"An intriguing exploration that cuts through the shallows of self-theory and brings us to a deeper and more satisfying understanding of self-development. Dr. Cottle brings the theory to life with rich narratives that are crafted with the skill of a short story writer."
In Beyond Self Esteem, Thomas J. Cottle argues that America's preoccupation with notions of self-esteem and self-regard not only does not reflect the fundamental nature of the self, but leads to selfish behavior and an inability to devote one's self to friendships. The self, Cottle writes, is predicated on social relationships, and, more specifically, on the affirmation each of us offers to the other, as well as the degree of responsibility we find ourselves willing to take for one another. It is Cottle's contention, reinforced by his theoretical positions and by the narrative accounts of children and adults alike, that affirmation of and the assumption of responsibility for other people remain the most ethical human actions.
Marvin Lipsey characterizes himself as a man perfectly uncomfortable with all the balance he achieves between his private and public selves. "It's all too difficult to describe," he insists. Suffice it to say, he is gregarious and expansive, yet able to keep a great many of his accomplishments and dreams to himself. He loves talking, but after a couple of hours conversing with him, one learns little of the truly wondrous things he does for other people. In fact, the more I think of it, Marvin could have helped me write these words a little if only he weren't so opposed to bragging. [continue]