This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 13 table of contents.


Adler proposed a unique way to get a glimpse of your true feelings about yourself. He called it unconscious auto-estimation. Auto means self so the phrase means unconscious self rating. It occurs when you encounter an image of yourself, or a product you have created, without realizing it is yours, and you react with an evaluation.

What is autoestimation and how was it supposed to be revealing?

For example, you may be walking through a department store with lots of mirrors, and you suddenly catch a glimpse of your own image. For a second you think it is somebody else. Then you realize it is yourself. In the split second before you realize it is yourself, you may have an emotional reaction to the image (positive or negative or a complicated mix) that Adler thought would reveal how you really felt about yourself.

The same thing could happen if you came upon a paper you wrote years ago and read it without realizing it was your product, or if you saw your own handwriting upside down. You might have categorized it as neat and pretty, or sloppy and stupid looking, before realizing it was your own. Adler felt such quick emotional reactions to one's own products could reveal one's true feelings about oneself.

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