Self-Criticism and Self-Enhancement: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications
In recent years we have witnessed a proliferation of writing on "positive psychology" that focuses on variables such as optimism, personal control, self-esteem, and personal striving. At the same time, much of recent pop psychology has emphasized the importance of overcoming different forms of self-criticism, including poor self-esteem and perfectionism. These positive or negative variables clearly influence the quality of our lives. But is self-criticism always a bad thing, and is self-enhancement really so unequivocally good? What are the costs and benefits associated with each?
In Self-Criticism and Self-Enhancement: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications, editor Edward C. Chang has enlisted over 25 distinguished psychologists and scholars who present the pros and cons of regarding self-criticism or self-enhancement as either "good" or "bad." Collectively, they illustrate the benefits of evaluating these concepts more complexly to demonstrate how negative and positive psychological variables may function as a virtue in one situation and as a vice in another situation. Drawing on the works of both philosophers and researchers, the contributors search for a deeper and broader understanding of these fundamental psychological concepts, and they evaluate their effect on individuals and the larger society.