87 Self-Reflection Questions for Introspection [+Exercises]

Introspection in Psychology: 87 Self-Reflection Questions, Exercises & Worksheets

Do you sometimes take time to clarify your values in a moment of doubt or uncertainty?

If you answered “yes,” you are no stranger to self-reflection and introspection (terms that will be used more or less interchangeably in this article), an important psychological exercise that can help you grow, develop your mind, and extract value from your mistakes.

Read on if you’d like to learn the meaning of self-reflection and introspection, reasons why it’s important, and tools and techniques for practicing it yourself.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Self-Compassion Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will not only help you increase the compassion and kindness you show yourself but will also give you the tools to help your clients, students, or employees show more compassion to themselves.

This Article Contains:

What is introspection a definition, what is the importance of introspection, 70 self-reflective questions to ask yourself, 10 self-reflection exercises, activities, and techniques for adults and students, 4 self-reflection worksheets and tools, the 3 best books on self-reflection and introspection, a take-home message.

Introspection can be practiced both as an informal reflection process and a formal experimental approach, and the two have different definitions. Still, both processes can be undertaken by anyone with curiosity and determination (Cherry, 2016).

The informal reflection process can be defined as examining one’s own internal thoughts and feelings and reflecting on what they mean. The process can be focused on either one’s current mental experience or mental experiences from the very recent past.

The formal experimental technique is a more objective and standardized version of this, in which people train themselves to carefully analyze the contents of their own thoughts in a way that’s as unbiased as possible.

The original idea of introspection was developed by Wilhelm Wundt in the late 1800s (McLeod, 2008). Wundt focused on three areas of mental functioning: thoughts, images, and feelings. Wundt’s work eventually led to the current work on perceptual processes and the establishment of the field of cognitive psychology .

introspection self-reflection worksheets and tools

Researchers have shown that we think more than 50,000 thoughts per day, of which more than half are negative and more than 90% are just repeats from the day before (Wood, 2013).

If you don’t make the time and effort to refocus your mind on the positive through introspection, you won’t give yourself the opportunity to grow and develop.

Enhancing our ability to understand ourselves and our motivations and to learn more about our own values helps us take the power away from the distractions of our modern, fast-paced lives and instead refocus on fulfillment (Wood, 2013).

The importance of doing it right

Reflecting on ourselves and our environments is a healthy and adaptive practice, but it should be undertaken with some care—there is, in fact, a wrong way to do it.

When your focus on introspection has morphed from a dedication to an obsession, you have taken it too far. In fact, those who take self-reflection too far can end up feeling more stressed, depressed, and anxious than ever (Eurich, 2017).

In addition, it is all too easy for us to fool ourselves into thinking we have found some deep insight that may or may not be accurate. We are surprisingly good at coming up with rational explanations for the irrational behaviors we engage in (Dahl, 2017).

To help stay on the right path with your self-reflection, consider asking more “what” questions than “why” questions. “Why” questions can highlight our limitations and stir up negative emotions, while “what” questions help keep us curious and positive about the future (Eurich, 2017).

With this important point in mind, let’s move on to the questions, exercises, and worksheets that you can use to work on your own self-reflection.

What is the Importance of Introspection? self-reflection

Read through the following three lists to get some ideas for introspective questions. Answering them can take you from feeling like you don’t understand yourself to knowing yourself like the back of your hand.

These 10 questions are great ways to jumpstart self-reflection (Woronko, n.d.):

The following 30 questions are questions you can ask yourself every day to get to know yourself better (William, n.d.):

Finally, the following 30 prompts and questions are great ways to put your journal to use (Tartakovsky, 2014):

Self-Reflective Questions introspection psychology

For example, the five self-examination exercises listed below (Bates, 2012) are a good way to get started with self-reflection. They’re simple and easy to do, but they can familiarize you with the process for more in-depth reflection in the future.

Self-Examination Exercise 1

Consider whether or not you tend to analyze people or diagnose their problems for them without their encouragement or request.

Often when we hold information that has helped us to make sense of the world, we want to share it. This information, when unprompted and delivered to another person, sometimes doesn’t feel so good. They may feel like you are telling them that something about them is wrong, something that they might not necessarily agree with.

Remind yourself that this information needs to be asked for and not prescribed by you, no matter how valid it feels to pass it on (Bates, 2012).

Self-Examination Exercise 2

This is a good exercise if you tend to expend a lot of energy trying to understand what upsets you about another person’s actions. You may also spend a lot of energy thinking of ways to address that person about what upsets you.

Not only does this burn a lot of your energy, but it also can have an unintended effect on the person who has upset you. When you place a clear emphasis or focus on what is wrong when speaking with someone, it implies that you are dissatisfied and unhappy.

Usually, the issue you have is not something that is making you terribly unhappy, just an annoyance or irritation, so this doom and gloom is not the message you want to deliver. It’s just a single issue that needs attention, but it can seem much bigger and more pervasive to the person you are planning to discuss it with.

Try to remind yourself that this problem, no matter how valid an issue it is or how important it is to you, is not the whole of your feelings. When you deliver this information, remember that a person who loves you does not want to be the cause of your unhappiness—do not make them feel an unnecessary amount of pain as a result of the unhappiness they’ve caused you.

Keep your focus on the big picture when you bring up issues, or you risk turning a small issue into a much broader problem (Bates, 2012).

Self-Examination Exercise 3

Do you frequently interrupt people or constantly think of your own stories to share while they are talking? If you’re like a lot of social people, the answer is probably yes.

In order to relate to others, we have to share a little bit of ourselves with them—your stories can help you establish common ground with others or make you closer with them. However, if you’re only focused on sharing your stories, it can distract you from the greater purpose of a conversation.

In our eagerness to relate, please, entertain, and share, we often remove ourselves from the present, reducing our ability to be sensitive and engaged listeners. Even if we spend our whole lives trying to be good listeners , sometimes we slip out of practice in empathizing or identifying with the person we’re talking to, or we lose an opportunity to comfort or entertain the other person.

Next time you have a conversation with a loved one and you find yourself thinking ahead of them, take a moment to pause and truly listen. Don’t think about how you can personally identify with what they are talking about, and don’t search your memory bank for a relevant story of your own—just listen.

It’s a rewarding experience to truly soak in what another person is saying, both for you and the other person (Bates, 2012).

Self-Examination Exercise 4

Sometimes when we work very hard to do good things, we get to a level of comfort with that fact, and we begin to talk about it to others. That can be a great thing in that it allows us to own our efforts and our actions and, with that, acknowledge our goodness to ourselves.

But for this exercise, consider how you might feel if you were to do things that are good, but only for your own knowledge. The next time you do something really wonderful, try keeping that wonderful thing to yourself and not sharing it with anyone.

Often when a person is good and loving, they don’t have to tell anyone; it’s a truth that shines from every angle of their person. As an experiment, keep some knowledge to yourself, as a gift to you (Bates, 2012).

Self-Examination Exercise 5

For this exercise, you need only to do one thing: Consider what you don’t know.

When we get to a place of comfort in our skin and in the world, we tend to lose the ability to see things from a different perspective. Things make sense to us in our own point of view, so what’s left to know?

Everything, it turns out.

By this, we mean to try and remind yourself of these facts: You cannot know or understand everything, and you are not the judge of what is right for another person.

You can neither read minds nor know what the future holds. You can only exist in one moment at a time, and you are changing every day.

Trust that sometimes others know themselves and their lives better than you ever could. Listen with the awareness that you might learn something new.

Be open to the fact that you might one day feel totally different about something that you believe to be fixed—and that includes your sticking points, the “unchangeables” you thought were forever set in stone. Let what you don’t know and can’t know be a comfort rather than something to fear, because it means that anything is possible (Bates, 2012).

Once you have found your footing with these self-examination exercises, the following introspective exercises are a great next step.

4 Self-reflection technique – OER Africa


Creating affirmations is a helpful way to clear your mind and put things in perspective. Affirmations can be defined as positive phrases or statements used to challenge  negative or unhelpful thoughts .

For this exercise, write a list of at least 50 affirmations. They should address what you want to embrace, improve, and achieve in your life.

Follow these instructions when composing and practicing your affirmations:

Following these steps can help you open yourself up to the positive in your life and take steps that will lead you to the future you want (Holothink, n.d.).

Subconscious Mind Exercise

In this exercise, you will dive into your subconscious. Don’t worry, it’s not as painful or scary as it sounds!

Your subconscious mind is where your self-image is stored. All of your attitudes, experiences, beliefs, and values are stored deep in your subconscious, driving your behavior and forming the core of who you are.

We don’t often take time to think about ourselves on this level. So in this exercise, take some time and put a concerted effort into thinking about your attitudes, experiences, beliefs, and values. It may take a few sessions of self-reflection to really uncover your core beliefs, but it’s worth the effort it takes to learn about yourself.

Reflecting on this core component of yourself will help you gain greater self-awareness . Much like meditation, it will help you achieve a new, higher level of consciousness, and it may just help you find valuable information and answers about yourself and your beliefs (Holothink, n.d.).

Visualization Exercise

This exercise offers you an opportunity to put your creativity to use.

Create a box, a vision board, or some other medium to store and display who you are and what your hopes and dreams are for the future. You can create or decorate your box or board however you’d like. Use whatever you feel represents yourself and what’s important to you.

Place pictures, words, drawings, poems, or small items of personal significance on your board or in your box. The more details you include, the better.

The end result is a visual representation of yourself and what you love. Come back to the box or board when you’re having a dilemma or trying to figure out the best course of action, and draw from this visual representation of yourself to help you make decisions (Holothink, n.d.).

For this exercise, feel free to put your imagination to good use—the sky’s the limit when it comes to visualization.

Questions About Yourself

This exercise is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. All you need to do is ask yourself some questions.

Ask yourself questions about yourself. Write down the questions, then write down your answers to the questions. Ask yourself about your past, present, and future, and compose answers to the questions that are positive, insightful, and motivating to you.

Don’t worry about coming up with the “right” answers—there aren’t any right answers, and your answers will likely change over time. And be as creative as you’d like with the questions and answers since no one else needs to answer or read them but you.

Be sure to structure your questions to include details about your hopes and dreams. The more detailed your questions and answers, the more opportunity you have to dig into some valuable self-reflection (Holothink, n.d.).

Write and Reflect

Journaling is great for many reasons, and it can be used in several applications for introspection.

For this exercise, get a journal , diary, or notebook with plenty of pages to write in.

Every day, write down three things in your journal:

Following these steps, you will write only the first two components on the first day but will write three components every day thereafter (Holothink, n.d.).

self-reflection introspection exercises

Self-Awareness Worksheet

This worksheet is a treasure trove of exercises and ideas to help you think about yourself, including your talents, qualities, values, and perceptions.

The point of this worksheet is to help you know and understand:

There are several sections to this worksheet, each of which has its own set of questions and prompts:

– Talents

– Traits/Qualities

– Values

– Perception

– Accomplishments

– Reflection

– Finish the Sentence

In the final section, you will be shown several prompts to complete:

Once you finish this worksheet, you should have plenty of insight into who you really are and what is most important to you. Use your answers to inform your decisions about what goals you choose to strive toward, what you would like to do in the future, and what moves to make next.

You can view, download, or print this worksheet for yourself.

The average human has more than 50,000 thoughts per day; more than half of them are negative, and more than 90% are just a repetition from the day before (Wood, 2013).

This means refocusing your mind on positive thoughts through introspection is essential for personal ascendance and growth. Most people take the end of the year as an opportunity to reflect on the past and set goals for the following year. However, reflections and introspection are critical at any point in time and enable your clients to grow.

Wilhelm Wundt developed the concept of introspection in the late 1800s (McLeod, 2008). According to him, introspection is focused on thoughts, images, and feelings. Introspective questions are often used in the field of cognitive psychology.

Understanding your clients allows you to learn more about their values, internal thoughts, and feelings. Furthermore, it takes the focus away from fast-paced lives and allows your client to be in the present moment and refocus on fulfillment (Wood, 2013).

Besides asking your client reflective questions, another tip is to practice active listening. Being able to stay entirely in the present moment without interruption or projecting your own story onto someone is key to helping your clients flourish. When the urge to share your story arises, pause and take the time to listen.

i am assignment on self perception

Tool 1: Persona

Before moving on to the empathy map below, first create a “persona,” or a clear character representation of your actual self, your ideal self, and your “ought” self (Kos, n.d.).

In order to create this persona, you will need to thoroughly analyze who you are, who you want to become, and what the social expectations connected to your feelings and behaviors are like in different situations.

Answering questions like the following can help you define these three important selves:

Use your answers to these questions to help you get an idea of who you are, who you want to be, and who you feel you ought to be. Once this preparation has been completed, move on to creating an empathy map.

Tool 2: Empathy Map

An empathy map can help you engage in a valuable and informative process of self-reflection, using all of your senses to help you identify your needs and the disconnections between what you say and what you do (Kos, n.d.). Don’t worry—we all have a disconnect between what we say and what we do.

This exercise can help you figure out where you have these disconnects and how you can best address them to become the person you want to be.

To create your empathy map, simply draw four quadrants on a piece of paper. Each quadrant represents a different aspect of yourself:

Next, consider a situation that evokes a specific strong emotion in you, like having a fight with your spouse or significant other. In each quadrant, write down the relevant aspects of each perspective.

For example, for the fight scenario, you could write down something like the following:

On the backside of your piece of paper, on another piece of paper, or next to your four quadrants, create a fifth section. Here, you will write down your insights and ideas based on your empathy map.

The following questions can help you with the self-reflection process while you’re working on your map:

Do your best to avoid falling prey to cognitive distortions or reinforcing negative feelings while answering these questions. Go deep, and identify why you feel like you do. Observe, but don’t judge (Kos, n.d.).

Tool 3: Life Satisfaction Chart

A life satisfaction chart is a great way to assess how well you are meeting your goals and furthering your hopes for the future. You can complete this chart periodically to track your progress toward your goals and see what needs to be revised, improved, reduced, or eliminated to help you strive toward them.

Draw a scale from 1 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied) horizontally, and list the following ten areas of life vertically:

Assess your satisfaction in each of the 10 areas using the scale you created.

Next, take a second look at all the areas where you are only somewhat satisfied (where you used a rating between 4 and 7). It can be hard to effectively reflect when you don’t have a clear idea of whether you are satisfied with a specific area or not.

Go back through these “somewhat satisfied” areas and rate your satisfaction again, but use only ratings between 1 and 3 or 8 and 10. Limiting your options to either “very satisfied” or “not very satisfied” will help you to make a more decisive judgment about your satisfaction in each area.

Highlight every section rated with a 1, 2, or 3 with red, and highlight every section rated with an 8, 9, or 10 with green. Finally, for all ten areas of life, ask yourself, Why did you rate each area how you did? What would make you change your rating?

Repeat this exercise as often as you’d like to help you keep track of your satisfaction with the way your life is going (Kos, n.d.).

There are many books out there on self-reflection, self-awareness , and introspection, but we recommend the books below as resources to help you start your journey.

1. Question Your Life: Naikan Self-Reflection and the Transformation of Our Stories – Gregg Krech

Question Your Life: Naikan Self-Reflection and the Transformation of Our Stories by Gregg Krech

Like the physical bags we carry when we go on a journey, our hearts and our minds only have so much room—but instead of carrying luggage, they carry stories. Some stories inform our lives and help us understand ourselves, while others don’t serve a purpose and can weigh us down.

In this book, Krech will guide the reader through several powerful examples of people who had an important change of heart or mind as a result of quiet self-reflection, including a woman who hated her mother, a man estranged from his father, a pregnant woman hit by a train, a couple who was struggling with their marriage, and a rabbi who neglected his shoes.

Read this book to open yourself up to seeing the world differently, and finding a better path forward.

You can find it on Amazon .

2. Being Present: A Book of Daily Reflections – David Kundtz

Being Present: A Book of Daily Reflections by David Kundtz

Being present can be defined as:

You can use this book as a reminder to be more present through every season of the year and every season of life. The book draws inspiration from poets, scientists, spiritual teachers, children, butterflies, and big cities, and teaches you to accept each day as one full of possibilities and potential surprises.

3. 52 Weeks of Self Reflection – Erika R. Dawkins

52 Weeks of Self Reflection

You can use this book to guide you through self-reflection. No matter your goal, this guidebook will help you clear your head, see the world from a new perspective, and build a greater understanding of yourself.

In this piece, we defined introspection, described the importance of self-reflection (especially healthy self-reflection), and provided many example exercises, activities, and worksheets for you to enhance your understanding of yourself.

Keep in mind that self-reflection is an intensely personal process. If you find other activities that work better for you, feel free to focus on those—but we’d love for you to come back here and share with us what works.

Do you have any other techniques for self-reflection that you like to use? How important do you think introspection is for the average person, or for yourself? Let us know in the comments.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Self Compassion Exercises for free .

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Lori Crouch

Thankyou for being so resourceful and kind to those like myself, who want to learn, grow & change, and bring more happiness to my journey. These are such a gift. May you in return feel our deeply grateful hearts, and smile inside. HugsXX

Koot van Nieuwholtz

This is a must for everyone out there – appreciated, Courtney!

Febry A

Thank you for writing this article. This article was very helpful for me, especially to follow up on the results of counseling in the form of self-reflection assignments

Tashika Ortiz

Self reflection can be tough and enlightening. One has to be willing to be critical and accepts what is discovered. Very insightful.

Chakrapani Sharma

This is really cool, when I read all the questions, I feel like someone asked me before posting these questions here. A lot of valuable information and indeed great questions to be asked to ourselves to know more about us.

Erika Cliett

With the pace of life it’s difficult to take the time to self-reflect. Getting a deeper understanding of who I am at this point in my life is a very important indicator of how I respond, receive information, cultivate relationships etc. Very insightful!

Autumn lashea

Thank you for your wisdom as my mom just died a month ago and its been really hard breaking through my own loops created by my mind , and trying to accept she gone . My gratitude for making something like this that is so insightful and informative , i have so much to learn and i just wanted to say thank you . For these keys so i can open these doors to my mind on this journey of healing …..

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A lot of valuable information. All such questions and tips are essential for personal and professional development. Thank you.

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Self Perception Essay

i am assignment on self perception

Show More Response Assignment 3 The self and our perception of others are thoughts that are constantly flowing through our minds subconsciously. Prior to reading the readings for the week, I did not realize the impact that our self-perception had on our daily lives and interactions. After recalling some of my instances, I realized that the interpretations that I have regarding my self-worth might not have been the most accurate. In this response, the two examples that I have chosen are events that either directly or indirectly relates to my days in high school. Specifically, how I was constantly comparing myself to my peers, how that perception might have been incorrect and how it changed as time progressed, and how a first impression was incorrectly …show more content… At the time, I didn’t think that I was as smart or as hardworking as they were. As stated in the reading, “Beliefs have to do with what is true or not” (page 3). At that point in time, regardless of what others thought or wondering whether by beliefs were true or not, I believed that I wasn’t good enough. This in turn affected the self-labels that I’ve implemented for myself, which “play a role in shaping our self-concept” (page 9). By thinking negatively about myself, it affected some of the actions I did around my friends. For example, after an evaluation, when someone asks me how it was, I would always say “I’m not sure” or “It was okay I guess”. By replying in such ways, regardless of whether I did good or bad, others wouldn’t think that I’m trying to come off as better than how I thought I was, or how I actually am. Although this was a negative representation of me in front of my peers, I would portray myself differently when I was in public with others. It was said that one’s actions in public are different than those in private (page 5). I was …show more content… When I was in high school, I had a friend who was nice, caring, thoughtful, and social. After starting university, we didn’t talk as much as before and what I know from his “new life” was only from what I saw on social media. The things that I saw gave me a negative impression of who he became. As stated in the reading, “we label people according to our first impressions in order to make some interpretations about them” (page 43). This personally affected me, as when he wanted to meet and catch up, I was reluctant because I didn’t want to interact with who I thought he became. I was also subconsciously stereotyping him with the reputation that his university has. After careful consideration, I still decided to meet with him because we were really close before. After our interaction, I realized that I misinterpreted and over generalized who I thought he was. He might have changed a little, but for the vast majority, he is still the person that I knew and remembered. To prevent situations like this from happening again, I will not be too quick to judge, possibly just keep my observations at the back of my mind while trying to find more evidence, and communicate with the person more to get a clear understanding of who they are. As advised by the reading, “serious problems can arise when people treat interpretations as if they were true” (page

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i am assignment on self perception

Self Perception Assessment – The Power of Perception

Learn how to create the right image of yourself by taking control of how others perceive you. Their perception of you will accurately reflect your impact on the organization. This is the power of perception in the workplace. 

Joel has given me valuable guidance on how to coach and develop my direct reports, helping me to navigate through some difficult decisions. And perhaps most significantly, Joel has helped me budget my weekly and daily work by priority and link to my annual objectives. Jocelyn Dunphy , Learning & Development Manager, Procter & Gamble

Every day of your life, people are determining what they think of you based on the actions and behaviors they observe from you. This process is the act of perceiving.

While you do not have control over how other view you, you do have control over your actions. Proactively shaping how others perceive you is a key strategy to standing out, gaining credit for your work and, ultimately, advancing your career .

As a leader in helping individuals apply executive coaching concepts for success in the workplace, Joel Garfinkle has designed the following self perception assessment to help you learn how others may think of you at work.

The Power of Perception Assessment

This power of perception assessment provides you with the top ten areas you must emphasize to positively influence how others perceive you. These focal areas are grounded in the Career Advancement Model that Joel has designed. As you go through each of the ten areas, notice which ones you are strong at and which ones need improvement.

After taking the self perception assessment below, you will receive feedback directly from Joel to help you improve your perception so that your impact at work is accurately noted.

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i am assignment on self perception

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2.4 Improving Perception

Learning objectives.

So far, we have learned about the perception process and how we perceive others and ourselves. Now we will turn to a discussion of how to improve our perception. Our self-perception can be improved by becoming aware of how schema, socializing forces, self-fulfilling prophecies, and negative patterns of thinking can distort our ability to describe and evaluate ourselves. How we perceive others can be improved by developing better listening and empathetic skills, becoming aware of stereotypes and prejudice, developing self-awareness through self-reflection, and engaging in perception checking.

Improving Self-Perception

Our self-perceptions can and do change. Recall that we have an overall self-concept and self-esteem that are relatively stable, and we also have context-specific self-perceptions. Context-specific self-perceptions vary depending on the person with whom we are interacting, our emotional state, and the subject matter being discussed. Becoming aware of the process of self-perception and the various components of our self-concept (which you have already started to do by studying this chapter) will help you understand and improve your self-perceptions.

Since self-concept and self-esteem are so subjective and personal, it would be inaccurate to say that someone’s self-concept is “right” or “wrong.” Instead, we can identify negative and positive aspects of self-perceptions as well as discuss common barriers to forming accurate and positive self-perceptions. We can also identify common patterns that people experience that interfere with their ability to monitor, understand, and change their self-perceptions. Changing your overall self-concept or self-esteem is not an easy task given that these are overall reflections on who we are and how we judge ourselves that are constructed over many interactions. A variety of life-changing events can relatively quickly alter our self-perceptions. Think of how your view of self changed when you moved from high school to college. Similarly, other people’s self-perceptions likely change when they enter into a committed relationship, have a child, make a geographic move, or start a new job.


Having a child can lead to a major change in a person’s self-concept.

Photophile – Father & Son 2055 – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Aside from experiencing life-changing events, we can make slower changes to our self-perceptions with concerted efforts aimed at becoming more competent communicators through self-monitoring and reflection. As you actively try to change your self-perceptions, do not be surprised if you encounter some resistance from significant others. When you change or improve your self-concept, your communication will also change, which may prompt other people to respond to you differently. Although you may have good reasons for changing certain aspects of your self-perception, others may become unsettled or confused by your changing behaviors and communication. Remember, people try to increase predictability and decrease uncertainty within personal relationships. For example, many students begin to take their college education more seriously during their junior and senior years. As these students begin to change their self-concept to include the role of “serious student preparing to graduate and enter the professional world,” they likely have friends that want to maintain the “semiserious student who doesn’t exert much consistent effort and prefers partying to studying” role that used to be a shared characteristic of both students’ self-concepts. As the first student’s behavior changes to accommodate this new aspect of his or her self-concept, it may upset the friend who was used to weeknights spent hanging out rather than studying. Let’s now discuss some suggestions to help avoid common barriers to accurate and positive self-perceptions and patterns of behavior that perpetuate negative self-perception cycles.

Avoid Reliance on Rigid Schema

As we learned earlier, schemata are sets of information based on cognitive and experiential knowledge that guide our interaction. We rely on schemata almost constantly to help us make sense of the world around us. Sometimes schemata become so familiar that we use them as scripts, which prompts mindless communication and can lead us to overlook new information that may need to be incorporated into the schema. So it’s important to remain mindful of new or contradictory information that may warrant revision of a schema. Being mindful is difficult, however, especially since we often unconsciously rely on schemata. Think about how when you’re driving a familiar route you sometimes fall under “highway hypnosis.” Despite all the advanced psychomotor skills needed to drive, such as braking, turning, and adjusting to other drivers, we can pull into a familiar driveway or parking lot having driven the whole way on autopilot. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. But have you slipped into autopilot on a familiar route only to remember that you are actually going somewhere else after you’ve already missed your turn? This example illustrates the importance of keeping our schemata flexible and avoiding mindless communication.

Be Critical of Socializing Forces

We learned earlier that family, friends, sociocultural norms, and the media are just some of the socializing forces that influence our thinking and therefore influence our self-perception. These powerful forces serve positive functions but can also set into motion negative patterns of self-perception. Two examples can illustrate the possibility for people to critique and resist socializing forces in order to improve their self-perception. The first deals with physical appearance and notions of health, and the second deals with cultural identities and discrimination.

We have already discussed how the media presents us with narrow and often unrealistic standards for attractiveness. Even though most of us know that these standards don’t represent what is normal or natural for the human body, we internalize these ideals, which results in various problems ranging from eating disorders, to depression, to poor self-esteem. A relatively overlooked but controversial and interesting movement that has emerged partially in response to these narrow representations of the body is the fat acceptance movement. The fat acceptance movement has been around for more than thirty years, but it has more recently gotten public attention due to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Kirstie Alley, who after years of publicly struggling with weight issues have embraced a view that weight does not necessarily correspond to health. Many people have found inspiration in that message and have decided that being healthy and strong is more important than being thin (Katz, 2009). The “Healthy at Every Size” movement and the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance have challenged the narrative put out by the thirty-billion-dollar-a-year weight-loss industry that fat equals lazy, ugly, and unhealthy. [1] Conflicting scientific studies make it difficult to say conclusively how strong the correlation is between weight and health, but it seems clear that a view that promotes healthy living and positive self-esteem over unconditional dieting and a cult of thinness is worth exploring more given the potential public health implications of distorted body image and obesity.


The “Healthy at Every Size” movement strives to teach people that being thin doesn’t necessarily mean a person is healthy.

Pixabay – CC0 public domain.

Cultural influences related to identities and difference can also lead to distorted self-perceptions, especially for people who occupy marginalized or oppressed identities. While perception research has often been used to support the notion that individuals who are subjected to discrimination, like racial and ethnic minorities, are likely to have low self-esteem because they internalize negative societal views, this is not always the case (Armenta & Hunt, 2009). In fact, even some early perception research showed that minorities do not just passively accept the negative views society places on them. Instead, they actively try to maintain favorable self-perceptions in the face of discriminatory attitudes. Numerous studies have shown that people in groups that are the targets of discrimination may identify with their in-group more because of this threat, which may actually help them maintain psychological well-being. In short, they reject the negative evaluations of the out-group and find refuge and support in their identification with others who share their marginalized status.

Beware of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Self-fulfilling prophecies are thought and action patterns in which a person’s false belief triggers a behavior that makes the initial false belief actually or seemingly come true (Guyll et al., 2010). For example, let’s say a student’s biology lab instructor is a Chinese person who speaks English as a second language. The student falsely believes that the instructor will not be a good teacher because he speaks English with an accent. Because of this belief, the student doesn’t attend class regularly and doesn’t listen actively when she does attend. Because of these behaviors, the student fails the biology lab, which then reinforces her original belief that the instructor wasn’t a good teacher.

Although the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies was originally developed to be applied to social inequality and discrimination, it has since been applied in many other contexts, including interpersonal communication. This research has found that some people are chronically insecure, meaning they are very concerned about being accepted by others but constantly feel that other people will dislike them. This can manifest in relational insecurity, which is again based on feelings of inferiority resulting from social comparison with others perceived to be more secure and superior. Such people often end up reinforcing their belief that others will dislike them because of the behaviors triggered by their irrational belief. Take the following scenario as an example: An insecure person assumes that his date will not like him. During the date he doesn’t engage in much conversation, discloses negative information about himself, and exhibits anxious behaviors. Because of these behaviors, his date forms a negative impression and suggests they not see each other again, reinforcing his original belief that the date wouldn’t like him. The example shows how a pattern of thinking can lead to a pattern of behavior that reinforces the thinking, and so on. Luckily, experimental research shows that self-affirmation techniques can be successfully used to intervene in such self-fulfilling prophecies. Thinking positive thoughts and focusing on personality strengths can stop this negative cycle of thinking and has been shown to have positive effects on academic performance, weight loss, and interpersonal relationships (Stinston et al., 2011).

Create and Maintain Supporting Interpersonal Relationships

Aside from giving yourself affirming messages to help with self-perception, it is important to find interpersonal support. Although most people have at least some supportive relationships, many people also have people in their lives who range from negative to toxic. When people find themselves in negative relational cycles, whether it is with friends, family, or romantic partners, it is difficult to break out of those cycles. But we can all make choices to be around people that will help us be who we want to be and not be around people who hinder our self-progress. This notion can also be taken to the extreme, however. It would not be wise to surround yourself with people who only validate you and do not constructively challenge you, because this too could lead to distorted self-perceptions.

Beware of Distorted Patterns of Thinking and Acting

You already know from our discussion of attribution errors that we all have perceptual biases that distort our thinking. Many of these are common, and we often engage in distorted thinking without being conscious of it. Learning about some of the typical negative patterns of thinking and acting may help us acknowledge and intervene in them. One such pattern involves self-esteem and overcompensation.


Some people have speculated that men who have a midlife crisis may overcompensate for a perceived loss in status or power due to age by purchasing material things that make them appear more youthful.

Kevin Dooley – Midlife crisis car – CC BY 2.0.

People with low self-esteem may act in ways that overcompensate for their feelings of low self-worth and other insecurities. Whether it’s the businessman buying his midlife crisis Corvette, the “country boy” adding monster tires to his truck, or the community leader who wears several carats of diamonds everywhere she goes, people often turn to material possessions to try to boost self-esteem. While these purchases may make people feel better in the short term, they may have negative financial effects that can exacerbate negative self-perceptions and lead to interpersonal conflict. People also compensate for self-esteem with their relational choices. A person who is anxious about his career success may surround himself with people who he deems less successful than himself. In this case, being a big fish in a small pond helps some people feel better about themselves when they engage in social comparison.

People can also get into a negative thought and action cycle by setting unrealistic goals and consistently not meeting them. Similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy, people who set unrealistic goals can end up with negative feelings of self-efficacy, which as we learned earlier, can negatively affect self-esteem and self-concept. The goals we set should be challenging but progressive, meaning we work to meet a realistic goal, then increase our expectations and set another goal, and so on.

Some people develop low self-esteem because they lack accurate information about themselves, which may be intentional or unintentional. A person can intentionally try to maintain high self-esteem by ignoring or downplaying negative comments and beliefs and focusing on positive evaluations. While this can be a good thing, it can also lead to a distorted self-concept. There is a middle ground between beating yourself up or dwelling on the negative and ignoring potentially constructive feedback about weaknesses and missing opportunities to grow as a person. Conversely, people who have low self-esteem or negative self-concepts may discount or ignore positive feedback. To wrap up this section, I’d like to turn to one of my favorite shows and a great source for examples relevant to the perception process: American Idol .

I’ve always enjoyed showing clips from American Idol auditions in my class when I teach about self-perception. As you probably know, the season always starts with audition footage shot in various cities. The range of singing abilities, not to mention personalities, of those who show up for a chance to sing in front of the judges leads millions of viewers to keep tuning in. While it’s obvious that the producers let some people through who they know don’t have a chance at making it on the show, they also know that certain personalities make for good reality television viewing. I’ve often found myself wondering, “Do these people really think they can sing?” The answer is sometimes a very clear “Yes!” Sure, some are there just to make a spectacle and hopefully make it on TV, but there are many who actually believe they have singing abilities—even to the point that they challenge and discount the judges’ comments.


Some contestants on American Idol find it difficult to accept the constructive criticism they receive from the judges because they have distorted self-perceptions about their singing abilities.

Beth – American Idol Experience 9258 – CC BY 2.0.

During the contestant’s tearful and/or angry postrejection interview, they are often shown standing with their family and friends, who are also surprised at the judges’ decision. These contestants could potentially avoid this emotional ending by following some of the previous tips. It’s good that they have supportive interpersonal relationships, but people’s parents and friends are a little biased in their feedback, which can lead to a skewed self-concept. These contestants could also set incremental goals. Singing at a local event or even at a karaoke bar might have helped them gain more accurate information about their abilities and led them to realize they didn’t have what it takes to be an “American idol.”

Overcoming Barriers to Perceiving Others

There are many barriers that prevent us from competently perceiving others. While some are more difficult to overcome than others, they can all be addressed by raising our awareness of the influences around us and committing to monitoring, reflecting on, and changing some of our communication habits. Whether it is our lazy listening skills, lack of empathy, or stereotypes and prejudice, various filters and blinders influence how we perceive and respond to others.

Develop Empathetic Listening Skills

As we will learn in Chapter 5 “Listening” , effective listening is not easy, and most of us do not make a concerted effort to overcome common barriers to listening. Our fast-paced lives and cultural values that emphasize speaking over listening sometimes make listening feel like a chore. But we shouldn’t underestimate the power of listening to make someone else feel better and to open our perceptual field to new sources of information. Empathetic listening can also help us expand our self- and social awareness by learning from other people’s experiences and taking on different perspectives. Empathetic listening is challenging because it requires cognitive and emotional investment that goes beyond the learning of a skill set.

I didn’t know what a lazy listener I was until I started teaching and realized how much time and effort teachers have to put into their jobs. Honestly, at first it was challenging to attentively listen to student issues, thoughts, and questions, but I immediately saw the value in it. To be a good teacher, I had to become a better listener. As a result, I also gained more empathy skills and became a lot more patient. A valuable lesson I learned during this time is best stated as follows: “Everyone’s biggest problem is his or her biggest problem.” If one person’s biggest problem is getting enough money together to buy a new cell phone and another person’s biggest problem is getting enough money together to get much needed medication, each of these people is likely experiencing a similar amount of stress. As an outsider, we might look at this example and think about how a cell phone isn’t necessary to live but the medication is. But everyone’s reality is his or her reality, and when you can concede that someone’s reality isn’t like yours and you are OK with that, then you have overcome a significant barrier to becoming more aware of the perception process.

I recently had a good student inform me that he was leaving school to pursue other things. He had given speeches about wildfire firefighting and beer brewing and was passionate about both of those things, but not school. As an academic and lover of and advocate for higher education, I wouldn’t have made that choice for myself or for him. But I am not him, and I can’t assume his perceptions are consistent with mine. I think he was surprised when I said, “I think you are a smart and capable adult, and this is your decision to make, and I respect that. School is not going anywhere, so it’ll be here when you’re ready to come back. In the meantime, I’d be happy to be a reference for any jobs you’re applying for. Just let me know.” I wanted to make it clear that I didn’t perceive him as irresponsible, immature, misguided, or uncommitted. He later told me that he appreciated my reaction that day.

Beware of Stereotypes and Prejudice

Stereotypes are sets of beliefs that we develop about groups, which we then apply to individuals from that group. Stereotypes are schemata that are taken too far, as they reduce and ignore a person’s individuality and the diversity present within a larger group of people. Stereotypes can be based on cultural identities, physical appearance, behavior, speech, beliefs, and values, among other things, and are often caused by a lack of information about the target person or group (Guyll et al., 2010). Stereotypes can be positive, negative, or neutral, but all run the risk of lowering the quality of our communication.

While the negative effects of stereotypes are pretty straightforward in that they devalue people and prevent us from adapting and revising our schemata, positive stereotypes also have negative consequences. For example, the “model minority” stereotype has been applied to some Asian cultures in the United States. Seemingly positive stereotypes of Asian Americans as hardworking, intelligent, and willing to adapt to “mainstream” culture are not always received as positive and can lead some people within these communities to feel objectified, ignored, or overlooked.

Stereotypes can also lead to double standards that point to larger cultural and social inequalities. There are many more words to describe a sexually active female than a male, and the words used for females are disproportionately negative, while those used for males are more positive. Since stereotypes are generally based on a lack of information, we must take it upon ourselves to gain exposure to new kinds of information and people, which will likely require us to get out of our comfort zones. When we do meet people, we should base the impressions we make on describable behavior rather than inferred or secondhand information. When stereotypes negatively influence our overall feelings and attitudes about a person or group, prejudiced thinking results.


Prejudice surrounding the disease we now know as AIDS delayed government investment in researching its causes and developing treatments.

Sassy mom – AIDS Awareness – CC BY-NC 2.0.

Prejudice is negative feelings or attitudes toward people based on their identity or identities. Prejudice can have individual or widespread negative effects. At the individual level, a hiring manager may not hire a young man with a physical disability (even though that would be illegal if it were the only reason), which negatively affects that one man. However, if pervasive cultural thinking that people with physical disabilities are mentally deficient leads hiring managers all over the country to make similar decisions, then the prejudice has become a social injustice. In another example, when the disease we know today as AIDS started killing large numbers of people in the early 1980s, response by some health and government officials was influenced by prejudice. Since the disease was primarily affecting gay men, Haitian immigrants, and drug users, the disease was prejudged to be a disease that affected only “deviants” and therefore didn’t get the same level of attention it would have otherwise. It took many years, investment of much money, and education campaigns to help people realize that HIV and AIDS do not prejudge based on race or sexual orientation and can affect any human.

Engage in Self-Reflection

A good way to improve your perceptions and increase your communication competence in general is to engage in self-reflection. If a communication encounter doesn’t go well and you want to know why, your self-reflection will be much more useful if you are aware of and can recount your thoughts and actions.

Self-reflection can also help us increase our cultural awareness. Our thought process regarding culture is often “other focused,” meaning that the culture of the other person or group is what stands out in our perception. However, the old adage “know thyself” is appropriate, as we become more aware of our own culture by better understanding other cultures and perspectives. Developing cultural self-awareness often requires us to get out of our comfort zones. Listening to people who are different from us is a key component of developing self-knowledge. This may be uncomfortable, because our taken-for-granted or deeply held beliefs and values may become less certain when we see the multiple perspectives that exist.

We can also become more aware of how our self-concepts influence how we perceive others. We often hold other people to the standards we hold for ourselves or assume that their self-concept should be consistent with our own. For example, if you consider yourself a neat person and think that sloppiness in your personal appearance would show that you are unmotivated, rude, and lazy, then you are likely to think the same of a person you judge to have a sloppy appearance. So asking questions like “Is my impression based on how this person wants to be, or how I think this person should want to be?” can lead to enlightening moments of self-reflection. Asking questions in general about the perceptions you are making is an integral part of perception checking, which we will discuss next.

Checking Perception

Perception checking is a strategy to help us monitor our reactions to and perceptions about people and communication. There are some internal and external strategies we can use to engage in perception checking. In terms of internal strategies, review the various influences on perception that we have learned about in this chapter and always be willing to ask yourself, “What is influencing the perceptions I am making right now?” Even being aware of what influences are acting on our perceptions makes us more aware of what is happening in the perception process. In terms of external strategies, we can use other people to help verify our perceptions.

The cautionary adage “Things aren’t always as they appear” is useful when evaluating your own perceptions. Sometimes it’s a good idea to bounce your thoughts off someone, especially if the perceptions relate to some high-stakes situation. But not all situations allow us the chance to verify our perceptions. Preventable crimes have been committed because people who saw something suspicious didn’t report it even though they had a bad feeling about it. Of course, we have to walk a line between being reactionary and being too cautious, which is difficult to manage. We all know that we are ethically and sometimes legally required to report someone to the police who is harming himself or herself or others, but sometimes the circumstances are much more uncertain.

The Tony Award–winning play Doubt: A Parable and the Academy Award–winning movie based on it deal with the interplay of perception, doubt, and certainty. In the story, which is set in a Bronx, New York, Catholic school in 1964, a young priest with new ideas comes into the school, which is run by a traditional nun who, like many, is not fond of change. The older nun begins a campaign to get the young priest out of her school after becoming convinced that he has had an inappropriate relationship with one of the male students. No conclusive evidence is offered during the course of the story, and the audience is left, as are the characters in the story, to determine for themselves whether or not the priest is “guilty.” The younger priest doesn’t fit into the nun’s schema of how a priest should look and act. He has longer fingernails than other priests, he listens to secular music, and he takes three sugars in his tea. A series of perceptions like this lead the nun to certainty of the priest’s guilt, despite a lack of concrete evidence. Although this is a fictional example, it mirrors many high-profile cases of abuse that have been in the news in recent years. Hopefully we will not find ourselves in such an uncertain and dire position, but in these extreme cases and more mundane daily interactions, perception checking can be useful.

“Getting Competent”

Perception Checking

Perception checking helps us slow down perception and communication processes and allows us to have more control over both. Perception checking involves being able to describe what is happening in a given situation, provide multiple interpretations of events or behaviors, and ask yourself and others questions for clarification. Some of this process happens inside our heads, and some happens through interaction. Let’s take an interpersonal conflict as an example.

Stefano and Patrick are roommates. Stefano is in the living room playing a video game when he sees Patrick walk through the room with his suitcase and walk out the front door. Since Patrick didn’t say or wave good-bye, Stefano has to make sense of this encounter, and perception checking can help him do that. First, he needs to try to describe (not evaluate yet) what just happened. This can be done by asking yourself, “What is going on?” In this case, Patrick left without speaking or waving good-bye. Next, Stefano needs to think of some possible interpretations of what just happened. One interpretation could be that Patrick is mad about something (at him or someone else). Another could be that he was in a hurry and simply forgot, or that he didn’t want to interrupt the video game. In this step of perception checking, it is good to be aware of the attributions you are making. You might try to determine if you are overattributing internal or external causes. Lastly, you will want to verify and clarify. So Stefano might ask a mutual friend if she knows what might be bothering Patrick or going on in his life that made him leave so suddenly. Or he may also just want to call, text, or speak to Patrick. During this step, it’s important to be aware of punctuation. Even though Stefano has already been thinking about this incident, and is experiencing some conflict, Patrick may have no idea that his actions caused Stefano to worry. If Stefano texts and asks why he’s mad (which wouldn’t be a good idea because it’s an assumption) Patrick may become defensive, which could escalate the conflict. Stefano could just describe the behavior (without judging Patrick) and ask for clarification by saying, “When you left today you didn’t say bye or let me know where you were going. I just wanted to check to see if things are OK.”

The steps of perception checking as described in the previous scenario are as follows:

Key Takeaways

Armenta, B. E. and Jennifer S. Hunt, “Responding to Societal Devaluation: Effects of Perceived Personal and Group Discrimination on the Ethnic Group Identification and Personal Self-Esteem of Latino/Latina Adolescents,” Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 12, no. 1 (2009): 11–12.

Guyll, M., et al., “The Potential Roles of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies, Stigma Consciousness, and Stereotype Threat in Linking Latino/a Ethnicity and Educational Outcomes,” Social Issues 66, no. 1 (2010): 116.

Katz, M., “Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat,” The New York Times , July 16, 2009, accessed June 6, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/health/nutrition/16skin.html .

Stinson, D. A., et al., “Rewriting the Self-Fulfililng Prophecy of Social Rejection: Self-Affirmation Improves Relational Security and Social Behavior up to 2 Months Later,” Psychological Science 20, no. 10 (2011): 2.

Communication in the Real World by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Mental Health

11 Remarkable Traits of People with Positive Self-Perception

The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself

Woman smiling at camera in a nod to positive self-perception

In simplest form, self-perception is how we view ourselves. Our self-perception, also referred to as self-concept, can influence our judgment, mood, and behaviors. If we have a positive perception of ourselves, we will most likely have more positive thoughts and beliefs about the world overall, which in turn can lead to more frequent positive behaviors.

We can think of self-perception as the lens through which we view ourselves and the world. And since our self-concept contributes to our sense of identity over time, it’s important to note that it may shift in accordance with various life changes. Brittany Bate, PhD, founder of Be BOLD Psychology and Consulting , explains for example, if an employee gets a raise or promotion, their self-perception regarding their competencies and overall self-worth will likely trend upwards. It’s the fluid basis for how we navigate through life.

Read more: 20 Signs You’re Too Self-Critical at Work

Why positive self-perception is important 

Positive self-perception helps us cope with inevitable workplace situations like rejection and failure in a healthy way. Bate says that usually, people with a more positive self-perception have more positive “core beliefs,” unconscious beliefs about oneself—like feeling competent and worthy. When they engage in positive self-talk, they’ll be more likely to internalize that positivity and cope with negative feelings. 

A negative self-perception may include core beliefs like feeling damaged or worthless. A person with a negative self-perception views themselves and others more negatively, resulting in consequences:

Emotionally: higher levels of depression and anxiety , lower self-esteem

Behaviorally: declining invitations to social gatherings, not applying for a job or promotion

Interpersonally: difficulty maintaining friendships, engaging in self-sabotage in relationships

Read more: How & Where to Find Help if You’re Depressed & Unemployed

A "self-perception in the workplace" example for perspective 

Let’s add texture to understand the differences psychologically. Consider two women in the same position, who receive the exact same workplace evaluation: Above average or excellent in eight out of 10 categories, and below average in two categories. 

Bate says, “A person with a positive self-perception, who views themselves as a strong, valuable employee may have a positive overall response to this evaluation. They likely have positive core beliefs like, ‘I am valuable, capable, and smart,’ which affects how they view the evaluation:”

Emotionally: feeling happy, proud, and motivated

Behaviorally: continuing to perform well, interacting positively with their managers , applying for a promotion , taking on new responsibilities 

On the other hand, let’s imagine how a person with a more negative self-perception would react to that exact same evaluation. “If this person already has more negative core beliefs like, ‘I am incompetent, and I don’t deserve this job,’ they may only focus on the two categories where they were below average, negating the other eight categories where they were clearly excelling,” says Bate. This will affect them:

Emotionally: feeling anxious, sad, frustrated, and embarrassed, believing “I can never do anything right, and I am one mistake away from being fired”

Behaviorally: becoming more distracted at work, avoiding their manager or colleagues, calling out of work more often, not applying for a promotion

As you can see, self-perception can lead two people to view the exact same situation very differently, and can ultimately contribute to very different emotional and behavioral outcomes. Since you are the owner of your self-perception, it’s important to check-in with yourself in order to unleash your highest potential. 

Read more: How to Become More Self-Aware

11 psychology-based traits associated with positive self-perception

1. not dwelling on the past.

Focusing on all of your past mistakes or regrets is a recipe for disaster. People with positive self-perception focus on the current moment and on moving forward. Whenever you find yourself overthinking situations from the past, ask yourself why those thoughts are holding you back from your goals for the future. 

2. Reframing self-talk language 

We all experience negative emotions. Instead of internalizing negative thoughts as true statements, people with positive self-perception alter their self-talk to recognize emotions for what they are in the heat of the moment. Instead of saying, “I’m a horrible employee, I’ll never stop making mistakes,” they say, “I made a mistake at work that affected my performance and happiness. I’m going to learn from this experience and use it to improve going forward.”

3. Welcoming all types of feedback

Bate says people with positive self-perception tend to respond better to critique and feedback. They’re able to focus on the positive aspects of any given situation and listen intently to others’ perspectives without getting defensive. 

Read more: How to Handle Feedback (Good and Bad) at Work

4. Firmly trusting personal judgment

“People with positive self-concepts tend to have more positive, healthy interpersonal relationships,” says Bate. They are, however, comfortable voicing their own opinion and don’t feel guilty about their choices if someone doesn’t agree. March to the beat of your own drum!

5. Viewing themselves as smart, capable, and valuable 

Bate says, “People with a positive self-perception tend to move through the world with these qualities at the front and center of their interactions, resulting in more positive interpersonal, occupational, and emotional outcomes.” If a person views themselves as capable, they will feel more able to effectively cope with challenges and be more resilient when experiencing setbacks .

6. Celebrating small wins

People with positive self-perception celebrate their small wins and don’t live by the standards of anyone else but themselves. They champion their successes to remind themselves that they’re constantly making progress. Always be your own biggest cheerleader. 

7. Not comparing themselves to others

Build up positive self-perception by focusing on your unique strengths instead of where you fall short compared to colleagues or friends. If you feel amazing after completing a big work presentation, focus on that feeling of accomplishment instead of replaying your colleague’s presentation in your head to compare. 

8. Knowing that perfect is the enemy of good

When you aim for perfection, you’re aiming for unattainable standards that’ll only result in headaches and frustration. You’ll never take a first step if you’re paralyzed by indecision from the get-go.

Read more: Get a Boost from These 48 Positive Quotes from Women

9. Being driven by tangible truths

Negative self-perception is often driven by how we believe others are perceiving us. And it’s all down to psychology—cultivation theory argues that until we come to an authentic conclusion about who we are, we are only a reflection of the opinions of other people. So, the next time you have negative thoughts about yourself or your performance, stop for a second and think: Are you feeling this way because of someone else’s opinion or a tangible truth? 

10. Having a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset means that you acknowledge and embrace weaknesses instead of shying away from them, prioritize learning over seeking approval, and understand failures as opportunities to grow. Want to visualize your goals and growth in a tangible way? Create a vision board . 

11. Constantly striving for positive self-perception

Positive self-perception is an intentional, learned behavior. Recognize when negative thoughts are creeping in and repeat a mantra to remind yourself of your purpose and confidence. 

Read more: Know Thyself: How to Write a Constructive Self-Evaluation

About our source

Brittany Bate, Ph.D., has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in forensic psychology and assessment, from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Dr. Bate has significant experience providing court-ordered assessment and therapeutic services at the state and federal level and is comfortable in the provision of expert testimony. At present, Dr. Bate is the Founder/Owner of Be BOLD Psychology and Consulting, offering clinical and forensic services throughout North Carolina via a telehealth platform. Dr. Bate works with folx of all ages, and provides individual, group, family, and relationship therapy. Dr. Bate enjoys working with folx from the gender-diverse and/or queer communities and specializes in providing treatment for trauma, grief, loss, and addiction. You can learn more about Dr. Bate at https://beboldpsychnc.com .

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