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Centerpointe Research

What We See in Others Is What We Often Deny in Ourselves

We spend a lot of time observing others and making conclusions about them. These are often useful in helping us to predict the behavior of others. For example, we might decide that a person is honest or dishonest especially after we catch them in a lie. What we often don’t see is how these judgments of others reflect what we don’t want to see in ourselves. Perceiving that another person has a problem often occurs because we’re afraid that we might have that problem too. How we see others is very revealing as to what we might be unconsciously afraid of others seeing in us.

It is usually very uncomfortable to see that what we see as wrong in others actually exists in ourselves. The mind works in strange and mysterious ways. Don’t look at me; look at him (or her). Knowing yourself well prevents any unpleasant surprises; but it can be a painful process and you can feel very vulnerable doing this. What do I see in others that I don’t want to see in myself.

Once you start evaluating your possible prejudices, you can get a clearer picture of what scares you about yourself. The more honest you are with yourself, the better your self esteem can be because a person with good self esteem is aware of both the good attributes that they have and the bad. There are fewer surprises for a person with this kind of high self esteem. They can do more of what they find is good and less of what is bad.

A person with low self esteem can appear two different ways. One way is when a person can’t perceive anything good about him or her self which is the way people with low self esteem usually appear. Another way (which I call defensive high self esteem but which actually is a form of low self esteem) occurs when people perceive themselves as having no faults and they usually focus on their successes and other people’s failures. Their judgments of others reveal quite a bit about themselves and what they unconsciously fear might be wrong with themselves which they usually deny.
Think about what you might reveal about yourself and your self esteem before you act this way.

It is very difficult to avoid revealing yourself in this way as you think you are not talking about yourself, you are talking about someone else. You may be indulging in a little gossip about what other people do that is disgusting, stupid, or down right evil; but it is difficult to do this without revealing as well what you fear might be wrong with you.

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