Motivational quotes and self-help articles have put in us this idea that we can live without caring at all what others think of us. But this is unrealistic.
As social creatures, we will always pay attention to the way we are perceived by others. The question is, how vulnerable are you to people’s perceptions of you?
Paying attention to what others say isn’t all useless. As the relationship therapist Esther Perel explained to Lewis Howes in an interview, it takes a relationship for you to truly know yourself. Why?
Left to our self-assessment, we will miss vital details necessary to make the right changes to make ourselves better. However, looking up to others for our self-evaluation can come with a lot of downsides.
Sometimes we end up seeing ourselves as less perfect than we are. And according to several scientific types of research, here are some reasons why.
1. Body Shape and Size
In an elaborate study that involved female participants from 26 countries, researchers asked the ladies the body shape and size they thought were the most desirable to men.
Interestingly, most of the women in the study assumed that men found slim and big-breasted women more desirable. And these standards made the women judge themselves harshly when they think of their physical desirability.
The findings in this research will not be a shocker to most people. In this era of social media and paparazzi, we see these ideals displayed all over our faces. Music videos, movies, Ad agencies like to use perfect-looking people.
In reality, there are so many people without perfect physic or flawless skin who are still highly attractive. But because of the unrealistic standards that they’ve seen all around them, they think that’s the ideal they should aim for.
Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with improving yourself or getting into shape, however, that improvement should not come from a place of insecurity. It should come from your desire to grow and be a better version of yourself.
2. You’re Blind To The Most Important Things
Indeed, your looks matter. But have you ever met a good-looking person that was a total turn-off a few minutes after?
According to research, when you pay attention to only physical attractiveness, you miss the most important factors influencing how people perceive you.
As Madeleine Fugere, a professor of social psychology at Eastern Connecticut state university, explained in Psychology Today, the major reason we find our partners more attractive than strangers is because we know them beyond just their looks.
Over time, your physical attractiveness to your partner will be more about how you make each other feel. The respect, love, care you have for each other will deepen your attraction towards yourselves.
It’s just the same for friends or colleagues at work too.
Let’s say you’re average-looking, and you just got a new job. Your colleagues are going to form a rough opinion about you based on how you look. But as time goes on, they’ll begin to apply more color to the picture.
When they see you’re honest, caring, trustworthy, disciplined, you appear even more attractive to them.
The bottom line is, attraction goes beyond looks. And if you’re overlooking your good attitude in evaluating how attractive you are, you’re probably not judging yourself accurately.
Interesting: 4 Mistakes That Make You Less Attractive
3. Unfair Comparisons
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” ― Marcus Aurelius
The author and therapist, Shannon Alder also echoed what Marcus Aurelius said centuries ago when she said, “Personality begins where comparison leaves off.”
When we compare ourselves to others, we measure ourselves against something that doesn’t exist. This is why you cannot win the game of comparison.
Studies show when we are shown photos of very beautiful people, not only does our self-esteem drop, we also think of ourselves as less attractive.
Now imagine how many hours people spend on social media every day looking at perfect, filtered photos. You may not be consciously aware of it, but always being exposed to and comparing yourself to those perfect pictures makes you think less of yourself. This is probably why social media increases the risk of depression.
There are some people who overestimate their physical attractiveness, but on average, as research has shown, most people tend to underestimate how physically attractive they are.
The explosion of social media has made unrealistic standards and unfair comparisons the leading causes of this dilemma. Hence, we all need to cut ourselves some slack.
A perfect picture doesn’t equal a perfect life. Build on your attitude and be proud of what you have going on for yourself.
Related: 4 Simple Changes That Make You Less Attractive