[Previously on TTC: One of my favorite approaches on the subject matter is the notion of the Looking Glass Self, a theory developed by Charles Horton Cooley, a social psychologist of the University of Michigan.]
My preference for the Looking Glass theory stems from my own observations of people and my social psychology training. As an undergrad, I learned to observe what others did. Much as it revealed to me a host of previously hidden aspects and qualities about people and the world in general, this perspective also revealed to me the power of observation per se.
Put simply, I realized that my perception of other people gave me the extraordinary ability to affect their behavior. The way I saw them determined the way they reacted to me.
In fact, if my presence in their life were central enough, I had the potential to forever change their general behavior, whether in person or in absentia.
By the same token, I realized that others’ observation of me had a similar effect on me. They had incredible power over my demeanor and countenance by simply laying eyes on me and processing me in their heads and sharing their opinions and impressions about me with others, or even with your truly.
Summed up, we all have this power. People determine other people’s lives by observing them. We’re all in this together, shaping each other’s lives by interacting and forming opinions, memories and ideas, both consciously and unconsciously, to each our own and all together.
Watch this space for Part 9