How I see myself vs. how others perceive me has always been a topic of interest. I love to have people tell me their first impressions of me later on in a friendship. Most often it goes something like “you seemed really intense,” “you were very no-nonsense,” “I thought you were angry.” Occasionally people see through my guise, usually not though. It’s been there for a while.
Sometimes people develop an opinion of you that is completely wrong. When the person who holds that opinion is important to us this can be devastating, and it can even cause us to doubt our view of ourselves. The saying “after the third time you’re called a horse, it might be time to buy a saddle,” comes to mind.
What do we do when that view of us is not just wrong, but destructive? This can affect how the mistaken person treats us, how others begin to see us, and how we perceive and even treat ourselves.
My initial thought as I write this is “I’m not sure.” If you correct said person they will cling to their view further. If you change how you act then in a way, you have accepted it. I think a good first step is to reaffirm how you perceive yourself.
How do I view me?
- I am passionate
- I am ethical
- I am stubborn (sometimes to a fault)
- I am quick to anger, but also quick to apologize
- I am intelligent
- I am protective
- I am kind
- I have been prone to jealousy
- I love infrequently, but intensely
- I am strong
- I am brave
- I am proud
- I am silly
- I am attractive
I do not always remember all of the above.
If you are going through a tough time, especially if you are doubting yourself like I am right now, try this exercise with me. Be honest but have self compassion (not self pity).
Lets repeat these to ourselves regularly and see if things change.
With love –