Does the self-image correspond to the truth?

Does the self-image correspond to the truth?

Are we sure that the way we define ourselves is true? Or do we have a distorted view of ourselves?

Last update: 09 September, 2020

Do you think your friends or a relative would describe you with the same words you would use? Generally, self-image is true, so is it objective, or is it perhaps distorted? To find out if the way we define ourselves corresponds to reality, just play a little game.



The experiment is simple: the next time you get together with friends or relatives, each one in turn will have to define one of the present using 3 adjectives. Do you think the characteristics that others see in you are true? Why don't they match?

This phenomenon occurs due to some cognitive distortions. Such distortions offer an unreal or idealized or distorted and pessimistic self-image. So when we think we drive better than others, we talk about positive distortion; believing that you are uglier than others is a negative distortion.

Self-image and comparison with reality

How we describe ourselves affects our mood. According to some recent studies, we tend to see reality according to positive cognitive distortions and to accept information that is familiar to us or closer to what we know.

At the same time, we tend to judge our past behavior better than it actually was e we think we have had fewer successes and more failures than actual ones.

Does the way you define yourself correspond to the truth?

Cognitive distortions or bias

There are several cognitive distortions that come into play when it comes to processing information; the most common ones affect the way we define ourselves, they are:



  • Selective perception: it is activated when we turn our attention to information with positive content, regarding actions and self-image.
  • Confirmation bias: in this case, our efforts are aimed at confirming hypotheses that we already had, thus seeking confirmation of our ideas or the image we have of ourselves.
  • Complacency: we tend to perceive ourselves as masters of our successes and only passive spectators of our failures.
  • Optimistic bias: we tend to think that we have had more positive experiences than others; therefore it is less likely that unpleasant events will happen to us.
  • Illusion of invulnerability: it is the direct consequence of the optimistic bias; that is, we tend to think we are less likely to have negative experiences; we believe we are immune or able to control events better than we actually do.

How do cognitive distortions affect self-image?

How can we change something about us that we don't even consider wrong? How can we grow if we are unable to see where we are wrong or where we could improve?


We think others are responsible for our undoing or to know each other perfectly just because we spend the whole day with ourselves, but in reality this is not the case at all.

If every time unforeseen or failure we asked ourselves what went wrong, how much it depended on us, in what we can improve or change in order not to relive the same consequences, then we could say that we are closer to knowing ourselves, to growth, to reality.

Cognitive distortions tend to give us a more positive point of view about our person. A distorted perception that in some cases will help us, while in others it will hinder us. For example, if we believe we are driving better than we actually do, we would probably be more assertive, but also more uncompromising.


It is therefore important to know these cognitive distortions, be aware of their power and use their effects to our advantage.

Knowing and knowing how cognitive distortions work is essential if we want to influence our way of defining ourselves.

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