Can you see yourself as others see you?

A basic reality of being human is that we all have flaws – and there are no exceptions. If you’re currently thinking that this may apply to others but not to you, maybe one of your flaws is the reason for your opinion!

We’re quick to spot flaws in others but not so quick to spot our own, let alone acknowledge them. But think about it … If we didn’t have the flaws we have, our families, our country, our world would be in a much better state.

I urge you to pocket your pride and accept that you, like me and everyone else, are flawed. We’re here to learn, so let’s be courageous to go on a journey to help us identify our flaws so we can minimise, if not eliminate, them.

A way we can identify our flaws is by learning to see ourselves as others see us. When you look at other people – your brother, boss, partner, parents, children – you can easily see their flaws. Surely, then, it stands to reason that when they look at you, your flaws are just as visible to them? Mmm … Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Here’s a higher truth to ponder … one of the most difficult things for any human is being able to see themselves as others see them. It’s not impossible, but it IS very difficult. That’s why people, from paupers to presidents, are blind to their own faults.

Why is this, though?

Others see the faults we’re blind to because they assess us by what they hear us say and see us do. We, on the other hand. judge ourselves by how we would like others to see us – and that’s always in a favourable light.

Put it to the test. Imagine you have observed someone helping themselves to something not belonging to them. You consider them to be dishonest because you observed what they did – took something not belonging to them.

But does that person think they’re being dishonest? Of course not! They want others to see them as honest so, regardless of what they did, that’s how they see themselves – as honest. Their perception of themselves has little to do with their dishonest actions. It has everything to do with how they want to be seen.

It takes great courage and self-honesty to see yourself as others see you. Few have those qualities sufficiently to take appropriate actions. When you set out to deceive others, it’s very difficult to admit your true intentions because, before you deceive someone, the first person you deceive is yourself. And once you’ve done that, everyone is fair game to be deceived.

This is why people caught red-handed committing a crime will confidently plead, “Not guilty,” in a court of law. They have first deceived themselves and so genuinely believe for whatever reason that they are not guilty.

So, next time someone levels criticism at you, don’t be so quick to deny and defend yourself. Stop, step back from yourself, ask yourself, “What has this person seen about me that I haven’t seen?” Then try to see what they have seen in you. Unless they’re delusional, chances are they’ve seen something you’ve been unaware of.

This is a difficult and uncomfortable process – not for sissies. The most difficult person for you to face is yourself. Once you’ve genuinely faced yourself, you can face anybody and everybody, because you’ve seen yourself as others see you. Then, you’re in a position to start putting things right in your life.

When you see yourself as others see you, you start accepting them for who and what they are. When you start doing that, they start accepting you for who you are – that’s when you gain credibility and influence.

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