Friday, 16 December 2016

December 16, 2016 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Do you like getting your picture taken?  Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and said, “UGH!|” or even “YUCK!?”

   A few years ago, during a research study, participants were shown pictures of different people.  I can’t remember exactly what the researchers were studying, but the pictures weren’t part of the study, except as part of the “control.”

   As is often the case when one starts looking into human behaviour, the study was derailed a bit when the researchers noticed the reactions to the pictures.  If a participant saw a picture of someone else they rated it as pleasant or a good shot.  Yet, if the participant happened to be shown a picture of themselves, they rated the picture as terrible or a poor shot, even if the picture was a very flattering one.

   At first the researchers thought the responses - which, again, had nothing to do with what they were actually researching - were just a result of our very human tendency to be harder and more critical of ourselves than we are of others.  And, while that was definitely a factor, they realized that there was something more involved.

  After switching gears on their research and running more studies, what they finally discovered was that the reason most of us are not happy with photos of ourselves - and this also includes people such as models who are photographed for a living - is because that is not how we believe we look!

   We literally can’t see how we look to others, except by looking at photographs, but our perception of what we really look like is based on our reflections in a mirror, which is a REVERSED image.

   Thus, we aren't happy with photos of ourselves because they don’t match the visual patterns we are used to seeing every day in our mirrors.

   When we see everything that is going on around us in the world today, and bounce between the extremes of despair and happiness, we should ask ourselves if what we are seeing is a true image of what is there, or are we seeing a reflection that just needs a little help to be turned around to create a better view?  Sometimes just looking at situation from the other side can make all the difference.


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