Life has offered me until now the privilege to meet and to observe people having various status more or less important in this society. In these interactions, in my mind it often appeared two questions: they are enough “interested” to have a realistic self-perception? If, at a certain moment, they discover that they have a utopian but positive self-perception will they make the effort to change it for the real one no matter what?
For someone to reach and to keep a realistic self-perception is helpful to better understand the types of the perceptions involved in. The real self-perception can be “found” somewhere between our perception on us and others perception on us because the objectivity is obtained from every one’s subjectivity.
No one knows us more than we do. The first notable element is our perception on us based on our abilities to self-knowledge and also on our interior demands. So, is necessary for every person to avoid not only high estimation but also the low one to be able to distinguish a realistic self-perception from a utopian one. This mean we have to maintain our self-appreciation to the most reasonable level even our tendency to present us in a positive light is tempting.
To get to know ourselves we can also make us of others perception on us. This aspect depends not only on our abilities to make ourselves well-known by showing relevant behaviors but also on other ones abilities to correctly decode the observed attitudes. Sometimes an attitude could be incorrectly comprehended by a social partner and therefore any of us has to make sure his “message” is totally understood.
As we know the social has a major influence on our behaviors and perceptions and it’s like a marker for us. The psychologist L. Festinger explained in his social comparison theory that we elaborate our perception on us by comparing our own abilities and attitudes with other one’s, by evaluating our own opinions depending on what the others think.
Living in a society it’s “forcing” us to participate to this comparison process, but in the same time it puts us in a vulnerable position by being all day under external influences which increase internal psychical pressure. The influence we talk about is also revealed by the “looking glass self” concept of the psychologist C.H. Cooley. According to him we think about how we appear to others, how they consider our appearance and of course about the pride or shame we feel as a result of an interaction.
So, someone next to you can induce yourself a positive or negative utopian self-perception from different reasons. Think about this situation: you are constantly hearing appreciations like “you are so intelligent /so beautiful” or the reverse “you are so stupid /so not so beautiful”. Even some of these remarks are not real you could end up believing it. In cases like this, if you are a responsible person, either you honestly introspect yourself looking for the truth or you pay more attention to what other people around you has to say.
Getting back to my initial questions, not all of us are willing to give up on an idealistic self-perception even it affects us by believing in something that’s not real. A positive self-perception even unrealistic is flattering for our ego and that is more difficult to give it up for the real one when we have a high self-esteem level and a social position and an image to protect.
Personally, I consider it’s healthier for our long-term mental evolution to know the real us, our skills and our limits too, even truth doesn’t always give us a psychological comfort. We owe ourselves to find out who we really are and never to consciously fool ourselves for immediate goals or for gaining someone else’s pleasing opinion. – Psychologist, Nicoleta Cramaruc