Did you know that thanks to a psychological theory called the mirror image self, your self-image is formed and modifyed by the people around you?
Who are you? Are you funny, smart, pretty? You may be surprised to learn that a lot of what you believe yourself to be actually comes from your mirror image self. As children, we interact with each other in a more honest and blunt manner. People’s faults and qualities are pointed out more honestly and this feedback registers in your brain, forming your own image of who you are.
Whilst the mirror image self predominantly forms our self-image as a child, it has an impact on who we feel we are throughout our life. If people react to you in a certain way, you actually begin to portray a certain person, which is ok, as long as it’s accurate.
Popular Social Science notes that we are not consciously aware of how can may try to conform to the image of what we think other people expect from us. Sometimes, others evaluations mean more to us than our own, and we act according to others opinions and reactions, meaning we are not true to ourselves. If people react to us negatively, it can be healthy and show us where we go wrong. When this process goes too far however, a person can develop a low self-esteem from looking outwards rather than to themselves. What we need to do is develop a self-image that is based on our own evaluations as well as how we believe others look at us.
The concept of the mirror image self is a useful one to know about. If you know your identity is partly formed by how others react to you can take control over the process. The trick is use balance, have the theory to bring in valuable feedback, but decide who you want to be, under your own terms.