How Do Other People See You? Take A Look…

by Sherry Riter in Attitude,Self-Development  

Does your self-image match the image of you that other people see? Self-image encompasses more than just your physical body. Self-image, also called our self-concept or self-schema, is the sum of our appearance and behavior. Of course, our self-image encompasses every thought, feeling and action for every second that we’ve been alive. On the flip side, everyone else only has the time we spend around them or with them directly to base their assessment of us.

How Do People See Me?

In order to get a relatively unbiased opinion, we all know you can’t ask your parents, siblings, children or anyone else in your family. They may actually be able to present an honest answer, but will we believe them even if they tell the truth? Probably not, so why bother asking them? To get an assessment of how people see me, I asked people that are not in my family. Let’s take a look at what they see when looking at me…

looking through eyeglasses monkey

Oh no! Maybe I shouldn’t have asked anyone!

Okay, in all seriousness, these are some of the responses I received when I asked, “How do you perceive me? Who am I? What stands out? What is good or bad?” Obviously I gave everyone plenty of leeway to give a full answer. As a forewarning, I almost couldn’t bring myself to write their answers in this post! I find this highly embarrassing, but I’m doing it to help not only you, but my daughter and I will explain that to you in a minute. So here it goes…

  • “You’re one of the most naturally intelligent people I’ve ever known.” (I paid them to say that about me.)
  • “Why aren’t you in bed at this hour!!! Don’t you have to go to work tomorrow?” (rolling my eyes) “I think you are a woman who is alert, aware and capable to do anything she sets her mind on. However, I think you have a low opinion of yourself. Your self-esteem isn’t intact with the real you.”
  • “You come across extremely confident and able, yet there is a softness about you. It makes you totally approachable and not arrogant.”
  • “You are so hilarious – just crazy funny! I never know what to expect from you next. You make me laugh all the time.”
  • “If you put my name on your blog or tell anyone what I’m about to say, I will categorically deny it because my wife would be jealous as Hell. She has a rather low opinion of herself too.” (I said, “No! Never mind! I don’t want to know!”) “You asked and I’m going to tell you. Write it down because you’re going to get too embarrassed to remember what I’m going to say to you. Besides, it might make you feel better. You have beautiful long, red hair and the curls are always perfect. You don’t wear much makeup, but you don’t need it. (I was already dying ya’ll!) You help everyone with anything they need and you don’t expect anything back. You’re absolutely genuine and bluntfully tactful. I don’t think “bluntfully” is a word, but if it isn’t, use it anyway. Surely you know that you are smart, creative, ambitious, talented, a wonderful cook, charming, always a lady and extremely funny. One last thing…you are hot! A classy, sexy lady with brains.” (I may never look at or talk to this man again. LOL)
  • “I see you as a sincere, thoughtful, hardworking, motivated woman with a huge heart who is too giving and let’s people walk all over her. Is your therapist going to teach you how to say, ‘No’ sometimes? Is she wanting you to do this poll?” (No, my therapist has nothing to do with this poll. LOL)
  • “Loving. I miss your ‘7 hugs a day’ philosophy, girl. No one hugs me at my job now! They are all arrogant intellectuals without any emotion!” LOL
  • “You make people fat! You post all those delicious recipes on your blog and I HAVE to try them all. Then I overeat and I gain weight!” 😀
  • “100% unique. Not only do you excel at everything you do, but you are humble and genuinely embarrassed by compliments.” (At this point, I blushed terribly!) “By the way, your blush just adds to your charm.”
  • “Awesome! You rock! You sincerely care about other people and it shows.”
  • “Right now, you look stressed, sad and scared. I’ll be glad when you get moved and find out if you are going to be laid off. You are far too critical of yourself and you work too hard day and night. I think you are one sharp lady – beauty, brains and heart. I hope someone will sweep you off your feet and treat you with the respect, care and tenderness you deserve.”

I almost wasn’t able to type the whole list which precisely proves my point. Other people see me one way and I see myself another way.

Why Is Our Self-Image Different Than How Other People See Us?

In general, people have a blind spot to how they are perceived by others. It all starts in childhood with all the negative looks, actions and words that were cast in our direction. Children can’t evaluate the harsh words spoken to them. Instead, they are internalized, believed and it affects their self-image in a negative way for a long, long time.

The perfectionists are more apt to have a negative self-image than any other group. They set a standard for themselves that even a Saint can’t attain. They are achievers and thirst for more, more and more learning. Because the standard for themselves is so high, they constantly set themselves up for failure which in turn adds to a negative self-image.

My daughter doesn’t think she is pretty and I have heard her say so many times, “I’m so ugly!” I want her to know that she a beautiful and an accomplished young woman! I can list all her wonderful qualities until I’m blue in the face, but it never seems to soak in far enough or for long enough. Alyssa is a perfectionist and my divorce from her father hurt her deeply. Hopefully, some day, she will listen to her old mother and go to therapy to free herself from her inaccurate assessment of herself.

Alyssa isn’t the only one that is a perfectionist. There is another person that I know very well who also sets a very high standard for herself and a much lower standard for everyone else. I’m not going to say who she is…I plead the 5th because I might incriminate myself. 😉

How To Improve Your Self-Image

Life is more pleasant and you will be healthier if you have a positive self-image. Here are a few things to do that will help you improve your self-image and increase the happiness you experience in life:

  • Ensure that your self-talk is positive and kind.
  • Acknowledge your success and accomplishments.
  • Know that perfection is not required nor is it attainable. Have a realistic standard for yourself.
  • Have the same standard for yourself that you have for everyone else.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Respect your beliefs and feelings.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s how you learn!
  • Volunteer your time and talents to help others.
  • Accept that you are not God. You can only change what you can change and the rest of the stuff, you just can’t change. That’s okay.
  • Exercise or at least walk. It will make you healthier, increase your happiness and will help you live a better quality of life.
  • Appreciate your value to humanity.
  • Enjoy yourself with and without family or friends. Taking a break will invigorate your mind, creativity, attitude, outlook and self-image.
  • Enjoy the things about you that are different and unique. The differences in people is what makes interactions interesting!
  • Be tolerant of your shortcomings.
  • Try new things! Eat new foods, travel to places you’ve never seen before, learn a new hobby or skill. Be inquisitive.
  • Respect your brain. You’re smart! You know stuff! You’ve experience stuff. Respect that knowledge.

So there you have it! I bet your self-image isn’t always on the mark, so to keep it on track, there’s a healthy list of things you can do to get back on course. If you’ve never had a positive self-image, see a qualified therapist and let them help your through the process of discovering the real you. How you perceive yourself affects everything you will ever say or do. Obviously, a healthy self-image is worth the effort to attain.

I would like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who gave me their opinion for my post. You were all very kind and it really did brighten my day and lift my mood.



This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skip_D September 13, 2012 at 2:22 am

This is an excellent exercise. I must say, I agree with everything your responders said about you – everything! Your list of ways to improve self-image is very worthwhile. I hope you were able to accept those very complimentary statements as being valid! I also hope Alyssa can benefit from such an exercise. She really needs to realize what a lovely young woman she is.

Ohhhh… the picture of the squirrel monkey is delightful! I had one as a pet many years ago, & that looks just like him! What’s the story behind that delightful picture?


2 The Redhead Riter September 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thank you, Skip. {{{hugsss}}}

The monkey has no significance except that it is a crazy looking creature and has reddish coloring (like me) LOL


3 Susanne September 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

Mirror, mirror on the wall, the person I see is not the woman others see at all.

Self esteem has been an issue my entire life. I thank my Mom for that. We always believe our Mothers, don’t we?! Still searching for a therapist who has a stronger will than I have…lol. Alyssa would benefit greatly from therapy because she is still young and has her entire life ahead of her. Regrets have not piled up to the ceiling. She can be swayed and turned from the dark side to the bright side.

I love your list, because it’s compassionate and kind to those of us who must implement it. It’s great that the word “must” does not appear anywhere. Most importantly, many suggestions are really “doable” even if at first difficult.

As for the monkey and the glasses…Monkey see, monkey do?! Bye for now!

Although I don’t know you personally, I still see so many of your qualities in your writing. So, I echo many of the assessments you shared with us.


4 The Redhead Riter September 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

So you are a poet! Another hidden talent revealed! 😉

How did I guess that you had a self-esteem issue? Hmmm…. 😀

I’m going to have Alyssa read your comment about therapy. Thank you!

Thank you, Susanne. {{{hugssss}}}


5 Ruth Hill September 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

As I have followed your blog and seen your journey for quite some time, I agree with what they wrote about you. If I did something similar on my blog, I would probably hear some nice things, too. It seems like in the online world, I am loved and respected. My problem is that once someone gets to know me outside of the online world, they tend to write me off. My mom and my daughter are the ones I can count on to not be like that. My dad, my brother, my sister-in-law, my “friends” are the ones who decide that I am not worth the bother and cause all sorts of problems. I think that is the hardest thing for me.

So what do I do? I surround myself with people who genuinely care about me. At least my church is very supportive. Great exercise–thanks for posting!


6 The Redhead Riter September 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thank you, Ruth! {{{hugsss}}}

Family is not always a bed of roses, unfortunately. They know us so well that they can hurt us the most. I’m sorry it is that way for you as it is in many families. It always makes me wonder what happened to all that, “blood is thicker than water” thing. It just isn’t always true. I’m glad you surround yourself with people who love and appreciate you! That’s the best thing you can do to buoy yourself up!


7 mom September 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I agree with this post! Of course, I could add a lot to all of this. lol

I can add that you have no common sense, although you have more than when you were younger, I have to admit. I love that about you though, I would miss standing with my mouth open and shaking my head and saying (while I am on the floor laughing my buns off) “Sherry!?”

My list goes like this!!!

1-You stay up too late. You need a positive schedule and at your age, you should finally listen to me.

2-You should not analyze yourself all the time. You worry too much about what others think, love those who love you and tell the others to go find a life somewhere else.

3-You worry about things that are only up to God to fix. lol

4-You need to exercise, exercise, exercise, etc.

5-You need to get out more – go to movies, mall hopping, visit your Aunt Bob (it is her birthday today), visit your mom, etc.

6-You need to accept things you cannot change, laugh at those things and get rid of those things that hurt you.

7-Listen to your mother. She loves you. Contrary to what you may believe, she does know a few things about life, even if she cannot spell it!! lol

8-Laugh at your self like I laugh at myself. If all the world thinks we are nuts, so what?! We can think they are! lol

9-You are beautiful. You hold back for fear of being hurt. Let go, live, love and be happy! This is all you get – today. Poop on anyone who wishes to take it a way from you.

I love you. I know it is hard to take criticism. Uh-oh, I told on you.

It is hard for you to take criticism because of all the rejection you have suffered in the past. Be free, love God first and the heck with the rest of it.


8 The Redhead Riter September 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Hmmm…rather a harsh list don’t you think, Mom?

1. I like staying up late. Maybe not as late as I do sometimes, but I get enough rest eventually. You have complained about this my whole life. I like the night! It is peaceful and quiet just like the sunrise! I do listen to you, but I don’t agree that I should go to bed at 8 p.m. It just isn’t going to happen…Well, unless I had a really good reason to go to bed early 😉

2. I don’t worry what other people think all the time. I worry that I’m not good enough. There is a difference between the two.

3. Yes, I do worry about things that are TOTALLY out of my control. That seems to me my biggest flaw (in my opinion).

4. Everyone needs to exercise and I exercise every day.

5. I don’t want to get out and go “mall hopping.” I HATE shopping and avoid the store like the plague. It is b-o-r-i-n-g. I get free movies on the TV so why should I go watch a movie with a bunch of people I don’t know, where I have to be quiet, turn off my phone and I can’t pause the movie to get a snack? I rather go to the opera where I can really be entertained! Besides, I just don’t like going out a-l-o-n-e and you haven’t wanted to ever go to those kinds of places with me.

6. I am not very good at change. Oh well.

7. I listen. I love you too. I never thought or said you didn’t know anything about life. I often take your advice.

8. I laugh at myself all the time.

9. Yep. I do hold back and I have been hurt, but everyone else has too.

I take criticism, constructive and otherwise, all the time. Reading your list causes me to think you don’t know me anymore. Some of the things you say are so off like the exercise thing.

Hmmm…I don’t think you intentionally listed almost all negatives (some inaccurate), but did you realize that’s what you did? Oh well. Obviously I have a lot of improvement to do. Have a nice afternoon. My break is over. Back to work. I’ll probably be here until 8:00 p.m. at the rate I’m moving.


9 Jenn Thorson October 23, 2014 at 8:13 am

Crimeny– I hope “Mom” is not your real mom– just someone trying to be funny, ironic and satirical– because with all of those negatives being thrown in your face, and backhanded compliments, I’d say I could understand where your self-esteem might be a little shaky after a few decades of that sort of erosion. Someone who really loves you likely wouldn’t say such things and then try to cover it over with the “I love you.”

It’s sad. But hey– at least it’s something concrete to show the therapist! 🙂


10 Sherry Riter October 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

LOLOLOLOLOL Mom is my real mom and I did cover it in therapy. She really still doesn’t realize how what she says comes out. I just gotta laugh now. Thank you Jen {{{hugssss}}}


11 Joan September 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I only have one thing to say! Are you sure you are not a psychologist? No psychologist could have written a better post than this. It was right on! You go, Dr. Red! 🙂


12 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm

As long as people don’t confuse Dr. Red with Dr. Ruth, I’m okay with it. LOL


13 Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) September 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hi Red – Love this list of positive reinforcement! It’s always great to keep that inner chatter positive rather than negative! Takes some effort!

take care, Kathy


14 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thank you! 🙂


15 Rosey September 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Put me on the low standards for others, too high of standards for myself list. Is there a club for that?


These are great tips for getting back on track if your wheel slips off a bit.

Cheers to a healthy self-perception and outlook.


16 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Yeah, there is a club. I’m the president of it. LOL


17 Sue September 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I also love this post and love how you share yourself with us. You are extremely likable, very fun and have a good sense of humor, highly intelligent, a good teacher, creative, imaginative, trust worthy, and the list goes on. I am happy to know you and better off for it too!


18 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Awwwwwww….Thank you Sue! {{{hugssss}}}


19 Sue September 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Oh, and your daughter is stunningly beautiful too. Tell her that!


20 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I tell her that every day! Thank you!


21 Tami September 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I’ve often wondered how others take me. Hopefully with a grain of salt. Great post.


22 Sherry Riter September 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thanks Tami!


23 katherine September 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

An encouraging and insightful post filled with self affirmations. Perfect Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Your participation helps make it a success.I’m sorry I am slow to visit I am fighting a nasty head cold and my time on the computer has been limited.Wishing you a beautiful day .xo


24 Hon March 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

OMG I also happen to be a red head writer, and I really loved your post. It seems like you are great, but sometimes underestimate your good qualities. I have the same problem, and sometimes i have to remind myself to not put so much pressure on myself. God bless,
Nancy Weiber


25 Sherry Riter March 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Nice to meet another redheaded writer!!! Thank you!


26 Kenny Sellards October 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Enjoyed the post, enjoyed the comments. You are much to many it seems. From what I’ve read it seems that perhaps a lot of folks have your number. 🙂 I think you’re pretty awesome, and you’re blogs and photo posts very often hit where my mind is most of the time. As for poor Alyssa thinking she’s ugly… well… we can’t all be hottie red heads…. but really… for a blonde, she’s pretty easy on the eyes too. 😉 Thank you for sharing!! 🙂 <3


27 Sherry Riter October 25, 2014 at 8:21 am

😉 Yes, people know me pretty well these days!


28 Bev October 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm

You are awesome, and that survey proves it. You are even like that online, always giving hugs and encouragement to others and sharing your knowledge. A natural motivator and teacher. Now, if we could figure out a way to turn off that area in our brains that is unable to judge ourselves as others see us, we would get a Nobel Prize. I think chocolate almost calms that area… Anyway, Red, as I said earlier you are awesome. And this was a wonderful post!


29 Sherry Riter October 25, 2014 at 8:17 am

THANK YOU so much Bev! Yes, chocolate does do wonders especially in the form of the chocolate man. LOL


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