A great challenge in life is to see ourselves as we really are. It’s one of those twisted tricks the universe plays on us! Our image of ourselves has been carefully pieced together from what we can see in the mirror (though often with blinders), from what we’ve learned about ourself through personal experiences, and by internalizing the judgments of others. The self-image is powerful beyond imagination, for it determines what we become. Our actions, feelings and behaviors are all the result of the image we have of ourselves. This is why if you can change the self-image, you change the personality and the behavior. Easier said than done. The self-image is heavily guarded and not relinquished without a fight.
This leads to the discrepancy that can exist between how one sees him- or herself and how others see them. It has been said that if we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot. How very true—for to see ourselves as others see us can be a real eye-opening experience.
Often in close relationships the gaps are painfully exposed. “I’m flexible!” declares a woman—the man laughingly responds, “You gotta be joking—it’s my way or the highway with you!” Not all gaps have an “ouch” factor—sometimes they carry a “wow,” like when someone sees something special about us that we had not seen. It’s very easy for us to fall into a false sense of self—whether it’s an inflated or a deflated sense.
We all like to think of ourselves as being trustworthy, honorable, generous, kind, compassionate, loving human beings. And, of course, smart, witty and charming, too. However, if we look at ourselves through rose-colored mirrors how can we be sure that we are all that we think we are? A good start is the question, what do you believe people think about you? A good ending is to ask a trusted friend.