People treat you according to what you think about yourself. This is not a new notion. To demonstrate it, let me tell you a story I read in one of the psychology textbooks.

Once Sir Francis Galton, one of the most notable figures in the history of psychology, decided to conduct a kind of experiment.

Before his daily walk through the streets of London, he persuaded himself: “I am a disgusting person and everyone in England hates me!” After that, he focused on this belief for a few minutes and then went for a walk as he usually did.

However, it just seemed that everything was going as usual. In fact, the following happened: at every step, Francis caught unfriendly and contemptuous glances of passers-by on him.

Many turned away from him, and a couple of times he heard curse language in his address. When Galton reached the port, one of the movers hit the scientist with his elbow so hard that he plopped down in the mud.

It seemed that even the animals had this hostile attitude towards him. As the scientist passed by a harnessed horse, it kicked him in the thigh, so that he fell to the ground again. Galton tried to elicit some sympathy from eyewitnesses, but to his surprise, people were on the side of the animal.

Galton hurried home, without waiting until his thought experiment would lead to even more serious consequences.

We can draw two important conclusions from this story:

  1. People treat you according to what you think about yourself.
  2. There is no need to inform others about your self-esteem and emotional state. Be sure that they feel it anyway.

You see, communication is not only about words. There are also non-verbal cues such as your body language and facial expressions that betray the level of your self-confidence. And other people can read these cues even though they are not always aware of it.

In fact, this is where the secret of charismatic personalities might be hidden. Have you ever thought about why some people have a magnetic personality that evokes trust and fondness in others for no obvious reason? Non-verbal communication cues play a huge role in that. Charismatic people usually feel very good about themselves but also approach others with kindness and understanding.

People treat you according to your own self-perception. To make this truth work to your advantage, invest some time into positive self-suggestion. Say positive affirmations to boost your self-esteem and self-belief every morning, and you will see that very soon, you will indeed feel much more confident and content about yourself.

And this is when you will notice that other people treat you with more respect and kindness too.

Valerie Soleil, B.A., LL.B.

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the power of misfits

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