How Self-Perception Can Become a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Everyone perceives themselves in their own unique way. This self-perception, whether it’s about your intelligence, temperament, character, morality, humor, or some other aspect of your personality, has an effect on your happiness and self-esteem.

It’s good to have an idea of who you are. But your self-perception can frequently become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t notice the patterns of self-perception, you run the risk of having your life be affected by it.

Examples of the Cyclical Nature of Perception

As a Long Island psychologist and couples counselor, it’s not uncommon to see some fairly obvious cycles of self-perception, especially with those that have anxiety or depression. For example, someone with low self-esteem and social anxiety who views themselves as embarrassing will often see judgment on the faces of others, even if they are not judging them.

But throughout the general population, there are examples of how this may come into play:

  • Someone that views themselves as powerful may find themselves assuming others are afraid of them, or acting intimidating on purpose in a way that makes others afraid of them.
  • Someone that views themselves as not funny will make fewer jokes, or will assume that people are laughing for the wrong reasons. This makes them “know” they are unfunny.
  • Someone that views themselves as lazy may start to embrace that laziness, claiming proudly “I’m too lazy to look that up myself” and enhancing that perception.

These are just small, everyday examples of ways that self-perception becomes a cycle.

What You Can Do

No matter what type of self-perception you have, it’s important to assess how your view of yourself may be affecting your life satisfaction. If you find that you’re not happy or fulfilled with your life, you may need to work on ways to alter that self-perception, as well as break the cycle that causes it to reinforce itself.

Only by breaking that cycle can you start to change how you perceive yourself, and ultimately improve your behaviors, your feelings of self-worth, and the happiness that comes from being confident and satisfied. If you have been struggling with a negative or counterproductive view of yourself, please do not hesitate to contact me today.