7 Fascinating Ways You See Yourself Differently Than Others See You

by Carina Wolff
BDG Media, Inc.

It's tempting to believe we see ourselves the same way that others see us, but unfortunately, we will always be clouded by our own thoughts and experiences. Because of this, we may miss some important information about ourselves. There are a number of ways you see yourself differently than others see you, and becoming aware of these discrepancies can help you better understand how you are perceived. If your view of reality doesn't match up with others, you might have a harder time with everything from your self-esteem to your relationships.

"In general, people tend to see themselves through their own subjective lens," clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly, tells Bustle. "That subjectivity tends to cloud one’s perspective."

With this bias, it's natural that people see themselves differently than others see them. "When emotions are running low and clarity is running high, an individual is often better able to see themselves in a more honest and accurate light," Manly says. "Yet, as humans, it is often extremely difficult to be truly objective and correct when analyzing the self — no matter how logical we might think we are."

Since it's impossible to step out of your head, it can be difficult to pinpoint any blindspots. Here are seven fascinating ways you may be perceiving yourself incorrectly, according to therapists.


You Experience Imposter Syndrome

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Imposter Syndrome is an informal "syndrome" that involves a person fearing that they are going to be "found out" or "unveiled" as not being as good as they really are at something. "Many highly successful people are quite good at hiding their fears of failure," psychologist Dorian Crawford, PsyD, tells Bustle. "[...] The real heart of the issue is that the successful person needs to learn how to accept that they are good at what they do and are deserving of accolades and praise for their hard work."


You Minimize Your Abilities

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Although there are some people who tend to inflate themselves, many people devalue their capacities. "Rather than owning their strengths and skills, they will tend to shrug off or minimize many of their abilities," Dr. Manly says. "As a result, their self-perception lacks the honest inclusion of the qualities and capacities that are devalued or ignored."


You Make Unfair Comparisons

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Comparing yourself to what you see on social media is going to lead to a skewed perception of what your life should be like. "People used to revel in small circles about success, but social media allows people to shout out 'ideal lives' to the masses," Dr. Crawford says. "The end result is reduced self-esteem, increased depression, and unnecessary dissatisfaction with our looks, home, vacation options, and accomplishments This causes distress and makes us perceive ourselves as 'less than' on many levels. This is a true misperception of the genuine self."


You Experience Confirmation Bias

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It's human nature to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceptions about yourself. "For example, if you already consider yourself to be a thoughtful person, then you'll more readily interpret your actions through this lens, further confirming that you're thoughtful," clinical psychologist Dr. Crystal I. Lee, Psy.D., tells Bustle. "Unfortunately, this also works to our disadvantage, too. If you're depressed or anxious, then you begin to interpret your actions through that lens, and you end up confirming your negative beliefs about yourself."


You Project

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Psychological projection is a defense mechanism that involves attributing your undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else. "For example, you may really dislike your mother-in-law," Dr. Lee says. "However, you unconsciously perceive that as a feeling you can't have. So, instead, you believe that your mother-in-law dislikes you."


You Rationalize Your Behavior

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It's quite common for people to make excuses for their behavior by interpreting the situation or facts in a way that keeps a positive view of themselves intact. "For example, you may be devastated by being passed over for a job promotion," Dr. Lee says. "To protect yourself, you instead rationalize the situation by thinking that you didn't really want the promotion anyway because it would've been too stressful and messed with your work-life balance."


You Experience Denial

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"You've probably seen this in friends, family, or colleagues before," Dr. Lee says. "They seem to be deluding themselves in believing that something is not true or not happening even though it clearly is. Unfortunately, we often do this to ourselves as well. We may be in complete denial about a negative personality trait or in denial about how our actions have negatively affected others. It's too painful for us to see clearly, so we pretend that it doesn't exist or isn't there."

It's not always easy to see where we view ourselves incorrectly, but becoming aware of common patterns can help you try to see yourself more accurately.