You know that feeling you get when you enter a room of people who have a negative impression of you? You can feel the judgment in the air. The disapproval shows up in facial expressions and comes across in inflection and tone of voice. Perception is reality, and few things are more hurtful than being perceived incorrectly, especially when you've done nothing to earn it. What do you do when you find yourself on the receiving end of a negative spin campaign? How do you deal with being trapped inside someone else's misconception of you?

Photo: hulu

Here are 11 tips to help you overcome other people's false perceptions:

1. Is it false? Be honest with yourself. Is there any validity to what’s being said about you? How many times and from how many sources have you received this same exact critique? Sometimes perceptions are based in truth. If this is the case, put your ego aside and take advantage of this opportunity for self-examination. No one is perfect. There is zero shame in owning your flaws and working to better yourself.

2. Who cares? If, on the other hand, the accusations are a complete and total work of fiction, then who cares what they think? 

3. With whom are you dealing? Toxic people are toxic, but if you refuse to participate in their games, they’ll eventually find another target, and another, and another, until they eventually implode on themselves.

Photo: Mean Girls

4. But why? Few things are more hurtful than being seen through the clouded filter of the false perceptions of others opinions. You might never understand what drives someone to invest this kind of effort into fabricating stories and altering people’s perceptions of you. Whatever their motive, it has nothing to do with you. This is their issue, not yours.

5. Get it out. Of course you’re angry! Someone has literally gone out of their way to fabricate a whole false narrative about you. Use that frustration productively. Burn it off at the gym, take it to the basketball court, use it to finetune your goals. That’s how you turn negative energy into positive fuel.

6. What’s at stake? Ask yourself, What’s the worst that can come from this? Does it have the potential to negatively impact my coins, my freedom, or the perception of those who matter? If not, it's probably not worth your time.

Photo: Lemonade 7. Pay attention. Dismiss the drama, but not the lessons. Take note of who’s participating, liking, sharing and instigating the shenanigans. Situations like this can expose where you really stand with people.

8. To fix it or not to fix it? Should you go back and dispute each lie, untangle every knot and re-try your case in the court of public opinion? Or should you just let it go? Only you know the answer, but sometimes the more effort you put into proving someone wrong, the more you make them look right. 

Photo: pandawhale.com9. Don’t be shady boots. Whether you choose to confront the situation head on or let it run its course, do it with integrity. Don't be petty. Avoid the temptation to gossip and kill the subliminal retaliatory status updates. Fighting fire with fire only creates more fire.

10. Stop the cycle. If you must talk about it, vent wisely. Talk to someone you can really trust or confine your rant to the pages of your journal, but be aware of the language you use and the picture you paint. Words are powerful, and the way karma is set up, speaking negatively of others only invites more of the same. Be the bigger person and break that toxic cycle.


11. Stay focused. If trivial pettiness is the worst thing that's happening in your life, you're doing pretty well. Life is good. Count your blessings and focus on what matters.

Once perceptions have been set, they can be hard to overcome. Normal mistakes and regular missteps are magnified through the lens of those misconceptions. Once someone decides to dislike you, there is very little you can do to change their opinion. So, how do you overcome people's false perception of you? Know who you are. Don't let the way people attempt to define you actually define you. Keep it cute, stay joyful and pay them no mind.

Photo: youtube

The transition into adulthood isn’t an easy one. Navigating relationships, managing workplace politics, hitting those milestones on schedule— don’t be fooled, no one knows what they’re doing. There will be all kinds of fumbles, blunders and awkward missteps along the way. If you’re constantly wondering to yourself, “Am I doing this right?” Welcome. This is just the place for you.

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