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13 - Hierarchicality and Problems in Living

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Charles S. Carver
Affiliation:
University of Miami
Michael F. Scheier
Affiliation:
Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
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Summary

The secret of juggling is inner harmony and knowing how to let go.

(Robert Fulghum, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives)

The last chapter described several potential contributors to people's problems which seem to be implied by the self-regulatory model presented earlier in the book. The issues we addressed there were relatively straightforward. In this chapter we continue to consider problems, but we turn to issues that are more complex. In one fashion or another, these issues all relate to the notion of hierarchicality.

LINKS BETWEEN CONCRETE GOALS AND THE CORE VALUES OF THE SELF

Several potential problems stem directly from the idea that there are hierarchical links between action goals and the core principles and values that make up the self.

Hierarchicality as an Impediment to Disengagement

One of these problems concerns the expression of the disengagement impulse. In Chapter 12 we described difficulties in which doubt causes a person to experience an impulse to disengage from some goal but the person can't do so. We managed to avoid saying much there about why people are sometimes unable to give up. The test-anxious person remains committed to passing the exam, the socially anxious person remains committed to making a good impression, the mourning spouse remains committed to the lost relationship. Why can it be so hard to give up?

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1998

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