Saturday 1 April 2017

What is “Sentiment”?

The present article is all about what sentiment means, about self-regarding sentiments (such as self-concept, self-esteem, and self-image) about the process of formation of character, as well as types of character (such as amoral, expedient, conformist, irrational conscientious, and rational altruistic).

What is “Sentiment”?

What is Sentiment
A sentiment is a combination of various emotions clustered around some important persons, objects, ideals and values. These sentiments form one's permanent emotional disposition.

In the initial stage, these sentiments are centered around family members. Later, these are developed around one's community members and are based on caste, religion and language.

Gradually, they are transformed into abstract ideals of cooperation, gregariousness (fond of company), honesty, truthfulness and justice.

For instance, one person from Bihar gets excited to see another Behari in Kanyakumari, because they belong to the same state. But the same Behari may be happy to see any Indian in Canada, because they belong to the same nation.

Self-regarding Sentiments:

Before we discuss the concept of self-regarding sentiments, we should first understand and have clarity on the term “self”. Self means oneself- one’s identity, one’s personality, that is what one is.

Self can be defined roughly as the elaboration of such statements as –“I am this sort of a person. These are my strengths and weaknesses....”

Thus, self refers to the image of total personality of an individual, including bodily self and the sense of identity. Self is the central point of personality. It directs the process of individualization through which the useful and creative aspects of the unconscious are made conscious and channeled into productive activity.


A human being is aware of himself. He is aware of his past and future, and of other people, friends, enemies and strangers.

As he is aware of his own life and ultimate death, he must establish a firm identity and a purpose and meaning for his life. Without an adequate concept of himself, he will feel anxious and may fall into social isolation and despair.

Self-concept is the totality of the perceptions that one has about himself, his attitude towards himself, the language he uses to describe himself.

Self esteem:

The self-esteem of a child or an individual is his self-judgement of his own abilities, influence and popularity.

His degree of self-esteem will affect his behavior -- either by limiting or extending the range of things he will attempt, whether in academic tasks, sports or friendships.

Low self-esteem makes the child less original and more imperative, whereas high self-esteem brings out initiative and independent judgement.

Therefore, self -esteem is a positive attitude toward oneself and one's behavior. Quite often it is a lasting personal disposition.


Self-image refers to the perfect and ideal self which the individual imagines himself or herself to be after identification with an idealized conception of what he or she should be.

As the child grows, he develops an understanding about his likes and dislikes, distinguishes between right and wrong, discriminates good and bad mainly through the external sources like parents, teachers, peers and relatives. Gradually, he develops an image for himself and attaches special regard for himself. This is known as self-regarding sentiment or master-sentiment.

Formation of Character:

The basic units of character are the sentiments. The character is the system or organization of sentiments. Hence, sentiments are directly related to the formation of character.

Now, the question is what forms the character? Possession of multiple sentiments combined with strong will-power, ability to judge, and sensitivity to social norms constitutes the character.

A person who possesses a good character will be a self-disciplined person and will act according to his own principles and consciousness. His decision to solve a moral dilemma is based on his rational judgement rather than the fear of punishment or regards for reward. The character of such persons is reflected in their conduct.

Types of Character:


Such types of students are self-centered and act on impulses. There is no sense of discriminating right and wrong, no feeling of guilt, mere self-gratification. They may conceal and give P charming appearance to other.


Such types of students are self-centered and always strive to gain reward and avoid punishment. They are inconsistent in their behavior and concerned about their own welfare only.


Some students act in accordance with social demands. They are basically immature in nature, but superficially appear to be conforming to societal norms and pretend to be model citizens.

Irrational conscientious:

Such types of students have a set of standard and moral code of their own, but conform quite rigidly. They are bound to their conscience and feel guilty if they violate it. They have a sense of right and wrong, and certain acts may be considered right and certain wrong.

Rational altruistic:

Such students have a stable set of morals and principles. They understand, and evaluate, accept and habitually act upon principles. They may tend to change their principles according to their insights and welfare of other human beings. They may act in a socially constructive way but in accordance with their personal convictions. They are unselfish persons.


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