June 18, 2024
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Revitalizing Your Self-Evaluation System

We all have ways of judging or evaluating ourselves. Unless you have engaged in a structured self-evaluation activity (usually initiated in therapy) it is typical and understandable that you may not be fully aware of your unique system for evaluating yourself.

The global pandemic has made self-evaluation an important topic. Since our lives have changed drastically, our system for evaluating ourselves may need to adapt. Hopefully, you will fashion a new system that you feel more satisfied with and stick with after this pandemic subsides.

How do you begin unlocking your method for self-evaluating?

The strategy involves creating a self-evaluation pie chart. First, identify areas that are important to you in life. Common areas include relationships, work, faith, pastimes, physical health etc. The next task is to rank these different areas in terms of importance. This is no easy feat, though it usually helps to think about how you would feel if these areas in your life did not go well. For example, if you are not currently able to spend time with some of your family members or friends, how would you judge yourself in terms of those relationships? Generally, the worse you feel, the more emphasis you place on this area, and the larger this slice of the pie should be. After you complete your chart, it would be wise for you to ensure the chart is an accurate reflection of your true self-evaluation system. Take a week and look at the pie chart; at the end of each day assess whether the slices of the pie you identified are the sizes they are in reality.

Is social distancing impacting your self-evaluation system?

At the end of the week you will be ready to determine the impact of the global pandemic on your self-reflection. For most of us, social distancing is definitely impacting our system. For example, if you have been furloughed or are reluctantly working reduced hours, your work slice may have taken a hit. If faith consumes a large chunk of your pie, then not being able to attend shul and daven with a minyan may be impacting your system. If sports consumes an area of your pie, and your favorite pastime of club soccer is no longer available, this may be impacting your system. If you are no longer able to attend your Zumba classes or engage in your regimented exercise routine at the gym, your self-evaluation of your physical health may have taken a hit.

What do you do if your self-evaluation system does not fit in with pandemic-like conditions?

First, take another look at your pie chart. If you see some slices from your pie being impacted by social distancing, it may be time to reevaluate your system. Think about adding in some new slices that are more conducive to social-distancing conditions. You can make your pie more balanced and interesting! If you originally had a plain pie consisting of sauce and cheese, it may be time to think about adding some toppings, or increase the number of your current toppings. Add more mushroom and onion, or add some garlic powder or red pepper flakes into the mix. I recently added my writing topping into the mix and am feeling more satisfied with my new flavorful pie.

Is one slice consuming a large portion (over 40%) of your pie?

I would also like to discuss an issue about the pie that may be unrelated to the impact of social distancing. If one slice is consuming a large portion of your pie, you may be putting too many eggs in one basket and may need to determine if other areas for self-evaluation should be added into the mix. Economists would say you need to diversify your portfolio of activities. Mental health professionals would say it is risky to have one really large slice because if you don’t do well in that area, your self-esteem may take a pretty big beating. Also, after normal life resumes you should evaluate the chart again, as social distancing may have impacted the sizes of the slices, or the slices themselves.

I hope to shed some light in this darkness, as I also tried doing in my last article (“Enhancing Relationships Amidst Social Distancing,” April 23, 2020). I hope this self-reflection activity helps you wind up with a more delicious pie than you started out with!


Samantha Schulman, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist specializing in both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and practices in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Email [email protected].

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