If you were to take a moment to describe yourself to me, what words would you use?
- Would you speak of yourself with love?
- Lead with your strengths or weaknesses?
- Find it difficult to say anything good about yourself at all?
- (or the opposite) Highlight only the things you want others to see to cover the shame hiding under the brags.
Whatever the case may be, how we talk about ourselves to others holds a lot of clues to how we feel about ourselves. As in one of the examples above, even the person that goes on about how great they are may be unconsciously indicating they actually see themselves as insignificant.
How do you see yourself? It’s a good idea to reflect on this for a moment because as we learn from Cognitive-Behavioral principles, perception is connected to behavior.
What you believe and how you perceive has a lot to do with how you behave. So if there are any patterns of behavior that you would like to improve, a good place to start is the exploration of how it is linked to what you believe about you.
For instance, if I get nervous every time I know I’m going to have to meet new people, I could reflect on how this relates to some way I feel/think about myself.
Maybe I already have the beliefs, “I’m not good with people. I’m too different to fit in. I’m not as cool as others. I don’t have smart things to say…” Or fill in the blank with any other negative belief a person can have about themselves.
If you carry those thoughts and feelings into that social environment, think of the ways it will affect your behavior!
Here’s the great news: IT WORKS BOTH WAYS! If you IMPROVE YOUR SELF-PERCEPTION, your behavior can also improve.
Imagine going into that same social scene but now you’re a person with these core beliefs:
- I Am Confident
- I Can Go with the Flow
- I Like Who I Am
- People will like me once they get to know me, and if they don’t, that’s okay too!
- I embrace my quirks and imperfections
- I Am Enough
The scope of life changes when seeing yourself through that lens. You won’t have to think about how to behave differently. The changes in your behavior will flow from the shift of your perception.
PERSONAL REFLECTION & JOURNAL OPPORTUNITY
1. How do you see yourself and how do you think it relates to how you currently feel and behave?
2. How long have you had your current self-perceptions and where did they originate?
3. Are there any outdated self-perceptions that are no longer working with your current life systems that need to be upgraded? If so, what upgrades can you start making today?