How to change your perception of yourself

13 Easy Things That Can Instantly Change How People Perceive You

Whether you're an anxious person who is worried about how people will perceive you, or someone who'd like to do damage control after making a bad first impression, know that it is totally possible to turn things around and adjust everyone's opinion of you. It may sound impossible at first, especially if you feel like you've already made quite a negative impact. But trust me when I say there are lots of little ways to show more confidence, appear more self-assured, and thus project a better image to the world.

With that said, you aren't wrong to worry about whether or not it's possible to update everyone's opinion. "They say it takes seven positive interactions before mending a bad first impression. That is how powerful first impressions are," author and life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. While that makes it sound like you're SOL, I swear it's a good thing. As Rogers tells me, it essentially means everyone's perception can be manipulated for the better.

And it doesn't have to take a ton of effort. "If you dress for the part, feel genuinely happy, lengthen your body, ask people questions about themselves, and look them straight in the eye, it's a home run," she says. Read on for some more ways to feel comfortable, give off positive vibes, and completely change how you're perceived.

1. Embrace Your Personal Style

If you're like me, you probably dash out the door in the morning wearing any old thing. And that's OK to do most of the time. But if you really want to make a great impression, slow down and take the time to truly get dressed. "When we 'dress up' or wear something we feel really great in, others take notice," Rogers says. "There's something to be said for 'looking the part.' If we can walk into a room with our head held high thanks to a fabulous outfit, your confidence is changing others' perceptions of you in an instant."

2. Practice Giving Off Kinder Vibes

While you certainly don't have to walk around with a 24/7 smile — if that's not your thing — know that it is possible to throw off kind vibes in other ways. "Eyebrows are a big tool for showcasing emotion. Play with them and your expressions," Rogers says. "Eyes are another ... Try it out in the mirror and see how your face portrays what it is you are feeling. And if you can radiate kindness just from your face, people will notice."

3. Put Those Shoulders Back

While the temptation to hunch may be strong, keep in mind that poor posture can make you appear less than confident. So push those shoulders back. "If your shoulders are pushed back, they will appear broader and you will appear taller. It's a power stance and it conveys confidence," Rogers says. "Follow your body's lead and others will immediately respond."

4. Ask Plenty Of Questions

When meeting someone new, or mingling in a group, focus on being that amazing person who asks lots of great questions. "People love sharing their stories," Rogers says. "Stick to a few simple questions (and add a few followups for good measure) and you'll see people instantly start to like you. "

5. Make A Healthy Amount Of Eye Contact

It's totally normal to struggle with eye contact, especially if you're a nervous or anxious person. But it is worth working on. "Avoidance of eye contact clues into others that you are not confident or sure of yourself, which probably isn't even true," Rogers says. "It could just be a bad habit. So make sure you practice eye contact in the mirror every day to get used to it."

6. Relax Your Body

While it can be tricky to relax when you're outside your element, it's important to give it a try by slowing down, uncrossing your arms, and relaxing your face. "When you are physically relaxed, other people perceive that you are comfortable with yourself," says confidence expert and trained therapist Karol Ward, LCSW.

7. Tell Yourself "I Matter"

One of the best ways to get good vibes from others is to put them out yourself. So the next time you go out, remind yourself you matter. "Try to do a mental pep talk for yourself prior to an event taking place, and recognize that your presence and your unique strengths and personality and body type are all important," clinical psychologist Dr. Ariane Machin tells Bustle. "This positive and empowered attitude will help you shine."

7. Go Anyway


When trying to make a good impression, it's important to actually show up. So put all sorts of get-togethers and networking events in your calendar and make a point to go. "If we choose not to attend situations or events, we will never have an opportunity to know others and, in effect, they will not get to know us either," Machin says. "Even if you don't feel like going somewhere, take a risk/opportunity and put yourself out there." You'll likely be glad you did.

9. Fill Your Brain With Positive Thoughts

People can totally tell when you're focusing in on negative thoughts. That's why — while it may be easier said that done — it's important to get rid of that negative self-talk and try to be a bit more positive. "If you say something positive to yourself, such as 'You can do it," you will be helping create the scene," says licensed psychologist Marni Amsellem, PhD. "People generally respond well to positivity."

10. Truly Listen To What Others Are Saying

Remember what I said about asking questions? People will remember whether or not you actually listened to them. Which is where the practice of "looping" may come in handy. As author Francis Cole Jones says, "If someone is telling a long, involved story, say, 'I'm just going to interrupt you for a second to make sure I’m following. You said, XYZ happened. Is that right?'" By asking questions like these, it shows the speaker you're listening, and it allows them to clarify anything that was missed. "Either way, they are left thinking you are a great listener."

11. Take Up Plenty Of Space

If you're feeling shy, it's normal to shrink up, fold your arms, or slouch. But in order to make a good impression, you're going to want to take up more space. "Extend your presence," psychotherapist and executive coach Aimee Bernstein tells Bustle. "When you take space energetically, people see you as more powerful and you feel that way yourself." To try it out, stand up taller, put your shoulders back, or gesture more to fill the space. It doesn't have to be over the top, of course. Just enough to show you feel comfortable enough to move round and truly "be" where you are.

12. Be Your Charismatic Self

The more comfortable you can be in any situation, the better. So go ahead and be your charismatic self by laughing, smiling, spinning yarns, or doing whatever is most "you." "Research shows that energy is contagious," Bernstein says. If you go into a room radiating this great energy, people will take notice. And you'll hold a positive spot in their brain as a result.

13. Decide How You'd Like To Define Yourself

Before heading into a situation where you'll need to make a good impression, try filling your brain with a few positive words and use them to define yourself. "Pick three adjectives you want the attendees to use to describe you," Cole Jones says. "Doing this helps to focus your energy." And it helps give off more of those positive vibes.

Which, of course, is what this is all about. Whether you're meeting someone for the first time, or doing damage control after a bad first impression, there are ways to change how people perceive you. It just takes a little effort.

Images: Pexels (13)

How to Change Your Self-Perception to Leverage Your Hidden Strengths


Eric Ravenscraft

Comments (10)

Our self-perceptions are often instilled in us before we have a say in them. Learning to change how we see ourselves helps us find our hidden strengths, or improve weaknesses we didn't know we had, to get along better in life.

Accurate self-perception is a necessary component of self-improvement. If you don't know where your strengths or weaknesses lie, you don't know what areas you need to work on. Or how to leverage your assets! Self-perception is simply being aware of who you are, what you're like, and what you're capable of. Your self-perception goes beyond positive self-esteem, though. It may involve acknowledging your shortcomings ("I suck at playing the violin, and that's okay"), adjusting how you view your skills, ("This skill I thought was boring is actually useful and neat!"), or recognizing your problem areas ("I'm not as hard working as I like to think").

Adjusting your self-perception comes down to being honest with yourself. Recognizing your weak points helps you identify when you need to ask for help. Acknowledging your strengths can give you the courage to assert yourself even when you don't feel like you deserve to. What you do with the knowledge is a whole different can of worms, but here's how to adjust when your perception doesn't line up with your reality.

Prep Work: Identify Your Own Self-Image Fallacies

Often, we have self-perception problems because our emotions or misconceptions lead us to false conclusions. Anyone who's ever argued on the internet for more than a minute knows how easily logical fallacies can sneak in. When those leaps in logic face inward, though, they can alter how we perceive ourselves. For example:

  • "I screwed up, so I am a screw up." This all-or-nothing mentality lends itself to low self-esteem, but it's a false correlation. We're good at dwelling on our mistakes, but bad at remembering when we got it right. The negative doesn't eliminate the positive.
  • "I'm not good at this yet, so I never will be." Everyone sucks at everything until they don't anymore. Failing a hundred times at something is discouraging, but it's incorrect to assume that those failures mean you're not good enough. In fact, those failures are how you get better.
  • "Someone doesn't like me, so no one likes me." People who like or approve of us may not say it as often as someone with a grudge, so it's easier to focus on the negative.
  • "I've never had any complaints, so I must be good." Unfortunately, those closest to us may not always be the most objective reviewers of our talents. Until your skills have been put to the test in an arena free of bias (like the workplace or public performances), a lack of complaints doesn't prove talent.

You'll probably never be completely free of internal logical fallacies. However, identifying when you're making a logical leap can kickstart the process to learning the truth. From there, you can start making the necessary changes.

Step One: Perform a Self-Assessment

The first step in fixing your perception of yourself is to identify how you see yourself. One way to get started is a technique from cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) programs. Psych Central recommends writing ten of your strengths on one side of a paper, and ten weaknesses on the other. This exercise forces you to take an honest look at yourself:

This is your Self-Esteem Inventory. It lets you know all the things you already tell yourself about how much you suck, as well as showing you that there are just as many things you don't suck at. Some of the weaknesses you may also be able to change, if only you worked at them, one at a time, over the course of a month or even a year. Remember, nobody changes things overnight, so don't set an unrealistic expectation that you can change anything in just a week's time.

You may need to seek outside input from others if you can't come up with ten for both sides. Once you're done, keep the list because it will come in handy for the next thing you can do.

Step Two: Seek Outside Input (and Listen to It)

Outside input has the ability to either validate or negate how we perceive ourselves. If you think you're not that great of a singer, but the crowd at karaoke disagrees, you might start to change your opinion. For that reason, if you really want to adjust your self perception, seeking outside input is absolutely necessary.

Author Scott H. Young offers some tips on how to get honest feedback. As it turns out, not everyone is completely forthright when you ask for an opinion (often for good reasons). Depending on the topic, you may need to coax out the full answer, or explain that it's okay to be honest:

  • Read Between Lines. Look for what they didn't say, not what they did. I'll admit this can take practice, but when you receive feedback where you question the sincerity, notice what wasn't said. If you wrote a how-to book, did they actually use the advice? If you gave a persuasive speech did they enjoy it or did it change their opinion?
  • Pull Out Gradual Honesty. Some people need encouragement to give you their honest opinion. Make it clear that you are okay with the harshest of their remarks and give them an opportunity to reveal more.

You can check out Scott's post here for more specific tips. Most importantly, though: once you get feedback, listen to it. One of the most common mistakes we make when getting input from others is filtering out the stuff we don't like. I can totally play the guitar, they're just jealous, right? Nope. You asked for feedback, now accept it. If it's true, you'll probably hear it from more than one person. Be prepared to accept that the feedback you get is at least somewhat true, even if it's uncomfortable.

Step 3: Challenge Yourself and Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Of course, feedback from others is only one way to find out what you're capable of. There is a faster, more effective way, too: doing it. You may not think that you're good enough to get a job as an actor. However, nothing will prove you wrong faster than getting hired.

Of course, that doesn't mean that someone with asthma and high blood pressure should join the Army on nothing but a wish (unless your name is Steve Rogers). But having a realistic approach to what you can do, coupled with some optimism that things could work out alright, can be a key to making it happen. One psychological researcher named Sophia Chou at the National Taiwan University examined this concept of the realistic optimist. To put it simply, people who understood the risks but chose to be hopeful about the outcome not only performed better, but were happier:

Interestingly, the realistic optimists also got better grades, on average, than their less grounded peers — probably because they didn't delude themselves into thinking they would do well without studying or working hard, Chou said.

Traditionally, a more realistic outlook is paired with poorer well-being and greater depression, yet the realistic optimists managed to be happy.

As Chou explains, people who evaluate their situation, but still challenge themselves anyway find that they're better equipped to handle those challenges. The result is a more successful outcome due to their preparation, but also an increase in satisfaction due to their moderate expectations.

Step 4: Emulate the Habits of Others

How you perceive yourself may affect how you behave, but the relationship also works in reverse. We've discussed before how something simple like faking powerful body language can help you feel more confident. This concept works fairly broadly. If you think you're too cynical, try being intentionally optimistic on social media. If you start deliberately hunting for the good in something, you may find it.

As The Guardian explains, our perceptions of our self and our relationships can be manipulated by things as simple as having a cell phone out at dinner. Putting the device away may make us feel as though we're more "in the moment" and strengthen the bonds we have with others. That means (somewhat ironically, in fact) that if your perception of yourself doesn't line up with reality, changing your external habits can influence how you perceive yourself:

It's weird enough that a phone on the next table at a restaurant might reduce the chances of two people hitting it off on a date. But the Swedish study points towards something weirder: not just that we're subconsciously influenced by our environments, but that we infer our very sense of who we are from our behaviour. Normally, we assume things work the other way: that a person who thinks of herself as compassionate will therefore act compassionately. But "self-perception theory" proposes that the opposite's also true: we observe our behaviour, then reach conclusions about who we are. "After purchasing the latte, we assume that we are coffee connoisseurs," as the psychologist Timothy Wilson writes on After returning the lost wallet, we conclude that we're honest. In reality, many pressures shape our behaviour – maybe, Wilson writes, we "returned the wallet in order to impress the people around us". But we conclude "that our behaviour emanated from some inner disposition". Or we're tricked into believing we answered a survey favouring one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and assume that must be our view.

In practice, this can be something as simple as getting a new wardrobe, or starting a new habit. Say, for example that you don't feel very confident. Try working out. Get a piece of clothing that you think makes you look cool and start wearing it. Learn how to enter a room with confidence. The more you walk in the habits of confidence people, the more you'll start to feel confident yourself.

Our perceptions of ourselves will probably never be perfect (and a little self-delusion can sometimes help). However, many of us go years without fulfilling our potential or trying new things because we simply don't perceive ourselves as able. Or worse, we live with flaws because it never occurs to us that they're problematic. If you don't think you can go after your dream job, you're worried you can't attract that person you're really into, or you simply lack confidence, the problem might not be your situation, but just your perception. Your ideas about yourself determine the course of your life, so don't leave them to chance.

Photos by Laszlo Ilyes, Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes, Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner, Lars Plougmann, and Steve Jurvetson.

6 ways to change your attitude towards yourself if you are constantly being used / AdMe

“People exist for each other,” said the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. That is, we all give and receive something from communication and relationships. And that's fine as long as the boundaries remain reasonable. When an unequal exchange occurs, it eventually exhausts the one being manipulated.

ADME collected tips on how not to become a victim of acquaintances who are looking for profit in everything.

1. Let Go of Guilt

© How to Marry a Millionaire/20th Century Fox

To achieve their goals, manipulators often pose as offended and offended. You feel guilty, believing that you really seriously hurt the feelings of the person. As a result, you try to “make amends” for your actions that led to such a reaction, and now you are ready to fulfill all requests, conditions, and sometimes even demands, even if they run counter to your interests.

What to do? If your guilt really exists, analyze its degree: what exactly did your actions lead to? And eliminate only these consequences. For example, you accidentally pushed a colleague, he spilled coffee on the floor. Apologize and call the cleaning lady. He asks, in addition, to complete the difficult task assigned to him? It seems that this is already too much.

2. Don't fall for compliments

© Ghosts of Girlfriends Past/New Line Cinema

At first, you are relentlessly admired: “Oh, you are so sociable! You have a wonderful social circle. And what a wonderful job you have! You are probably making good money. And do you drive a car? It's good that we live close to each other. " That's it, your "protection threshold" is lowered. Then follows a list of assignments: introduce them to that “star”, lend so much money and give them regular rides home.

What to do? To give a compliment or not is a person's own decision. You didn't ask anyone to praise you in every way. So do not rush to agree and make promises that you will later regret. Thank you for your kind words. Feel free to reject requests that are contrary to your principles. If there are those that you can complete under certain conditions, discuss them with a cool head.

3. Don't be afraid to name the price

© Mad money/Overture Films

If you are a professional in some field (for example, you write texts well, or do massage, or translate from Chinese) or you have some interesting hobby (for example, paint pictures, compose music, knit scarves), there will definitely be people who want to receive the fruits of your labor for free. If it’s hard for you to refuse them, you run the risk of becoming a “free” master and spending all your time on “charity” for the benefit of those who are far from needy, but simply arrogant.

What to do? Of course, in response to the statement that this work costs so much, the manipulator will immediately accuse you of commercialism. Retort with the fact that any work should be paid, give a rationale for the price you named. Does the person continue to insist on his own? As a last resort, ignore and distance yourself so as not to bring the situation to a conflict.

4. Leave if the decision is made

© How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days/Paramount Pictures

A similar situation occurs in friendships or romantic relationships. A friend / girlfriend or partner ignores you, or even behaves in an inappropriate, offensive way. But as soon as you decide to interrupt such destructive communication, they try to return you with all their might. Which, of course, flatters self-esteem. You feel that you are needed, that you are the master of the situation. And so on in an endless circle of self-deception.

What to do? You are not really the master of the situation. Most likely, you are trapped by a manipulator. Sit down at the table, write down the pros and cons of this relationship. Are there more moments that do not suit you? Then finally bring to its logical conclusion what you started. Explain your position clearly and calmly and do not return to this conversation or this person again.

5. Measure requests

© This Means War/20th Century Fox

You are approached with a quid pro quo. You, considering the person very useful to you, agree. They really help you - in something insignificant. But in exchange for this, they want much more favors. For example, an event manager gets an inexpensive and quite affordable ticket to a concert for an economist. From an economist - a new business plan for an event manager firm. Is the exchange equal?

What to do? Before exclaiming in admiration "Yes!", find out what kind of services you will have to exchange, and compare their sizes. If necessary, take a break and find out all about the offer that the manipulator is trying to "promote" you.

6. Help intelligently

© Changeling/Universal Pictures

Requests are pouring in like a cornucopia, and even with theatrical pantomimes? Something like “There is no one else to turn to except you”, “Enter my position”, “You are my last hope”, “Otherwise I will be lost”. Only a man with iron nerves will not succumb. Having received what he wants, the suffering friend does not appear until the next "trouble". Repeating scenario from time to time is a reason to think.

What to do? Eternal problems that are regularly solved with the help of you are quite a sign that a person needs you only for mercantile reasons. Ask yourself 2 questions: is it really important for you to communicate with him and do you really want to help him? If not, then why all this torment?

Bonus: universal advice


If you are constantly being taken advantage of, globally it is a consequence of low self-esteem . As soon as self-confidence increases, those who want to profit from your resources will disappear on their own. Understand your strengths for yourself, remember the merits, decide on your dreams, desires, goals.

Inability or fear to say “no” is one of the forms in which problems with self-esteem manifest themselves. Try to overpower yourself several times, relying on facts, not emotions. In the end, you can’t live all the time with other people’s tasks, and therefore, someone else’s life.

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Bright Side/Psychology/6 ways to change your attitude to yourself if you are constantly being used

I'm positive! How to change your attitude to life and others for the better: advice from a psychologist

The modern world is a place of incredible transformations, ups and downs, crises and new opportunities. How in all this turmoil not to lose yourself and remain a positive-minded person? According to many researchers, it is important to develop the ability to see positive changes and focus on opportunities, and perceive mistakes as just one of the ways that does not work. 9 told more about this0006 Irina Stafiychuk, specialist of the Moscow Psychological Assistance Service.

Learning to notice the good

« To begin with, I suggest doing a little exercise. It will show to what extent you have developed a positive perception of reality and whether it is easy for you to put it into practice, ” advises Irina.

Exercise: Say five positive things each day to your family members or friends. For example: " dear, I'm glad I have you", "daughter, how beautiful you are", "son, I love you" . Try to do it sincerely.

At the same time, it is important to look at yourself from the outside: how long do you come up with such sentences, at what moment you speak, with what intonation you pronounce, what is happening to your face at that time, what are the bodily reactions. Such an analysis will help you understand what difficulties you are facing, and it is likely that you will be surprised by the response of your loved ones. If you continue to do this exercise, then soon you will develop a good habit and the ability to notice the positive in people around you.

More reasons to be happy

It is also helpful to observe yourself how often you feel sad or happy. To do this, you can draw an emoticon corresponding to your emotion in your notebook every hour. The exercise should be done within three days, a week or a month . “At the end of the experiment, count the sad and happy emoticons. What more? Perhaps you have reason to think. But no matter what result you get, it is important to remember that our brain recognizes a smile as a signal for the production of endorphin hormones, which are responsible for joy and positive mood, and also help to cope with stress. Therefore, use this knowledge to manage your condition”, — says the psychologist. Try to come up with all sorts of reasons to be happy and smile - this is another important step towards becoming a positive person.

From minus to plus

In everyday life, you can use an interesting psychological technique - positive reframing. This is a change in the perception of something, a consideration of the situation from an unexpected side. See something positive in something negative. « For example, you are annoyed by a strict leader, but you try to be more attentive and responsible in your work. Or your bus is delayed, which means there is time to call loved ones, read a book or plan some business, ” says the specialist.

Be grateful

According to neuroscientists, another way to develop positive thinking is to express gratitude. Research in this area has shown that people who say thank you often are happier and more joyful than others.

To develop this skill, it is recommended to keep a diary in which every day for a month you should write down from 5 to 10 thanks. For example, " I thank myself for learning English, I thank myself for meeting an old friend, I am grateful for the successful resolution of my problem, I am grateful for a sunny day, I am grateful to my parents for an unexpected offer" .

« For this practice, you can make your own bracelet to your taste. It should be used like a rosary. Touching each bead, you can remember what brought you joy and give thanks for it. And if you put it on your hand, then during the day it will remind you that the world is filled with abundance, kind people, wonderful situations and joyful moments ,” advises the psychologist.

Letting go of resentment

To become a positive person, it is also necessary to take into account the fact that you should get rid of internal blocks, psychological traumas and resentments. Perhaps for this you need to turn to professional help from a psychologist, but you can quite handle some of the above on your own.

For example, a very effective psychological technique for dealing with resentment is writing letters. First, you need to get rid of all negative experiences. To do this, you should write to the offender about your feelings, about everything that you have long wanted to tell him.

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