from this assignment is the power of the mind. In part, we are who we think we are. Our self-perceptions affect our affect and our behavior. If we think that we are capable of doing great things, then we attract circumstances that would lend credence to this believe. So the adage of “mind over matter” is somewhat true. Our minds are potent magnets, and we must be cautious about our beliefs so as not to “pollute” it. If we are to be successful, we must begin with our thoughts. We have to have a more positive outlook about ourselves so that we may function towards achieving success. Inevitably, we may have negative thoughts that have been formed as a function of this upbringing. It is during these instances when the guidelines for improving self-concept may be systematically applied. 

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