Archive for category Blog Entry 2

Culture by Catherine Dodart

I would define culture as the beliefs, behaviors, and traditions set up by a certain group and shared from each generation.

Everyone comes from a different background and culture whether its a family culture, or culture based on where your from. I think when we are given the chance to experience someone elses culture we begin to be able to understand them on a better level. I once heard a quote that was something like, “You don’t know where someone is going, until you know where they’ve been.” I think this is a good example of why its important to understand somebody on a cultural level.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend BYU Hawaii for 6 months and the culture of it all was extremely different. I was attending school with people not only from America, but all over Europe, Asia, and some pacific islands. While there I lived in a dorm with a girl from Tonga and I was able to learn more about her culture, which was very different from my own. in our dorm we had a phone and this phone would ring at all hours of the night…While your trying to sleep this gets a little frustrating because not only would she answer it, but she would have a full on conversation at 4 in the morning sometimes. At first I let this go on for awhile because I didn’t want to seem rude, but after some time I finally mentioned to some other friends that my roommate talks and talks on the phone during the night. One of my good friends had taken a Tongan speaking class and in it she learned that not only was it rude to not answer your phone but it was very impolite if you did not have at least part of a conversation with the person who answered. I then began to understand that my roommate and I came from very different cultures and I would need to learn to just go with the flow. At one point tho when she was asleep I would unplug the phone line…needless to say I started sleeping better!

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Unrealistic Optimism: We Can’t all Survive-Ian Hawkes

Though optimism is normally a positive thing, optimism can sometimes hinder us when it becomes unrealistic. Studies show that the majority of mankind is optimistic about future events. This means, however, that while we may assume that those around us may fall ill, get in car accidents, or be on the bad side of a deal, we often never assume that it will happen to us. This unrealistic optimism is often infused in us by our parents, who believe that we, more than others, will be successful.

The problem with unrealistic optimism is that it increases our vulnerability. We may not believe that risky actions can lead to serious repercussions, and unwisely the overly optimistic may place themselves in situations where they are doomed to fail.

This video, though comic in nature, represents a form of unrealistic optimism. Though the singer believes that no matter what happens she will be able to move on, she is not recognizing the chance that something unfortunate may befall her at any moment.

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“My Self-Esteem Dilemma” by Samuel Ramos (Post 2)

The term self-esteem is defined as our perception of the self. In other words, it is how we evaluate ourselves and perceive our self-worth. It is different for the concept of self-efficacy, which focuses instead in our perception of self-competence, or what we are capable of doing in specific circumstances. An important question to consider is if we look at our self-worth based on what others think about us? Or we believe that our self-worth will reflect what others think of us?

In my experience I’ve seen it happen to me pretty often. My wife is the one who brings this to my attention by means of sarcasm. She will imitate me when I ask her if how feels about her looks in a certain day, and she would say: “I look awful of course” Then she smiles cynically and lets me know this is exactly how I react every time I’m given the opportunity to rate myself. Although I don’t like how she points out this issue, I admit that after she is done that a few times I’ve become more aware of my low self-esteem tendencies. I do think I’m the least loved of my siblings by my parents. I think less of me when I compare myself to each member of my family. That also reflects on my self-efficacy, meaning I can’t imagine being capable of performing job tasks with competence and efficiency.
I have theories on how and where it started, but I prefer to comment that I’ve sensed an environmental influence in my perceiving of the self through social comparison. Because all my friends who are important in my social circle tell me so, I started to notice certain patterns that made me believe to a certain extent that I’m indeed not the favorite child in the family. Then I compare my friend’s relationship with their families to use as a base. In the other hand, with enough life experience I can also tell I’m miles apart from being a true competent professional at work. Therefore, if someone complements me at work I won’t probably believe I deserve that compliment; rather I think my supervisor is just being nice.
Despite of all of this, I’m still a very willing and happy person. I’ve learned to cope and increase my awareness of this issue. Finally, by being patient with others and me I believe I will eventually see the world differently.

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“General Conference on Building Self-esteem and Self-efficacy” by Ryan Turner

Self-esteem is how confident one feels about his self and future.  It describes who a person is.  Self-efficacy is how confident one feels about his capabilities or talents.  It describes what one does.  Myers, in Social Psychology, suggests that “if you want to encourage someone, focus on their self-efficacy, not their self-esteem.”  I believe that this is an important aspect of the development of people’s wellbeing.  Although we should give people specific compliments when they perform tasks well (“You beat the school record on that run!”), I argue that we should also recognize and compliment people’s ontology (“You really are a hard worker when you run.”).  Who people are is more important than what they do.  When someone does a poor job at shooting a basketball, for example, we should not associate their performance with their self-identity. Instead, we should give people credit for their good performances (self-efficacy) while recognizing that what they do does not determine the status of their internal character or desires of their heart (self-esteem).

These principles of self-esteem and self-efficacy are found in our everyday lives.  For example, in his April 2011 conference address of the LDS Church, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the quorum of the seventy touches on two types of human qualities – to be and to do – which I refer to as self-esteem and self-efficacy, respectively.  He proposes that when a child comes home with good test results in his hand, a wise parent should compliment his or her child’s self-efficacy by saying, “You did a great job!  Way to go!”  However, Elder Robbins recommends that a wiser parent commend both the self-efficacy and the self-esteem of the child.  For example, the parent could say something like, “Congratulations on doing so well on your test (self-efficacy)!  I’m so proud of you because you always try your very best in school (self-esteem).”  The do and the be are essential components of people’s lives and can be encouraged and enhanced by others’ verbal statements towards them.

Therefore, the words that we employ towards others can have a great influence on both their self-identity and future actions.  While self-esteem describes how confident people feel about themselves and their opportunities for success in the future, self-efficacy explains how confident people feel about their capabilities.  It is important that the comments we direct towards others’ behavior is not mistaken for their identity.  The degree to which people’s self-esteem and self-efficacy are built – in great part through the words of others – will greatly influence their level of happiness or depression in their lives to come.

“Elder Lynn G. Robbins – What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be” 7:49-8:48:

In helping children discover who they are and helping strengthen their self-worth, we can appropriately compliment their achievement or behavior—the do. But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.  

In a game of sports, a wise way to compliment our children’s performance—do—would be through the point of view of be—like their energy, perseverance, poise in the face of adversity, etc.—thus complimenting both be and do.  

“When we ask children to do chores, we can also look for ways to compliment them on being, such as, “It makes me so happy when you do your chores with a willing heart.”  When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.””

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Being brown at BYU -Janel Glidden

The spotlight effect is a self absorbed idea.  We think that we are being noticed much more than we actually are.

In class, we included feeling self-conscious in the spotlight effect.

Immediately I thought of the spotlight effect that I feel happens most often for me here are BYU. Being half Filipino and half white, I have my mother’s dark hair and tan skin.  Anytime a professor mentions minority groups I automatically feel like everyone turns and looks at me.  Although this is probably not the case, I can’t help but thinking the professor is directly referring to me and everyone in the class is associating the anecdote with me.  (Lesson about Rosa Parks.  In my mind, everyone is picturing Janel Glidden sitting down in the front of the bus.)

Another example of the spotlight effect happens in a casual setting.  If I am talking to a friend about someone else (not necessarily bad) I am super cautious to talk quietly.  I am paranoid of someone else listening into the conversation.  My friends call me paranoid.  They are probably right.  I am careful to keep the conversation private.  In my mind, others are trying to listen (for whatever reason).  If I think someone is listening in I get super embarrased and tell my friend I will tell them later because someone is listening.  I am self conscious about what they might of heard and I sit there and worry about it.  In reality, they probably have no idea that I am even there.

I do this all the time.  Writing it out and reading it…it sounds ridiculous.

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Basking in Reflected Glory -Ashley Chambers

There are behavioral aspects of the self that are executed in a manner to defend, preserve, and enhance our positive self view. One of these behavioral strategies is basking in reflected glory. This behavioral strategy relates to how we identify and associate ourselves with relevant groups. People tend to leech on to groups that are doing successfully (and thus claiming some success for themselves) and tend to distance themselves from failing groups (to avoid attachment to that failure.

My personal encounter with this subject is largely my experience in my family growing up. Each of my siblings exemplify high achievement in different areas, partially to gain attention from our parents. My mother and father had a tendency to utilize the ‘basking in reflected glory’ strategy with their children–highlighting, focusing, and bragging about achievements and ignoring if failing or even just not succeeding. They would highly associate themselves with a child if she was particularly succeeding at the time (focusing in on how their parenting led to that success). But, in moments of failure or below average performance, they would distance themselves from that sibling and voice their dislike for her ‘independence’ or ‘stubbornness’. I am sure all parents do this to some degree, but there was a particularly strong presence of this behavioral strategy in my home growing up.

My parents association/distancing strategies with succeeding/failing children is a clear illustration of the ‘basking in reflected glory’ concept. Their defensive strategy preserved their positive views of both themselves alone and their roles as parents. Thus they enhanced and defended their self concepts. By separating oneself from failure of a child, a parent can attribute blame to that child. But when the child succeeds, they will be more likely to leech onto that success and partially attribute it to themselves.

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BIRGERS. No, not Burgers. Amy Jennings

Some people just have to be surrounded by the rich and the famous. They do almost nothing to contribute to any particular task but are quick to take the recognition for it. They’re the name droppers, the social climbers, they are those that bask in reflected glory, or, well, the Birgers.

Here’s my clip. For the Harry Potter fans out there, this is Slughorn’s dinner party:

Slughorn is the ultimate Birger. He really has very little that he has accomplished in his life besides acquainting himself with the rich, the famous, and the inventive minds of the day.

Basking in reflected glory is really just a defense mechanism. When you can simply hide behind others’ successes, you never need to actually do anything on your own.These people tend to base their entire self worth on their perceived image. It’s not about What you know, but about Who you know.

Amy Jennings

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