Sunday, 28 December 2008

How We Perceive Ourselves

Each time we look in a mirror, we choose the lens through which we view ourselves. We choose which aspects of ourselves - of our bodies and of our beings - we focus our attention on. Sometimes we take in our whole figure, or more often, we see ourselves as a collection of individual parts, some of which we classify as "good" and others as "bad." We compare ourselves to our peers and to an ideal image we hold in our mind. We wonder if others see us the same way we see ourselves, if they make the same classifications and hold the same judgments.

A young child looks at the world through fresh eyes, seeing, taking it all in, but not judging. As we grow and learn about our world, we develop our own associations. We absorb the notions of beauty held by the culture in which we are raised and we internalise the remarks of parents, friends, and even strangers. All of these elements colour our view of ourselves.

Others view us through the filter of their own experiences. They bring their own associations to bear on what they see, but they also pick up the images each of us projects outward. Those little mental snapshots we take when we look at ourselves in the mirror become part of our energy field and part of our self-definition. Interestingly, we can change others' view of us simply by shifting the images we hold of ourselves.

The next time you look in the mirror, challenge yourself to see yourself anew. Be like a young child and, for a moment, suspend your judgments. Release the very human need to classify and label. Instead, see yourself with an open heart. Ask the universe to send you a higher, truer vision of yourself, then get quiet. If you're lucky, you may just catch a glimpse of the eternal you, the you that is perfect exactly as you are.

Darling Joseph from 1 day old till 2 years.


McMGrad89 said...

I grew up thinking I was fat because my cousins used to tell me so. It was only recently that I looked back at my school aged photos and realized it was not true. Unfortunately, your perceptions become your reality in more ways than one. I think that I thought that about myself for so long that I stopped caring about my size thinking, "I've always been fat, I must just be fat person." Thus came the fulfilling prophecy. Currently I am far heavier than I have ever been in my life and it is hard to look in the mirror and see anything but that. It will definitely take more than my eyes to see to see anything else.

Anonymous said...

This was needed today so very much for me. I will do just as you instructed and let you know the outcome. Thank You for writing this!!


Fly Girl said...

I think it's true to a large degree that how others perceive us depends on how we perceive ourselves. Yet that isn't always true because some people hide their true selves, even from themselves at time.

I'm a little unusual, in that I see what I want to see when I look in a mirror! Since I've gained weight over the past couple of years, I somehow still see myself a bit thinner (not quite my running weight, but not my current weight either!). It's a nice thing, until I go clothes shopping. Then reality hits!!


mscherrylane said...

agree, I love to hang out with young kids(in small doses) they invigorate, inspire and give me the reality check that only young and innocent children can...

Lance said...

Hi Peggy,
What a wonderful way to "view" ourselves. With an open heart. I'm thinking now about how I classify myself when I look in the mirror - both a real mirror on the wall, or the virtual mirror with which I view myself also. I WILL work on really doing this - it's just such a wonderful concept - thank you Peggy!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Such a timely post since this time of year we tend to make goals for creating the person we'd like to be. I have Fly Girl's problem. It's always such a shock to get photos back and see that I'm really not a size 8 anymore. I'm going to try your suggestion and be a little kinder in my viewing.
Joseph is gorgeous!! What a beautiful 2 year-old!

Fly Girl said...

I like your new Avatar, too! We must be on the same wave-length! Mine isn't too typical of me. I think I dressed up twice this year, both times for Christmas parties! I'm usually in my cargo pants being cargo-ish.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

It's funny how mirrors can be a comfort, too. They somehow show the viewer that they really exist! Having just moved our son into a new house one of our first thoughts was 'he needs more mirrors!' Of course, they also throw light into a room and make small spaces seem bigger!CJ

avtcoach said...

I love the new picture! You are so right about this. I was thinking about the last few emails to you and even without meaning to the "old" recordings seem to creep in. This is definitely a way to give "abundance" feet, by doing what you suggest in the mirror!

Sherer said...

Ah very interesting post. This is the kind of stuff I love reading about! I like the idea you presented of self definition. Very good.


miss amy said...

Wow..What a wonderful post! I will be adding this exercise to my morning routine. I believe that with a simple shift in perception life really does change! Thanks so much!

Take Care, Amy