Psychological Self-Help

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excessive need for social status or for an ego boost through material
possessions, dominance, good looks, clothes, good grades, approval of
friends or family, etc. These insights could help us avoid being
unnecessarily self-centered. 
Some writers (Nanka, 2002) describe a related attitude—I-am-
always-right or Everyone-should-agree-with-me. Perhaps these
arrogant behaviors or feelings spring from underlying fears of being
wrong, feelings of inferiority, from a desire to be superior or from
some other dynamic. Regardless of the source, these dominant
personalities get irritated and critical when others disagree with them.
They may become self-righteous. People wanting to be right and in
control seek a closed system which will keep out the different ideas of
other people. Others in such a system, however, are likely to feel
controlled, frustrated and angry. When this occurs in a family or in a
work group, people become unhappy. Note: an interesting research
finding reports that authoritarian men with high testosterone avoid
intimacy, are more aggressive, less happy, and have a divorce rate
twice as high as men with less testosterone. Interesting…but read on. 
Other researchers (Taylor, Lerner, Sherman, Sage & McDowell,
2003) found that when self-enhancement (crowing about your good
traits) is done modestly and tactfully, it is generally accepted. It even
results in good scores on measures of mental health and in good
relations with others. So, quietly blowing your own horn and wanting
to be right (and believing you are) seem to have very different impact
on others. Science hasn’t clarified these subtle aspects of social life
yet, but they will…and in the mean time, I’ll bet a skillful observer—or
an honest friend--could tell you whether your self-enhancing
comments are seen as positively or negatively by most others. 
What other self-help techniques could be used against feelings of
Level I (behavior): Do a behavioral analysis (method #9 in
chapter 11) to find out what initiates and reinforces the negative
thoughts or self-defeating behaviors or self-put-down comments. For
example, do you get attention? Do people rescue you? Do you avoid
difficult tasks? Do you upset anyone? Develop more positive, adequate
Level II (emotions): Since feelings of inadequacy become
associated with specific situations, just as fears do, we can break
those associations with desensitization. That is, we can become more
tolerant of our weaknesses (this may be our only choice if an actual
inadequacy can't be overcome, such as a speech defect). Or we could
simply face our weakness, if it is remedial, and compensate--make up
for--or over-compensate for it by becoming highly competent in our
weak areas or some other area. This may not require any special
skills, just lots of practice. 
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