How What Others See in You Can Change Your Life
How did that person just do that?!
How did they know that their suggestion was perfect for me, when even I did not know that?!
My friend, this happens to me so often in my life and it never ceases to amaze me.
It is the unexpected that changes our lives.
Sometimes it happens in little, frivolous ways, as in, say, choosing a nail polish color:
The other day I was browsing the selection, looking for my next shade of copper/bronze/silver; my preferred hues. A fellow browser handed me a bottle of iridescent green. Green! And shimmery! What was she thinking? That color statement is really not on my radar.
And yet as I looked at the bottle, a little voice inside me said, “What the heck! I do love green. This might be fun! And I can always change it if looks that bad.”
So, I tried it out.
And yup, you guessed it.
I love it.
Especially when I am barefoot in the grass.
For me it is a visual representation of being integrated with the lushness of the nature that is all around me.
I look at my toes with a satisfying sigh and think, “Ahhhhhhhh…Thank goodness a stranger saw something in me that I did not see in myself.”
On a more significant note, other people’s suggestions have also been real life-changers for me.
Take, for example, this blog.
I had never said to myself, “I am going to share my thoughts with people through a blog.” But a few years ago, Sheila Applegate invited me to become a Consciously Awesome Ambassador, and then a Conscious Life Coach. And then came webinars, websites, groups, events, and blogs.
Me? Do all that?
Nope, I was quite happy where I was, thank you.
And yet here I am, doing things I never would have dreamed were what I aspired to be doing. Ahhhhhhhhh….
Think about it. I bet you have your own examples too.
Someone saw something in you that you did not see in yourself.
Or you saw something in someone else that they did not see in themselves.
You (or they) thought, “What?! No way! But…what if?”, and an evolution was initiated.
So, why do other people sometimes seem to know you more than you know yourself?
There have been many a discussion on this.
The age-old adages say that you know yourself best.
The new-age adages say that you may know some parts of yourself best, but others know other parts of you better.
The way you perceive yourself is based upon personal knowledge of yourself, such as:
- Past experiences: You know your preferences. You remember how situations worked out before when you did x, y, and z. You have background experiences to base your future actions on. Sometimes these lead you to stay within your comfort zone a little more readily.
- Intentions: In any given situation, you set an intention of what you aspire to be, do and accomplish. If you succeed, great! If not, you might give yourself a break, perhaps blaming others or the situation, yet you still feel worthy because you tried and gave your best effort.
- Internal cues: You are able to pick up on your internal signals (anxiety, excitement, racing heart, etc.), things which you may be able to hide from others. Someone else may look at you and think you are cool as a cucumber at your job interview, while in reality you are as nervous as anything.
You have a lot to fall back on as you make choices and take action, and you have a personal stake in how you appear to others. Yes, you do know yourself better in some ways, and this may lead you to distort your self-perceptions (for your benefit or detriment).
The way others perceive you is based upon their personal knowledge of you, such as:
- Past experiences: Their past experiences with you had revealed aspects of yourself to them. How did you make them feel? What different types of situations did you share together? Past experiences provide them with clues as to what you may be open to; what you may enjoy. Those experiences provide opportunities for others to envision you stepping outside of your comfort zone into a space they feel may be beneficial to you.
- Actions: No matter your intentions, what you actually do is what others see. In any given situation, the action that is taken is what is being perceived. Others do not necessarily know what you intend to happen, but they can see what actually occurs. So, what outcomes have they witnessed? What do others see in you that you are blind to?
- External cues: Your body language, music preferences, appearance, voice, actions, choice of words, movement, etc. are all hints of your personality. Some of these are projected intentionally (choice of hair style or color), yet some are projected unintentionally (how your eyes move as you listen to someone). Either way, when inferring your personality, others make good use of these clues and interpret them according to their reality.
- Intuition: There is no mistaking the role that intuition plays in others’ perceptions of you. Those vibes you send out make invisible impressions, and these are integrated into the inferences that others make about you.
As you can see, other people receive a plethora of information upon which to base their perceptions of you. The information they gather about you is less personal to them and they look at it more objectively. They see you in a different light than you see yourself. You may feel nervous as anything, but they see you confident in appearance and manner, cool as a cucumber, and offer you the job. And guess what happens? You realize you are confident and cool.
Whatever prompted that color-browsing stranger to suggest green nail polish to me, whatever prompted Sheila to believe in me, I am grateful. They saw something within me that made them think their suggestions would be beneficial, something that I did not see myself.
Again and again other people have revealed doors waiting to be opened within me that I might never have known existed. In addition, they have opened doors in the world that I might never have encountered on my own.
Ahhhhhhhh…surprise! What other people see in you can change your life.
“Keep an open mind. The influence of grace is often found in unexpected places.”
~ Cheryl Richardson
If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).