Robert Burns, the poet said, “Oh the gift that God would give us to see ourselves as others see us.”
I recall my mother imitating his brogue while quoting the great Scotsman, and then saying,
“And God help us if we could!”
Think about that for a minute!
When I was a little girl I thought others saw us as we see ourselves in the mirror. However I learned as I grew up that what we see in the mirror is a reflection, and it’s not even three dimensional; it is also in reverse. I’ve learned also that we are seen through the eyes of the beholder’s individual lenses and other elements of their perceptual equipment.
I have also wondered what it would be like to hear ourselves as others hear us; although I must assume that the same perceptual equipment would be working for hearing as for seeing. I am sure there are as many different perceptions as there are people who see and hear us; and to some degree a consensus of whether or not we are likeable and loveable etc. It’s why we all have different ears/tastes for music as well as for so many other sounds. I.E., some people love the sound of running water and others find it annoying.
Now I am wondering how it would be if our voices could be reflected for us as are our images are in a mirror. How do we really sound? I don’t mean hearing ourselves in the same way as hearing our voices on a tape recording. That would not be the same because we usually hear the sound of our own voices mostly though bone conduction, other people’s voices come to us through bone and nerve conduction; in other words via a fuller range of auditory input. That’s why we often sound different to ourselves on a recording.
Actually, there is no way we can know how others see us and hear us, except by the various forms of feedback we receive, and how they treat us. It has been said by those who know Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) systems that the meaning of our communications is the response we get. However, I would modify that perception by adding that we respond based on interpretations of what is said, and those are based on our own internal processing equipment and styles, preconceptions, misconceptions and even expectations. And in reality people are not always forthcoming in their true thoughts and feelings about us. That is unless they are angry or upset and then often the truth of their feelings and thoughts will be revealed. Or that they are required to assess us for some reason.
We can have many perceptual distortions about ourselves, about others and the world we live in. We see and hear based on many psychological factors; for example when a woman sees a fat body in the mirror when she is actually slim, or visa versa. How we see ourselves depends on many factors, not necessarily facts at all.
Many people have told me, based on the insights I am able to share with them, that I know them better than they know themselves. But I don’t feel this is possible. It is they who have revealed those things to me, one way or another, often through subliminal and psychic interactions as well as their verbal and non verbal expressions. I’ve also heard from some people that if others really knew them, or saw them as they see themselves, they would not like or respect them so much: For they often feel they are different on the inside than what they portray to the world. (This could be the subject of next month’s blog: the imposter syndrome).
Looking in the mirror at ourselves we often inflict either too much criticism and/or harsh judgment on ourselves, or not enough objective critical appraisals to be useful for us.
It is also true that people don’t know them selves all that well either, for they have not gone deep into themselves to learn from their subconscious what they truly think or feel, or to understand their subconscious motivations. This explains the reason people often wonder why they did this or that when that behavior doesn’t make sense to them on logical rational levels.
The fact is the image we have of ourselves consciously is not always in tune with how our subconscious sees us either. Therefore neither we nor others see us as we truly are in every aspect of ourselves.
I must say here, that as much as it is vitally important that we not be influenced by what we think others think of us, or how we think they see us, because as I’ve said, we cannot really know; nor can we please everyone and ought not to try to. We have to live with ourselves so we must respect and approve of ourselves to live comfortably within. We also need to have a truer sense of what we are communicating to others in what we say and how we say it, and about what we do, and whether or not it truly is what we want to convey. If we misrepresent ourselves there is always an undesirable repercussion.
There is a link in the chain of command in my Mind Masterycourse that deals directly with the issues of how we need to be, and how we can be in touch with how we come across to people, and be more in control of that. This is a powerful tool for self awareness and insight and a wonderful opportunity to be sure that our inner voice and outer expression match each other. And there is a link in the chain of command that enables you to look at yourself differently than you ever have before, from the inside and even from outside of yourself. It is impetus to appreciate as well as to improve ourselves. Also there are links that facilitate an open honest relationship with your subconscious so that you not only know yourself, you can grow yourself.
So although you may never see and hear yourself exactly as others do, the gift of being able to step outside of your personalities and see and hear yourself as objectively as is humanly possible has already been given. May I suggest you open that gift and use all of its potential for self awareness and understanding, as well as for self improvement?
Be well, TTFN from Elaine Kissel.