Have you ever wondered how other people really feel about you? If one of your friends, business acquaintances, or family members were to be completely honest about the way they view you, what do you think their perception of you would be?
The reason I bring this up is that many people are inclined to see themselves very differently than others see them. It is a natural tendency to just assume that the perception of others is similar to our own. But in reality this is seldom the case because we all see life through our own unique emotional filters.
It can be very enlightening to step back and try to analyze yourself from a “third person” perspective. Here are seven important areas of your life that are worth trying to look at from the viewpoint of a friend or acquaintance to see if their perception is aligned with yours. Let’s walk through them one at a time.
1. Emotionally: The quality of all your relationships, including friends, family, and business associates, is directly affected by the perception those people have of you. You may consider yourself to be kind and considerate, but do others feel that way about you?
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
* Are the people I interact with emotionally empowered after being around me, or are they left with a different feeling?
* Do others look forward to spending time in my company, or do they try to politely avoid it whenever possible?
* Do I enjoy being around people who treat me the same way I treat others?
If you feel comfortable with your own answers to these 3 questions, here’s a way to take it to the next level. You can find someone that you know will be honest and tactful with you, and ask them to answer those questions about you. This takes courage, but if you are ready for it, the answers can be extremely revealing.
Remember, the point here is to see if your self perception matches the perception of others. So, don’t be a offended if you discover a mismatch.
2. Values: Do your actions, habits, conduct and language all support whatever values are most important to you? Can other people look at your life and say that your values and beliefs are evident by your conduct? Do they see you as a good example to others who share those values?
When we truly believe something, it should be visible in our life. The way we live our life is how we back up our claim of being an ethical person. Taking some time to make a comparison between what we claim to be, and the perception others have of us, can also be very revealing (and humbling) experience.
3. Physically: First, let me acknowledge that staying in shape is challenging for everyone, and the older we get the greater the challenge. That said, ask yourself this: “What kind of message does my current physical appearance send to others about the value I place on my physical self?” Notice I didn’t get into an issue over a few extra pounds, or any other specifics.
The question is about the overall message your general condition sends regarding your respect for your own health and appearance. It’s about the perception of how you present yourself. Is your perception in this area aligned with the perception that others have of you?
4. Materially: If asked, what would others say about your attitude toward money and material things? Are your views and priorities balanced? Is money more or less important than the people in your life? How much money would be enough for you to feel comfortable?
Again, this is not about your financial goals, or what kind of house you want to live in. The question is about what perception others have of you with regard to your level of materialism and your priorities in life.
5. Reasonableness: When you have a conversation with someone, are they left with the feeling that you are a reasonable person? If you don’t get your way, is your reaction balanced? Even if others are not on your side of an issue, do they admit that your reasoning was sound and convincing?
There are more than enough unreasonable people in the world Our self perception might be that we represent the voice of reason, but is that how others view us?
6. Intellectually: This is not about IQ or credentials, but rather an appreciation for continued learning. Do others see you as someone who appreciates learning new things and making personal improvements? Do you demonstrate a respect for greater knowledge in a variety of fields?
Learning gives new meaning to our lives and equips us to help others along the way. My perception in this area is that I am an avid student of life, but is that what others think? Feel free to share your impression on this.
7. Practicality: Do others view you as someone who has been able to see the practical value in the six points listed above? To function in this life we need to learn to make practical application of all our life skills, abilities, and resources. Do you consider yourself to be practical? Do others share this perception of you?
Being practical and down to earth is a quality that makes everything more real. Practicality is the glue that will hold your life together through all its many ups and downs. Practical wisdom is real wisdom.
Why should we care about the perception of others?
I challenge you to think seriously about how others view you in each of these areas. If you are not happy with some of the conclusions you come to, then you know what to work on. Don’t be discouraged if that’s the case. If we are willing to be honest with ourselves then we quickly realize that we all have things to work on. That is how we continue to make progress.
Now, here is a question you may be asking yourself: Why should I care so much about the perception of those around me? To be honest with you, that’s really not the point of this exercise at all.
This whole exercise is just to help you gain a different perception of you
If you want others to view you as likable, friendly, approachable, respectable, and so on, then it’s helpful to try and see yourself through their filters. It will give you a lot of insight into the perception others have of you and why. That insight can help you to be more real and balanced with regard to your perception of self. So, in the final analysis, don’t do it for them, do it for you!
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