Cooley’s concept of the looking glass self is one explanation of how we construct our self-identity. The idea suggests that our notion of the self comes from the way other people observe us, and the way they respond to us based on this observation (our social interactions).
For example, if a person believes themselves to be a really interesting teacher, but in the middle of a lecture they notice half our students are asleep, and the other half are on their phones, they may have to re-evaluate their perception of self – or in this case, their teaching ability. Because of this, the looking glass theory is suggesting that our self-concept comes from contemplation of our own personal qualities and the way others perceive and respond to us.
Rcragun. (2009). The Looking Glass Self. Source: Wikipedia, Accessed 18th Dec, 2018 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_looking_glass_self.png