Friday, February 7, 2014
Why is learning the self important?
• Components of self and self-reflection can be used to improve communication
skills and your self-esteem
• How to present and maintain a positive self when interacting with others
• "Know thyself"- before understanding our interactions with others, we must first
What is the "self"?
• Self- made up of 3 distinct, yet integrated components, that evolve continually
over time based on life experience
o Self-awareness- viewing yourself as a unique person distinct from
surroundings; ability to step outside of yourself and reflect on your thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors
• Critical self-reflection- targeted self-awareness
What am I thinking/feeling and why?
How is it affecting my communicating?
How can I improve my thoughts/feelings/communication?
o Self-concept- your overall perception of who you are based on your
beliefs, attitudes, and values
• Shaped by your gender, culture, family, and friends
• Looking-glass self- thinking about how others see you has a
powerful effect on how you think about yourself
o Self-esteem- the overall value, positive or negative, that we assign to
ourselves. Evaluations of self-worth
• Self-fulfilling prophecies- making predictions about our behavior
or future interactions, then behaving in ways that ensure the prediction is
"I am going to deliver a great presentation!"
"No one's going to talk to me anyway"
• People with high self-esteem report:
Greater life satisfaction
Communicate more positively with others
Experience more happiness in their relationships
Exhibit greater leadership ability
Greater academic performance
• Self-discrepancy theory- self-esteem is determined by how you
compare your ideal self and your ought self
Ideal self- "Perfect you"
Ought self- the person others wish and expect you to be
High self-esteem- your perceptions of actual self match
both ideal and ought
Low self-esteem- often stems from a discrepancy between
your actual self, your ideal self, and your ought self
How does the self-concept develop?
• Age 6-7 months we begin recognizing the self as distinct from surroundings
o Some features of our self are immediately apparent • Reflected appraisal- self-concept is a reflection of the messages you've
received throughout our life
o Ex. Supportive parents vs. unsupportive parents
• Social comparison- evaluating ourselves in terms of how we compare with
Influences on self
• Gender- lifelong gender socialization
o Learning what it means to be "male" or "female"
o Influential in our feelings toward attachment to others
o Individualistic vs. collectivistic
Presenting your self
• Erving Goffman- Sociologist interested in behavior in public settings
o Contributions include:
• Revealing the rules and norms that guide public performance
• Providing a framework for studying human interaction based on
the idea that life is "drama" and that we play roles as "actors" and engage
Ex. Engagement proposals
o Face- the identity that you actively create and present through
o Positive face- the desire to be liked, approved of, included
o Negative face- the desire to be respected
o Mask- public self designed to strategically veil private self
Face threatening actions
oThreats to own face (Ex. Athletes on steroids, inappropriate social media,
tripping and falling, etc.)
oThreats to other's face (Ex. Outing someone in public, challenging
Vicarious face threats (Ex. Something happens to someone else that
could affect your face, Tanner Hannold)
o Important because:
• We're emotionally invested in our own face
• Losing face can damage others' impressions of you
• At the core of why so many of the communication strategies we
use do or do not work well (criticism, conflict, social support)
• Maintaining face
o Most people want you to maintain face
• When a face threatening act occurs:
o Promptly acknowledge