Have you ever considered that through your appearance, behaviour and words that you generate a brand for yourself? Sometimes this can occur in the first moments that you meet someone. You create such a strong first impression that in their mind (often unconsciously) you are pigeon holed as a particular type of person with a particular set of attributes. What can then occur is that they feed that impression back to you thus reinforcing it.
So for example, if you are prone to self-deprecating humour as an ice breaking technique when meeting new people, this can have the consequence that they may not take you seriously when you’re making a serious point. Sometimes we try to play down our talents and achievements because we’ve been brought up to believe that modesty is a virtue, we try to put other people at ease by being light hearted often at our own expense. The problem is that a lot of people on the receiving end of this behaviour don’t see it for what it is. They chose to take what you’re saying as a literal evaluation of your abilities; sometimes they do this unwittingly and sometimes deliberately because they themselves have low self-esteem issues and they need to see you as “less than” to feel better about themselves. They then perceive you as someone that’s not that good at this or that, and when you suggest that you’re going to attempt it they quickly remind you that you’re doomed to failure and your confidence takes another knock.
To give one of many examples from my own experience I once booked in to do a course, and due to an unforeseen change in my circumstance I had to withdraw. I jokingly related this to my partner at the time, in an ”oh oh typical me” fashion. It wasn't “typical me” at all, I was actually very disappointed about not being able to complete it and I was downplaying my disappointment; however he took this literally. Thereafter any time I mentioned wanting to re-enroll in that course or do any other course, he would laugh and say “oh you’ll never do it, you always quit” and then tease me ad nauseum about even thinking about it (yes his own insecurities were a major factor !). This created a fear in me, a fear that if I attempted it and failed I’d be proving him right and that I’d never hear the humiliating end of it, so to avoid that risk I didn't do any courses!
We create a perception of ourselves; people receive it in accordance with how they view the world. Everybody views the world differently, largely according to how they feel about themselves. They then feed this perception back to us. If we’re not cognisant of how their own feelings about themselves are influencing this feedback, it can create a kind of cognitive dissonance, and ultimately a one dimensional type casting syndrome for us that we become trapped in. We can fall into the habit of living up (or down!) to other people’s expectations of us rather than being true to ourselves.
So how do we avoid this? By becoming more conscious about being our own Brand Manager! This doesn't mean that we can never make a joke at our own expense again, but it does mean that we become aware of the consistency of the message we send out about ourselves. We don’t continue to go along with a joke that applied to a specific situation in our life when we find it’s being applied to others. We don’t let other people steer us into a one-track behaviour based on their perception. If necessary we re-brand ourselves, we actively promote the aspects of ourselves that we feel best represent us, not the aspects that are most acceptable to the company at hand. We do this by firstly
Think about the aforementioned items, write down your answers and read over them. Use the answers to write a mission statement about who you are and how you want your life to be.
Now with those answers in mind, sit quietly with your eyes closed. Take 3 slow deep breaths, and get a clearly defined impression of yourself as the person you want to be. Absorb the words that you've written. Feel how it is to be the person you want to be. With each intake of breath breath in more of that person; with each exhale get rid of the labels that no longer fit you. Adopt the posture of the person you want to be. Feel the confidence of knowing who you are. Feel the confidence moving all the way through your body. Feel it right through to your centre. Sit with this for a while.
This is who you are. From here you are evolving and growing every day, but this is the essence of who you are. This is the person you will present to the world.
When people misrepresent you back to yourself, you will recognize it for what it is, simply their view of you in the world as influenced by how they feel about themselves. You will address it by being true to yourself.
If you would like assistance in exploring who you are, finding your confidence and reducing the anxiety and stress associated with change, Hypnotherapy can be of immense help. Please give me a call at Hypfocus Therapies and Training on 0435 923 817.
Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina spent many years working in senior management in the Corporate world, before leaving to pursue her passion to become a Therapist.
Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person