General Question

rancid's avatar

Have you ever seen your life in a radically different way from the people around you?

Asked by rancid (214 points ) March 23rd, 2009

Sometimes, we are out of touch with the reality that other people experience. Something that is extremely important to one’s self is deemed unimportant by others. Or, if you are schizophrenic, you might see people or hear voices that other people don’t see. I suppose this can happen on drugs, too.

Describe a time when this has happened in your life. How did it make you feel? What did you do about it? Did you stay with your perception, or change it?

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19 Answers

syz's avatar

I’m not sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for, but my self-perception always seems to be different than how others perceive me. I think of myself as hesitant, afraid to fail, fearful of change. After discussions with my friends, I have discovered that they tend to think of me as bold and fearless. It still surprises me. I have to wonder if I’m deluding myself or deluding others.

marinelife's avatar

This has happened to me a lot.

I thought of myself as being very tender, very soft. Others said they perceived me as a tough, uncompromising leader.

I have come to realize that that is a shell I devised to protect myself from being hurt. With a lot of work, I have made myself more open.

I listened to what was said, because whether I felt other people’s perceptions were true, they have validity in and of themselves. In other words, if that is the appearance I am giving, it has its own reality whether it is how I perceive myself or not.

I also worked very hard on self-acceptance and stopping patterns of self hatred. That allowed me to see the good that others saw in me.

Judi's avatar

My employee’s see me as kind but firm and a bit intimidating. (I actually asked them to describe me in 5 word or short phrases.) My family See’s me as a total wishy washy pushover. That’s because in my family my goal is peace and harmony. At work my goal is production. My self image also changes with my role but I can’t say that the description they give is to far off what I see.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@syz – I had just this conversation yesterday with someone I have a sisterly relationship with. I think of myself as unattractive, fat, timid and selfish. She thinks I’m beautiful and fearless, kind and loving, and not as fat as I think I am. And what’s the first thing I thought: That she was just being nice.

Seriously, it’s going to take a lot of CBT to unlearn my current self-perceptions.

daloonagain's avatar

@aprilsimnel if CBT doesn’t work, there are options. For example, ACT uses a mindfulness approach that I believe holds a lot of promise for me.

nebule's avatar

i really should go and do some studying…but all these newbies have got me in a “possessive – i need to keep my oar in here for a while!” state of obsession…

But! I dated two different guys over the course of 8 years who all of my family didn’t like…they were indeed bad men… but i kept seeing them nevertheless (not at the same time i might add) even though i was practically alienated from them all at various points in that period of time…

I left those men when i was ready and no sooner. I stayed very close to my family and respected their thoughts very much after that…once i’d left i mean… but now I am beginning to fly the nest again and I am discovering my decisions weren’t all that bad.

aviona's avatar

This can happen when I go visit my extended family in Connecticut. Politically speaking they are pretty liberal (especially for Connecticut), so we get along in that sense. And, they are my family, so I love them.
They are so focused on material objects, looks, status, gossip, and minuscule details. I think the fact that I’m “out of my element” when I go to visit them makes me notice it more. It’s almost like mini-culture shock. And I have somewhat of an existential crisis. “WHY does it matter if we uses place mats or not?” “You really can’t go out because you haven’t flat ironed your hair?”
I get almost over philosophical (especially after my cousin died) and just think of everything in terms of “the end.” I do know that it’s just a small cultural difference and in my upbringing and where I’m from, but it can make me so bitter during these family gatherings.

SuperMouse's avatar

Yes, over the past year my life has been completely out of sync with other’s expectations of what it should be. Honestly I had no choice but to be true to myself and follow my own heart. Most everyone has come around to see that I made the right choices, but it hasn’t been an easy road.

Blondesjon's avatar

why?...what have you heard?

nebule's avatar

@Blondesjon are you talking to me?

nebule's avatar

lol… I haven’t heard anything as such… I’m just getting increasingly disgruntled with the tone of answers recently…and although i have and will continue to welcome the wis.dms ers I do feel that there is suddenly a lot of jostling for position and therefore my presence is needed..although i don’t have the time or energy to fight today so… i guess i’ll just leave it in the mods hands…

I feel there was a tacit understanding and respect for one another even on thing swe disagreed on before the recent invasion.. but i guess my injection of emotive words such as “invasion” won’t help the matter if we get any wis.dmer s on this thread…

ho hum… <sigh>

Nially_Bob's avatar

Yes, often simply due to my lack of knowledge of myself. People will describe me in certain ways and it is generally not that my perception conflicts with theirs so much as they possess a definitive perception while I do not (my typical response is casual uncertainty though it obviously depends upon the statement). Though I am obviously interested in myself to the extent that I have self-respect and care for my mind and body I have frequently found the exploration of my own characteristics boring when compared to the intrigue that the identities of others offer. This preference has caused me many problems (alongside much positive stimulation) but I feel it does make my perception of my own life substantially different from others.

phillis's avatar

Maybe this can help those who are interested. It’s called the Johari Window Test, and it’s VERY simple to play with. There is only one catch – you MUST answer truthfully.

http://kevan.org/johari

I’ve always been a bit…..different. 11 years ago, I learned why, and there are organic reasons for it. But that is a discussion for another time. For the purpose of answering this question…...it was a matter of turning a negative into a positive. I had some issues from childhood that bled over into my teens that just would not go away no matter how hard I tried, so I was eventually able to shift them toward a more positive, constructive end for everyone, including myself. When I did that, it worked great! But to say that it was a concentrated effort is an understatement. It isn’t easy.

nebule's avatar

@phillis thanks for the link…could be very interesting xx

gemiwing's avatar

There used to be a bigger discord between who I am and what I showed the world. I’m a huge softy in most respects, yet was used to being verbally abused since childhood so I created a hard exterior on purpose. It was one of the few protections I had/have. Sometimes when I’m in a situation that I am unsure about I lean back on my old ways and use the armor. Most times nowadays I just work hard at keeping myself away from people/situations that would trigger it.

Having that huge disconnect between who I am and what I was presenting/being interpreted as was very difficult. I always felt like a liar or that someone would ‘figure me out’ and then be yet another person in a long line who are disappointed in me.

Much better to just be who you are, I’ve found.

Trouble is, as an abused child, I didn’t even know who I was. Did I like carrots? Am I stupid really? Would it really have been better to have had an abortion than to have to look at my face? So I floundered far longer than normal just to find all the pieces of myself, after being told who I was since birth.

I think that finding out who you truly are, and keeping that keel sacred, is the key to projecting your inner self.

and on that note, I need more coffee. whew

nebule's avatar

that’s exactly how I feel @gemiwing

hearkat's avatar

@gemiwing: GA… I can relate comletely, and have also found that I sleep better when I answer only to myself, and stop worrying about trying to please others. Thank you for sharing that.

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