The Self-Discrepancy Theory

Self Discrepancy Theory (2)

The Self-Discrepancy Theory. I learned about this theory probably 3 years ago and never really thought much of it. It was simply another social psych theory I needed to memorize for an exam. It was brought up again in my masters class and I realized how important this theory is and how much it can shape people’s lives.

The self-discrepancy theory argues that there are three “versions” of yourself that you are aware of and the conflicts between the 3 can guide your behavior and make you uncomfortable in your current situation. When your “actual self” does not match your “ought self” it can cause you to feel guilty or anxious. When your “actual self” does not match your “ideal self” it can cause you to feel discouraged. While it is usually targeted towards emotions it can also apply to life choices.

Whether you know it by this name or not this conflict is something we all face, especially as twenty-somethings trying to decide what we want to do with our lives. Your mom says to be a business major but you’re interested in architecture. This creates that first conflict. Thinking about where you are now and what you need to do to become a successful architect can lead to feeling conflicted or discouraged about your dreams as well.

Knowing that these conflicts exist makes it easier to deal with them. I used the quote in my graphic because it’s important to how I deal with these issues. Support and critique from family and friends can be beneficial and motivational. The important thing is to make sure you are confident in who you are an who you want to be. Don’t let your family, or your doubts, stop you from reaching to achieve your goals.

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