Most people would agree that “what matters most is how you see yourself” but I might argue that what matters most is how you think others see yourself. One way people try to control what others think of themselves is by self-monitoring.
Self-monitoring is when a person is aware of the social contexts that they are in and attempts to control the way others perceive them by presenting themselves in certain ways and adjusting their behaviors to match the social environment.
I am a high self-monitoring person. This means that I tend to change (or adjust) my actions by the people and situations that surround me.
One example from my life happens to be in high school. I was older for my grade and so I was one of the first to get my license. So, of course, this meant I was responsible for driving my friends around. I was voted “most involved” in my high school because I was involved in all sorts of clubs and activities. I was in student council, cheerleading, choir, theater, and a handful of clubs. Depending on what activities and friends I would have in my car I would change my music. With my cheerleading friends I would listen to pop music, with my theater friends I would listen to musicals, with my student council friends I would listen to “trendy” or alternative music, and with my church friends I would listen to country, and so on…
I would change the music I listened to in the car based on who ever was in the car with me. I did this to try to manage the image that they perceived of me. I wanted to fit in with whatever group was around me. I wanted to ‘look good’ with that group. I personally really enjoy listening to conference talks and church music when I am alone in the car. But I never wanted to seem ‘too churchy’ or like I was trying to be a Molly Mormon, so I would only listen to my church music alone. This is an example of one of the ways I would be self-monitoring. I would change my behavior based on what group of friends I was with. In conclusion, I cared more about how others viewed myself then I did about being true to my identity (are who I thought I was) because I changed who I was (or at least my preference of music) dependent to who I was around. So far me, it was more important to monitor what others thought of me then to listen to my nerdy church music.