Self-downing is when you hold beliefs like “I have to be the best, the top dog, and the standard I use to judge this is how well I perform.” When you hold this type of belief you may very well put yourself down when you perform poorly and are not the best. You reason “Because I am not the best therefore I am a second rate person.” This is self-downing and you will feel depressed, shameful, anxious etc. when you are not the top dog who does the best. You may suffer from unhealthy envy when you are clearly not as skilled, talented or blessed as another person.
Self-upping is when you hold the same belief but observe that you are doing the best in your reference group. Self-upping comes from reasoning “Because I am the best, the top dog therefore I am great, wonderful, superhuman.” This type of belief system can lead to feelings of grandiosity. You may then display distasteful interpersonal behavior when you communicate to others that you believe you are a superior person. You may very well seed interpersonal difficulty by communicating such a message and then go on to encounter long term difficulties in the social world. You also may experience some anxiety because you have to keep being the best or else you go from being superior to inferior. You are likely to live your life to prove yourself rather than to enjoy yourself.
REBT advocates eliminating self-rating and only rating your performances, characteristics, and decisions in the context of your personal goals. You may very well perform well but unfortunately that does not necessarily and logically make you superior as a person. Because all standards of worth are arbitrary your special skills are advantageous but not grounds for establishing superiority as a person. Even with your special characteristics and skills and the wonderful performances that flow from those characteristics and skills, you remain a fallible human who is too complex to rate as a person. REBT encourages you to develop emotional health and resiliency for those times when you will inevitably error by eliminating self-rating. By eliminating self-rating you will both avoid self-downing and self-upping. When you stop the self-rating game you will be in a better emotional position to live your life to enjoy yourself rather than to prove yourself. You will live your life not to prove, establish or maintain your personal worth but instead to enjoy yourself doing those things that bring you genuine pleasure. Think about it.