How people perceive you and why it matters.
Have you ever thought about how people perceive you? I mean seriously thought about it? It’s true that we all wonder what people think of us every now and then. But normally, we tend to wonder this through curiosity rather than for any constructive reason.
Getting to the bottom of how people perceive you is one of the essential elements of understanding how you come across to them. Once you know this, you can start to think about adapting your behaviour so that their perception of you is what you want it to be.
To build self confidence, it helps to know how you look and sound. In other words, how you come across to other people. It helps to understand how people perceive you. You will then be in a position to control their perception of you.
But should it really matter what others think of you?
Most people accept that other people’s perceptions of them do matter. Not all people though. Some think that what other people think of them is of no consequence at all. After all, they believe ‘confident people do their own thing’. These people are right to some extent. However, they’re not being very clever. Some might even say they are being over-confident. That’s dangerous territory to be in.
These people tend to be people we would describe as ‘thick skinned’. They’re just not bothered about what other people think of them. Sometimes they even pride themselves in having this trait, this supposed ‘strength of character’. It’s true that they’re lucky they don’t get affected emotionally by what other people think of them but, be under no illusion, that’s where the benefit of being thick skinned stops.
Imagine believing that you come across as a very confident person. You speak clearly and have no problem sharing your thoughts. However, other people actually see you not as confident but as ‘cocky’, ‘inconsiderate’, ‘insensitive’, and even ‘arrogant’. What are the consequences likely to be?
Quite simply, this failure to take account of others’ perceptions may well impact on the path of your life. You could fail at an interview. Receive a poor performance review. Not be accepted as part of the team. All because your self-perception is different to the perception others have of you.
People who disregard others’ perceptions of them are missing a trick. It really does matter what people think and how they perceive you. However, it shouldn’t be the be all and end all. The reality of life is that most people can’t help but be affected by other peoples’ impressions of them and therefore how people react to them. This in fact is a positive thing if considered constructively.
The important point to remember is that if you can control others’ perceptions of you, you can control how they react to you and this will help build your self confidence.
Remember: have the confidence to ‘do your own thing’ but don’t disregard other people’s perceptions of you. Factor this into your thought processes and actions. Take account of people’s perceptions but don’t let this turn into paranoia.
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