Self perception is perhaps the most influential means by which any of us, but most particularly children and adolescents, gauge themselves against the yardstick of public opinion. What units of measure are employed to form self perception judgments has been decreed by society's rules and regulations regarding what is desirable and not so desirable to keep the group humming along in an effective manner.
How we think we appear to the world, our dress, hair, skin color, how we hold ourselves, the actions we do, the food we eat, how we breath, talk, cock our heads and the list can go on ad infinitum all contribute to self perception. And self-perception is particularly important to children and adolescents. The process of figuring out who we are and becoming comfortable with the results can-and usually is-fraught with anxiety, self-doubt and painful realizations. Peer pressures, those pressures brought to bear by those who would make fun of us if we are in any way different from what has been deemed 'the norm' can make or break a young person.
Factors affecting one's self perception are not only coming from religious, societal, and peer pressures but also-and sometimes it seems primarily these days-from the media. Most particularly the factors are being put forth by the media in all its glory. Not only are advertisers showing everyone how they should act, dress and what they should eat, but the actions portrayed on fictional representations of life have gotten into the act.
Most of the developed world watches the same TV shows and can enjoy the same movies along with similar commercials in the appropriate language and all these exemplify how, in order to be properly adorned and presented in a way that will be socially acceptable, we must present ourselves to others. Unfortunately there are misconceptions and self perception can be faulty.
Self perception is a matter of degrees. In other words we may think are purveying ourselves in a certain way but others may not see it that way. And self perception among those victims of peer pressure can result in hurt feelings and even more complicated issues.
Not everybody is physically or mentally equipped to live up to the role models that are touted from every corner of the media as well as that which may be suggested by family and friends. Self perception in cases where no matter what one wears he or she may still appear to be overweight may result in hurt feelings, particularly when talking about children and adolescents who above all else seem to be bent on being as similar to one another as possible. The overweight adolescent may through self perception feel that he or she looks marvelous and when told otherwise by peers may feel terrible.
And self perception works the other way as well. Someone may feel that they look horrible, no one could possibly like them, there personality is horrendous and they shouldn't even appear in public. Whereas those seeing and interacting with this person may perceive them in a completely different light and actually be trying to emulate them!
Self perception is a fickle tool to use when trying to fit it. Particularly for those going through the childhood and adolescent years when fitting in is deemed so necessary to survival. Peer pressures can affect self perception and rarely do our self perceptions agree with how others actually see us.