We’re always in our own shoes. Nobody else will ever know our thoughts, dreams, or regrets to the extent we do; they don’t even get particularly close. For most of us, we don’t even understand why we think the way we do, so it’s damn near impossible to understand someone else’s thoughts and emotions.
But that relationship shifts drastically when we pivot from the mental to the physical. On the day-to-day, we see other people just doin’ their thing. I see my friends in the hallway and I watch my teachers lecture for nearly an hour each day. They smile and frown, laugh and (occasionally) cry. Their heads tilt one way or the other. Their brows furrow in frustration, or raise in excitement.
We don’t see that from ourselves. We feel those emotions in the moment. Pride, sadness, frustration, validation, gratification, and so many more. But we don’t see how they fit onto our faces. Nearly every time we see ourselves, it’s some sort of premeditated event. Generally, you know when your picture will be taken, or you willingly look into a mirror. You’d be hard-pressed to find a candid photo or video of yourself (probably for good reason). Be it reflection or photo, most of the images we see of ourselves are deliberate. They aren’t spontaneous, and don’t show us in our natural state. The emotions and expressions that actually give us personality aren’t represented in a mirror.
So when we look into a mirror, I don’t think we see the truest reflection of ourselves. All the little tics that make up our demeanor are absent. And so, our perception of ourselves and others are skewed a little bit. We can’t even begin to imagine what everyone else is thinking, but we also aren’t totally in touch with our own appearances. What we broadcast to the world each and every day, we hardly ever see.