Chapter

Bringing Out the Best in the Self

Mark R. Leary

in The Curse of the Self

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172423
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786756 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172423.003.0009
 Bringing Out the Best in the Self

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Having examined the many ways in which the ability to self-reflect can work against people's happiness and best interests, the book concludes with a discussion of ways in which readers can protect themselves against the curse of the self. Remembering the source of the problem — that we are living in the 21st century with a brain (and a capacity for self-awareness) designed for nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived 60,000 years ago — the chapter discusses ways of avoiding the dark side of the self. Because many of the problems discussed in the book arise from the self's incessant inner chatter, people can learn ways to quiet the self (through meditation, for example), and thus lower its intrusion in their lives. Furthermore, armed with the insights of the previous chapters, they can use the self's own ability to override its natural inclinations toward egocentrism, selfishness, egotism, and egodefensiveness. Perhaps most importantly, people can move beyond their narrow, egoistic views to a mode of self-operation that enhances rather than compromises their personal well-being as well as the well-being of other people and the world at large.

Keywords: self-awareness; meditation; ego-centrism; selfishness; ego-defensiveness; egotism

Chapter.  5806 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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