Note: This is part I of a two part series. Click here for Part II.
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”
Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher
Ever wonder why most people are dissatisfied with photos of themselves? The reason is more than false modesty. We know our appearance by the image we see in a mirror. However, the image seen by everyone else, including a camera, is our actual image, rather than our reversed, mirrored reflection.
Remember all those terrible MySpace self-portraits? The MySpace teens liked the photos, in part, because they showed the mirror image of themselves which matched the adolescents’ self-images.
Studies have confirmed this phenomenon. People prefer photographs of themselves in which the negative has been reversed and thus depicts the familiar view they see when they admire themselves in a mirror. Even though we are most comfortable with this inverted image, it is not how we are perceived by others.
Our self-perceptions are similar to our reflections in a mirror. We see a portion of who we are, but not our entire being. The lens by which we evaluate our strengths, weaknesses, and priorities is limited. The only way to obtain a complete understanding of ourselves and determine how we can improve our performance is to seek and act upon the observations and critiques of those we trust.