Mind & Introspection Illusion: How People View & Understand Themselves

Introspection illusion psychology how people see themselves

What is the Introspection Illusion?

According to psychologist Emily Pronin, a psychologist at Princeton University, when humans judge others, it is by their actions; however, we judge ourselves based on our values, opinions, and thoughts. We are quick to judge the morality and/or ethical standing of someone else. But when it comes to us, we have no problem viewing ourselves as completely “proper”. We always seem to be on a slightly higher horse when it comes to others. Our view of ourselves is always under a rose-colored glass.

This biasedness of ours is called the Introspection Illusion. We see traits such as being immoral, aggressive, ignorant as negative and hence assume we possess none of these qualities. This distorted view leads to a self-image based on our internal awareness rather than our actions.

Introspection illusion psychology how people see themselves

Improving Self-Understanding

The self-understanding process is a healing process that enhances mind peace directly. We are often engaged in self-deception, which is holding conflicting ideas within ourselves without being aware of the conflict inside, which leads to personal issues such as depression, stress, cognitive dissonance, denial, anger, fear, hatred, and many other negative stressors. These make the mind and the body restless and decrease resistance for ideas and opinions that oppose our convictions.

Because of this toxicity, it is important that we rid ourselves of the negativity and the burden off our shoulders. Experts have a few solutions whereby our better self-awareness will lead to inner peace for a slightly healthier if not a completely healthy life.

Educating the mind

Introspection Illusion has a treatment and it is just as simple as informing people about it. Professional help usually helps people be aware of their inner, mental processes which sometimes makes it easier to embrace them. This increases mindfulness which leads to better forms of introspection subtracting the illusion bit from it.

Inspection of the body

The process of self-understanding is just as much physical as it is mental. Every fiber in our body has a memory capacity. Little RAM chips, if you will. Experiencing pain is a blessing. Notice where pain occurs and try to figure out why something hurts.

Spend time every day to let mindfulness seep into your body. Take occasional deep breaths and focus on how air flows in and out of your body. Scan your body everyday especially in areas where muscles are made use of daily. These body parts include the legs, back, arms, chest, neck, face, and head area. Massage around the temples and feel the difference after stressful activities/days. This will help you keep away from certain activities that negatively affect your health.

Place a limit

Do not overwhelm yourself with tasks and chores. Often times, we sign up for activities and tasks just to keep ourselves busy. This will lead to you neglecting your emotions more than you already have and you will end up pushing negative stressors at the back of your mind. However, this could be detrimental as ignoring a problem thinking it will go away is the ultimate worst technique to deal with issues.

Emotional Labelling

This is a simple technique that helps you befriend your emotions. A way in which you familiarize yourself with your feelings if you will.

This is done by marking your emotions as you experience them. However, the tricky part is that you do so without judging your emotions. Sometimes, the best way to deal with something is to live it out. This is the strategy to be applied with your emotions while labeling them just so you know what the full course is like. The point of this exercise is to set your emotions aside to keep them from clogging your judgment and your behavior.


Try your best to relax. Let things fall in place because there is no such thing as controlling all the events that take place in your life. There are a couple of things you can practice to rid yourself of the various worries you experience.

Deep breathing: The best part about deep breathing is that you can do it anywhere and anytime. Drawing a breath through your nose and releasing it through the mouth is the proper way to breathe deeply. This technique helps to pace out your heartbeat and regulate your blood pressure. The two factors that often get deregulated when one is stressed.

Exercise: Working out or practicing yoga usually helps redirect negative emotions and energy. It also releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger positive feelings thereby reducing levels of stress.

Take up a hobby: Hobbies like painting and coloring help the release of stress build up in a body which causes the body to tense up. Experts say that this is caused by the effect each color has on an individual. Color Therapy is a proper technique used by several industry experts to treat their clients. This technique has deemed to be very useful since it was discovered.

Wake up early

We hear this too often in our daily lives and it is no coincidence that most successful people practice the art of waking up during the early hours of the day. Waking up early offers peacefulness and isolation in the morning that is important to introspect and plan your day ahead. This helps deal with overwhelming tasks throughout the day as you might have a tentative plan to deal with them already.

Practice patience

Unfortunately, we cannot control what life throws our way. That is a given. However, we do have the flexibility to react to it differently. For example, if life gives you lemons, you don’t always have to be sour about it. You can always make lemonade!
On the bright side, because life is always throwing a curveball at us, we can use these events to our advantage with each subsequent event helping with strengthening our use of patience.

Additionally, what has proven to help most people is counting to 10 all the while taking at least 2 deep breaths. This increases blood flow to the brain and washes out the trigger of negative hormones and helps us calm down to react rationally to a situation.

Furthermore, according to Bernard Meltzer, a famous American radio personality, for each event that takes place in your life, it is often useful to ask yourself three questions when replying: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it helpful?

Practicing Self-Observation

practicing self observation

Observing yourself is a self-awareness technique. Busy with our chores, we often tend to cater to our needs in the end, if at all. The following exercises can be carried out to practice self-observation.

  • Take deep breaths followed by a pause. This is especially applicable when you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation.
  • Observe your surroundings and try naming five things that you see.
  • Listen intently and identify five different things you hear.
  • Identify five things you can feel in contact with your body.
  • Repeat all of the above simultaneously.

It is important to realize that self-awareness is not a straight-forward process. Even after you have mastered all or most meditation and mindfulness techniques, there will still be room for improvement and there will still be bad days. However, a minor setback must not make you think all your efforts have gone frugal. It is easy to get discouraged and give up when you do not see immediate results. Impatience is one of the major reasons as to why most of us have put ourselves at the end of our “to-do list”.

Patience leads to beautiful things and if we try enough, at the end of our endurance journey might be new and improved us with renewed mental peace.

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