The Projection Factor; How Clearly Do You See Yourself in the Eyes of Others? Self-Perception vs Self-Definition
An Article by Don Neviaser
If during a variety of interactions the responses from others seem to be more negative than the messages you intended to convey, or if you sometimes feel others just don’t like you for some reason, perhaps it's time to consider the source. Is it possible your messages and actions are not being accurately received because of your delivery? Is there perhaps something in your emotional background adding a more debasing lean to your perceptions of how others see you, and if so, might you be reacting toward them in line with these false perceptions?
It can be difficult to plug into a variety of interactions when one’s true self and relative value are shrouded by self-doubt and uncertainty. When self-perceptions are rife with self-loathing and disappointment, it can be hard for some to imagine others may actually see them in a more positive light. With such an inclusive mindset, it is not uncommon to project these same negative perceptions onto the perceptions of others resulting in varying degrees of defensive posturing; the resulting unwarranted agitation is then picked up on and reacted to by others accordingly. Ironically, negative reactions to a reaction based on false pretenses tend to simply verify and justify one’s original negative interpretations that were projected onto others in the first place. Sadly, interactions such as these damage or destroy a variety of personal and professional relationships completely unnecessarily!
Regardless of why certain negative perceptions exist, ultimately they come down to a matter of perspective, and as such, can be affectively controlled or curtailed by countermeasures designed to shift focus, belief and perception. Ironically, particularly resilient negative perceptions are actually outstanding examples of how certain perspectives can affect and influence one’s life; a reality that can be equally utilized for life-views of a more positive nature! It would therefore make sense to counter them by incorporating the same recipe of assumption, attitude and perspective that brought them to life to begin with; powerful factors in how we see ourselves, our life and others.
It is helpful to honestly and openly attempt a realistic, relative view of how one fits into the world and affects others. Perhaps try taking a step back and seeing one’s self, and interactions with others, from an unbiased third party perspective to, if anything, help illuminate outward messaging such as body language. Ultimately, one must attempt to adhere and assimilate to one’s true self so as to think, feel and act from center with inner confidence and faith. An extremely effective way of doing this is to make a distinction between self-perception and self-definition. Self-perception is based more on an idea and can be impacted or defeated by habit, self-doubt or old negative messages. Self-definition, on the other hand, is a specific, definitive state of being in thought, feeling, action and reaction that draws from one’s true, unique inner-self and incorporates specific needs, desires, talents and abilities that allow one to rise above confining comfort zones and diminishing perspectives.
Start by taking a realistic personal inventory of your assets, whatever they may be, and don’t be afraid to honestly and openly ask those close to you for help. Once done, define and combine all these factors and create a visualization of this new you and the future you desire. Make specific notes that confirm, support and encourage this new mindset, including ample positive affirmations, and read them daily! Also take some time to genuinely consider this newly defined persona in a variety of personal or professional situations, the more uncomfortable the better, and imagine what his or her thoughts, feelings, reactions and end results would be; taking care not to think or react as who you are now, but as who you ultimately want to be.
The next step is to choose a day and time when you will stand up and make a definitive conscious decision to just “be” who you really are, with an eye on who you WILL be in the future! Believe that change is possible for you and that you are worthy of being happy and enjoying life! Then simply start thinking, feeling, acting and reacting in line with this persona. The power of perspective and a healthy appreciation for life can literally make all the difference between living and existing, happiness and despair or success and failure. The sooner this change of personal perspective begins, the sooner you can start walking your true life path in line with who you really are!
Below are several original quotes and perspectives that express some of these ideas. While reading them, let them drift through your mind and settle in your heart. As you see fit, apply them to the unique person that is you and to any relevant experiences or perceptions.
“Pride and self-respect are the forerunners of self-esteem. Neither is a given and
must be earned by positive and fulfilling actions that allow one to enjoy genuine
approbation and personal appreciation from within as well as from others.”
“Happiness isn’t a matter of who or what you are in the world,
it is a matter of who and what you are inside.”
"There will be times of great failure and disappointment in life, but with an open mind and an expanded perspective on the relative importance of each of these experiences, in relation to your life as a whole, each will be less of an excuse for accepting defeat and more of a catalyst for opportunity and personal growth through adaptability, change, new experience and maturity."
"Every ending is a beginning; a change that portends the start of
and different and an opportunity to make a fresh, new start.