"Know thyself," urged Socrates, and "The truth shall make
Sullivan (1953) spoke of "good-me," "bad-me," and "not me" parts
in all of us. The first method reduces the misery caused by an
unreasonably harsh self-critic, the "bad-me" part. It deals with how we
feel about ourselves. This method deals more with how we think about
ourselves. Our self-concept is the foundation of our entire personality;
it affects almost everything we do. All of us have a part that wants to
feel good about ourselves and to have others approve of us. This is our
"good-me." However, our actions are subject to interpretation (our
"having a good time" may be seen by others as "laziness" or
"alcoholism"). Most of us who are not depressed usually see ourselves
in a good light (in spite of the self-criticism and feelings of inferiority
mentioned in method #1). This exaggeration of our goodness by the
"good-me" can cause problems too, which this method deals with.
Sometimes the "not me" part keeps us from noticing things we
don't want to see about ourselves. Generally we would be better off
facing the truth, i.e. becoming more self-aware. There are several
interesting personality measures in this area (Fenigstein, Scheirer &
Private self-consciousness (sample items rated on a scale from 0 to 4):
I'm always trying to figure myself out.
I'm generally attentive to my inner feelings.
Public self-consciousness (sample items):
I'm concerned about the way I present myself.
I worry about what other people think of me.
Snyder's (1980) Self-Monitoring Scale (sample items):
I guess I put on a show to impress or entertain people.
In different situations and with different people, I often act like
a very different person.
It takes me time to overcome my shyness in new situations.
I get embarrassed very easily.
Low private self-consciousness is not thinking or knowing very
much about your inner feelings. High private self-consciousness
involves knowing ourselves, e.g. realizing we wear several social