A theory developed by sociologist Charles H. Cooley, who believes that what others think about us is heavily intertwined with how we view ourselves.

According to Cooley, the looking-glass self has three elements.

1. The imagination of our appearance to another person.
2. The imagination of how that person will judge our appearance.
3. The feeling we have towards ourselves as a result of the first two elements.

Together, these three elements prove that what we THINK others think about us will determine our self-conceptions.

For example. My Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament is over and I am eating at a beautiful restaraunt, eating a wonderful fancy dinner of spaghetti. (No meatballs, I'm vegetarian.) Suddenly, I notice my boyfriend across the room and stand up quickly, knocking my plate of spaghetti all over my crisp white blouse and pressed black skirt.

1. I step outside of myself for a second. See a slenderish girl, wispy black hair, looking bewildered due to the not-quite-bloodlike stuff splattered all over her shirt.

2. Who does she think she is? Why is she dressed that fancily, anyway. Why does she act like she's all grown-up when obviously she can't even keep her spaghetti on her plate? Ugly. Oh, by the way, ugly hair too. How disgusting. I pity her.

3. I jolt back inside myself and feel my cheeks redden. Because now I am disgusted, imagining people looking upon me with pity.

According to George Herbert Mead, "Individuals will conceive of themselves as they believe significant others conceive of them." (Judson R. Landis, 2001.) Sociology believes that the way others view us drives our viewpoints, emotions, actions.

Anyone want to reassure me by telling me they'll applaud and regard me with respectful awe next time they see me with food all over my clothes?

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