28 Jun Reevaluating Self-evaluation
As humans, we are constantly engaging in self-evaluation. We assess all areas of our existence, from our appearance, to personality, behavior, performance in school, performance in jobs, and in relationships.
On one hand, self-evaluation is extremely valuable. It helps us, as individuals, understand who we are, which allows us to develop self-awareness. By definition, self-awareness is the “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires.” It is truly objective self-awareness that facilitates evaluation based on personal values and standards and consequently the opportunity for positive and self-fulfilling change.
Conversely, self-evaluation can also be detrimental. When self-evaluation is based on more external measures, it can lead to insecurities and self-doubt, engaging in behavior with likelihood of more negative consequences and ultimately driving us further from achieving self-satisfaction.
When put so simply, it sounds like acquiring self-awareness should be easy. Unfortunately, amongst an ongoing list, things like social media, societal norms, publicly displayed expectations by others on both macro and micro levels and our innate competitive nature as humans, often get in the way.
So, the question is what can we do about this? When you recognize self-judgement, here are some questions to ask yourself to assess where these judgements are coming from and determine how these judgements should inform opinions and feelings towards yourself.
What are my core values and does my evaluation align with these values?
Example: I find myself feeling bad about myself because I’m not friends with the “popular” girl at school. I’ve heard she’s kind of mean and I’ve heard her say bad things about her friends but it still makes me feel badly about myself that she doesn’t want to be friends with me.
Value check: I value kindness and loyalty in friendships.
Conclusion: Being friends with her would not align with this value.
Is my evaluation of self based on comparing myself to others?
Example: I feel insecure about my body because it does not look like the woman on that magazine cover.
Conclusion: Just because I do not look the same as that person, does not mean there is something wrong with how I look.
When evaluating myself, am I evaluating based on my own expectations or the expectations of others? What are my individual goals? What do I want to achieve? What does success mean to me?
Example: I am feeling ashamed and inadequate that I am so miserable at my job and thinking of switching careers.
Expectations: My father always wanted me to be a lawyer like he is. I think I could be happier and more successful doing something else even if I won’t make as much money.
Conclusions: Shame and inadequacy is based on someone else’s expectations and idea of success.
While it is crucial to look inwards, we can so often be our own worst critic. Using these questions above to do a check-in on your self- assessments, will hopefully help guide you towards a more positive and genuine understanding of self.
Authored by: Jessica Oppenheimer, LCSW