Good body control is a personal and social asset which contributes heavily to the person’s self-concept. The effect of body control on personality may be direct or indirect. The direct effect comes from determining what the person can do and how well he can do it. The direct effect is also evident in motivation. When a person is self-conscious about his poor body control, he may be so concerned about unfavorable social reactions that he will lack the motivation to do what he is capable of doing.
Indirectly, body control influences personality through the effect the person’s body control has on the attitudes of significant people in the social group. Because of the high social value placed on good body control, as shown in motor skills, strength, and speed, the person’s self-concept is damaged by poor control.
Awareness of social value of body control
Even before the young child discovers the social value of good body control, he derives satisfaction from being his own master and from being able to do what he sets out to do without help. In his early peer contacts, the child discovers that social acceptance depends largely on his ability to do what his age mates do and that leadership depends largely on superior play skills.
The schoolchild discovers that academic success is greatly influenced by the ability to do things which require skilled movements and that the confidence these build up encourages him to tackle new tasks. By adolescence, he is well aware that great prestige is attached to physical competence. Boys who excel in sports and girls who excel in social dancing are in the limelight of peer attention. Good body control is the key to social success.
In adult life, gracefulness and poise add to social success, while motor skills add to vocational success. At the basis of much of the feeling of inadequacy and self-consciousness noted among older people is the loss of body control which results from changes in the neuromuscular system and in the bones and joints-changes which are a natural accompaniment of the aging process.