Yesterday I got a chance to see myself from a different angle, literally.
Sometimes we get so tied up in what we see when we look at ourselves, we forget that we appear differently to others, even from a few feet away.
My wife had taken a candid photo of me from behind while I was playing a game on my computer and then sent it to me. I didn’t check my phone for a while, as I’m not especially attached to using my phone, and I had no idea she’d been watching me at all, let alone photographing me.
We laughed about it and I complimented her on cutting the hair around my neck so neatly (I’d clippered my own hair recently and needed her help with the back). Then I studied the photo a little more.
It was a pretty normal scene, me sitting at the table on my computer.
I noticed how I was dressed, the smart/casual jumper and trousers combination, and how comfortable and relaxed I seemed. Two years ago I would have always been in jeans and t-shirt with a cartoon print on the front. I decided to change my style around the time I was turning 30 and I was glad to see in that photo that I looked just as natural in my new style as I had in the old. For me this was a great reassurance, as I had felt almost like a phoney when I started changing my style, and now it just appears to work for me. I’d also transitioned from t-shirts to proper shirts and felt similar discomfort about the authenticity of the image I was trying to create, but actually I feel just as much myself in a shirt as I did in t-shirts. So with this insight, I feel more confident about the next hurdle, suits and blazers! It’s going to be tough, but if I can switch from t-shirts and jeans to shirts and trousers, surely I can progress to suits and blazers as well?
Anyway, besides how I was dressed, I also noticed my form. I’ve often felt uncomfortable and unsure about how I looked. For many years I didn’t perceive myself as having very much masculinity, but in this photo I had a feeling of solidity and strength, things I associate with masculinity. It’s difficult to transition from thinking of yourself as a young adult, whom you might still be referring to as a boy, to a full grown adult that carries the title of man, but looking at that photo, I was sure I was looking at myself as a man.
We talked about the photo and the impressions I got from it, and my wife told me that she had seen me that way a long time ago. It just goes to show, sometimes seeing yourself from a different perspective can help you better align your mental image of yourself with that of others, and it will probably make you a little bit better as a person too.