Three Aspects of the Proprium

Allport referred to the unifying core of personality, or those aspects of the self that a person considers central to self-identity, as the proprium. During the first three to four years of life, three aspects of the proprium emerge. The sense of a bodily self involves awareness of body sensations. Self-identity represents the child's knowledge of an inner sameness or continuity over time, and self-esteem reflects personal efforts to maintain pride and avoid embarrassment. Self-extension emerges between the fourth and sixth year of life; this refers to the child's concept of that which is "mine," and it forms the foundation for later self-extensions such as career and love of country. The self-image, which also emerges between ages four and six, represents an awareness of personal goals and abilities as well as the "good" and "bad" parts of the self. The ability to see the self as a rational, coping being emerges between ages six and twelve and represents the ability to place one's inner needs within the context of outer reality. Propriate striving often begins in adolescence and focuses on the person's ability to form long-term goals and purposes. Finally, the self as knower represents the subjective self and one's ability to reflect on aspects of the proprium.

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