Self-perception is, simply put, how we view ourselves. This lens through which we view everything influences our mood, behavior, attitude, beliefs, and judgment. Suppose we hold a primarily positive view of ourselves. In that case, this spills over into how we view the world, becoming cyclical as it leads to even more positive behaviors, habits, and ideas.
Self-perception is a core component of our identity. When we achieve something like a degree, promotion, or other accomplishments, our confidence and perception of ourselves are boosted.
Individuals with positive self-perception are grounded in the (unconscious) belief that they are worthy, have value, and are intelligent and competent. People with negative perceptions of themselves tend to believe they are worthless, invaluable, and incompetent. Their self-talk is defeating, their self-esteem is diminished, and they see the world as more negative.
A healthy self-perception is vital to our resiliency in handling things like failure, rejection, and setbacks. It enables us to view these common life events as stepping stones and learning opportunities rather than a slight against us.
To cultivate a healthy self-perception, focus on these traits:
- Focus on the present: Avoid dwelling on the past. Instead, look for the lesson and use it to move forward into a better future.
- Powerful self-talk: The things we say to ourselves inside our head inform our self-worth. There is an enormous difference between “I’m a terrible person who always makes mistakes” and “I made a mistake. I will learn from it so I can improve myself in the future.”
- Welcome feedback: Those with positive self-perceptions are open to critique. They can take it feedback without becoming defensive or fixating on the negative.
- Trusting your judgment: Individuals with healthy perception of self feel safe about voicing opinions. They don’t feel guilty if their view doesn’t align with others.
- Avoid comparing: By focusing on their distinct talents, traits, and strengths, individuals with positive self-perception don’t feel the need to compare themselves and find areas where they fall short.
- Avoid assuming: Those with negative self-perceptions often base this on what they believe other people think of them. Rather than wholeheartedly accepting others’ opinions, consider what is truthful about who you are and what you stand for.
- Realize perfection is unattainable: Trying to be perfect is not realistic. Instead of waiting for the perfect time, the ideal amount of education, knowledge, or training, move forward and do your best.
- Embrace a growth mindset: By understanding that improvement and mastery comes with effort rather than innate talent, we can take on new challenges that allow us to learn and grow.
- Constant cultivation: Maintaining a solid self-perception is a work in progress. Focus on building your foundation by noticing when self-defeating thoughts sneak into your head. Shake them loose with positive self-talk that boosts your confidence and self-esteem.