See Your Way to Self-Esteem
More than we realize, our emotions determine how we see, what we see, and what we do not see. If we are bored, we see with eyes that are listless and dull; if we are angry, we see things to be angry about; if we are envious, we see what fuels our feelings of envy.
To grow and be happy, we need to make these visual tendencies more conscious.
When we understand our visual nature, we realize that, instead of seeing and appreciating another person, we may instead be “seeing” how we think that person is seeing us. We are entangled emotionally in what others are thinking and feeling as they look back at us. The faces of others become mirrors in which we see ourself, as determined by our unconscious willingness to hold on to a negative self-concept.
Even if another person is being respectful, the person with low self-esteem can still feel that he or she is being looked down upon. On a conscious level, the low self-esteem individual is often eager to be seen in a positive light, and he or she might be desperate for approval. This still covers up the expectation of being seen in a negative light—which is a secret willingness to experience oneself in that old, unresolved way.
So our perceptions are more emotionally tainted than we realize. Just below the level of our awareness, our visual drive or emotional imagination can be working against our well-being. This book describes how the emotional imagination can be usurped by the unconscious mind, producing negative and painful impressions of who we are and what our life is all about.
Under ideal circumstances, our emotional imagination enhances our creativity and fulfillment. But beneath the surface of awareness, our emotional imagination can be producing wasteful speculations about the future, painful reflections on the past, and hurtful considerations about how we are being deprived, controlled, or rejected in the present.
Our emotional imagination maintains and reinforces a victim mentality. If we don’t become aware of the process, we will, through our emotional imagination, see ourselves and the world with the intention of absorbing or recycling negative emotions that are unresolved within us.