Counseling “How To” Guide: Self-Perception
What is Self-Perception?
When you hear the phrase “self-perception” you might first think of how you see yourself in a mirror. That is part of the story, but for now let’s think about it as a pair of colored lenses through which you think about and evaluate yourself.
Pair 1: The emotional lenses.
Emotional moods influence how we see ourselves. If you’re sad and lonely, you’ll tend to readily ‘see’ the sorrow and isolation in your life. If you’re angry, you’ll almost instantly find things in life that piss you off even more. That is how this pair of lenses work.
Pair 2: The judgment lenses.
The values by which we live and deal with life change also serve as the standards by which we judge ourselves. This is reflected in statements such as “I don’t deserve to have that in my life.” or “If I were a better person, I’d be able to have that.”
Do Self-Perception Lenses Reveal the Truth?
Not quite. We all tend to trust our self-perception as the “truth”.
How often do you really stop and think about how you are seeing yourself? Very likely there are kernels of truth in self-perception, but emotion and judgment are key elements of how self-perception is skewed and warped.
Take The Lenses Off.
Start by challenging the perceptions that you have of yourself. When you’ve made an important statement about who you are as a person, evaluate your mood and recognize how that influenced the way you see yourself. Contrary to what the most logical among us would like to believe, it’s impossible to separate emotion from our thinking. Our brain simply does not work that way. A computer, yes. A human brain, no.
Secondly, think about your most cherished values in life and contemplate how they impact your thoughts about how deserving you are. Whether through the process of personal counseling with a therapy guide, or on your own, that is a good place to begin to uncover how judgment impacts self-perception.
Until next time,
Dr. Brad Brenner