I’ve been thinking about perception a lot lately.
Well, to be fair, it has been an obsession for the last 10 years. Perception, and specifically how you perceive yourself vs how others perceive you. Also, the difference that exists between the two – without you even really being aware of it! And what you think others think of you, based on how you see yourself, and how this perceived perception by others affects your own self-perception. Perception-inception *magical finger twinkle*
I know myself pretty well (learning more every day – like true-grit, growing up shit), therefore I know that I am a total dropkick, pretty uncoordinated, susceptible to making bad calls, over-thinking things and generally being a bit of a noob. I automatically assume that the world can see these not-so-great parts of me plastered all over my face as I carry on with my day. Side note: I probably do have some redeeming attributes, such as: generally good intentions, a knack with words and layouts, a lot of empathy and a tendency to say almost exactly what I think (not sure if this last one is a good or bad thing).
I feel like the constant babble that goes on in my mind is broadcast out to the world silently and that people look at me and see my flaws and my bullshit as easily as I do. To be fair, I am pretty open with rambling dialogues that don’t leave much to the imagination, so chances are that if you are in my general vicinity for any period of time, you are in direct line of my verbalizing all of that. Lucky you.
Anyway, I assume that the way that I perceive myself is probably pretty close to the way that other people see me. But here’s the thing: most people see their own construct of you.
This construct can be worlds away from what you know of yourself. The trouble then comes when you (over thinking here probably), assume that they know, as you know, how much of a dropkick you (think you) are. This whole idea can totally feed your own (potentially unwarranted) insecurities and actually cause you to act like even more of a dropkick than you really are — because you start making yourself uncomfortable thinking about what they must think of you.
But when you don’t know someone, you make assumptions about them based on factors often outside of their control and largely dictated by your own experiences. Factors that influence this perception are super interesting to me. Everything from race, to age, to what you wear, to how you fit into society’s beauty standards, to what someone might have been told about you, or what they might have assumed about you based on any of the above.
All of these things combined with how you present yourself to the world (ie: spoken language and even body language), make up this caricature of what someone else thinks you are. And often this can be completely removed from reality.
The key takeaway from all of this, which has been an interesting realization over the last year and which I find quite comforting, is that: often, we assume everyone else is better off than us. That they are cooler, smarter, more in tune with the universe, better in their jobs, better in bed, better at life… It’s really easy to think that everyone else has their shit together more than you do.
But don’t worry friends! The reality is that: generally, they don’t. And most likely, they think that you do.
Image via tumblr.com.
If you liked this story, read more like it on A Girl In Progress:
Why Gratitude Needs To Be More Than Just #Blessed
How To Stop Overthinking And Start Doing
Your Thoughts Create Your Reality — Here’s How To Consciously Choose Them