a photo of someone’s reflection on a mirror shard

The Distorted Looking Glass

Photo by Lamar Belina

The Abba Traditions book on the Theory of Everything posits that people have different perceptions of reality depending on how they see the world. In line with this theory, people may also perceive themselves a little differently than how others do.

Back in 2015, a photograph made its way around the world, astonishing people. “The Dress” photo divided people into seeing a gold-white dress or a blue-black one on a single photograph of a dress. A simple trick of lighting and exposure became grounds for people to question how they perceive and understand reality.

To this day, not many can fully explain how the phenomenon occurred, and the recent physics Nobel prize winners may exacerbate this confusion among people.

The research to explain the complex world of quantum mechanics laid the groundwork to conclude that the universe may not be “locally real.” In this sense, local means worldly objects are influenced by their surroundings, and this so-called influence can’t travel any faster than light.

Additionally, “real” signifies that things have definite properties regardless of people’s observations. For instance, the moon still exists even without anybody looking at it.

People’s Perception of Themselves

This means that objects might not have definite properties outside people’s observation. People might ask how they genuinely perceive themselves and their lives.

In The Abba Tradition’s book on the Theory of Everything, it’s posed that people must consider the physical, psychological, spiritual, and transcendent growth to encompass what life is.

This theory emphasizes seeing the whole and the parts to see who one is. It offers a new way of seeing the reality of who people are and the reality that lies in the worlds they live, hinting that people’s perceptions are different than each other. Hence, how one sees himself may differ from how another sees him. There’s no surefire way of telling whose perception is correct because there’s no “locally real” reality, including how one sees himself.

How One Perceives Himself Differently Than Others

In psychology, this theory is commonly called the “Looking-Glass Self.” This describes the process where individuals base their perception of themselves on how they believe others view them. This process, paired with people’s internalized personal biases, leads to this disparity of perception.

Imposter Syndrome

Ever experienced receiving a compliment and not believing anything the person is saying? “Are they truly describing me?” “Do they think I’m competent in that skill?” This is the typical thought process of people experiencing imposter syndrome.

This refers to the internal experience of not believing that the person is as competent as how others see them, leading to them doubting their abilities and talents. In extreme cases, people may feel like they’re a fraud and experience a subtle sense of dissociation.

The disparity in perception comes from people’s lack of self-esteem, a lacking belief that they’re doing well or better than what they believe. Hence, when people describe them as doing well in certain activities, they tend to perform poorly and prove them wrong.

Unfair Comparisons

Social media’s significant involvement in people’s lives makes them feel an unfair dissatisfaction with how their lives play out. Not realizing or considering that social media users only put out their best experiences, people continue to look at these as how an “ideal life” should be.

This constant comparison causes people distress and thinks of themselves as less on many levels – a misperception of their genuine selves. Simply because they aren’t satisfied with their lives due to social media’s influence, people perceive themselves differently than how they genuinely are.

Confirmation Bias

Over time because of the different situations people have experienced, they may begin to form preconceived notions or characteristics they have associated with themselves.

In line with this preconception, they may interpret the world in a way that confirms the characteristics they have about themselves. People have intensely perceived and believed themselves to be this way. Thus, they only seek affirmations of what they’ve long believed in.

This isn’t an issue if their preconceptions are positive. Such that if they consider themselves to be intelligent or kind, then they will interpret people’s sentiments and behavior around them to be in line with these notions.

The disparity begins if they have extremely negative perceptions of themselves. In this situation, they may think that others also see them in the same light they see themselves.


Some people may want to preserve a good reputation. To do this, they may make excuses for their experiences and behaviors that maintain a positive perception and protect themselves. It’s similar to looking at the situation in a positive light. For instance, they may defend themselves when they fail a job interview or promotion and rationalize they don’t want the position. But more often than not, this rationalization is the complete opposite of what they truly want.