Every time we prepare for a meeting, or an interview, or even the first date, the one thing on our mind is what impression of us other people would get.

During every interaction, somewhere deep down we care what others think of us, even if they know them or not. But, however much we try to judge by their behavior, we never really know what is going inside their head.

The usual methods of ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’ doesn’t really work; so why is that?

Well, the fact is, even if we think we are looking at ourselves from someone else’s point of view, we aren’t. It is quite hard to get out of ourselves, and be objective about us, it’s impossible for us to forget everything we know about ourselves.

After all, who other than us knows every single detail about us? That’s why it never works. We are always looking at ourselves through multiple filters of self knowledge; whereas the other person, especially a stranger doesn’t have a single clue about our ideology, our experiences and so on.

However, there is one method which seems to work in such cases; that of abstract thought. To help people think abstractly about themselves, they we’re asked to describe how they think their future self would be.

In doing so, they come the closest to accurately describing themselves how strangers perceive them. Though this method only works for complete strangers, and not near and dear ones. Our family for instance, knows quite a lot about us, even if not everything.

It is easy for us to be able to judge what they think about us. But whenever we are worried about how strangers look at us, we usually have nothing to worry about really, because if we look at the situation abstractly, nothing is as serious as we think, even the embarrassing way in which we spilled our drink all over ourselves and now think everyone is judging us on.

So, relax, take a deep breath and be yourself. Being who you really are is easy. What is difficult is wearing a mask, pretending to be something you aren’t. Eventually, you get tired and frustrated.

Opinions of others are not important. Only matters what you think and how you feel. 

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