So much of what we think about ourselves is actually shaped by our perception of what others think of us.

Although there are people who are narcisstic and vain, most folks generally speaking rate themselves lower than others when it comes to looks, intelligence and overall competence.

We have all been dumfounded I think by the seemingly has-it-all-together person who confides in his or her own lack of self-confidence or their stated displeasure with how they look.

It always amazes me when I see a beautiful girl who is concerned about her weight although it doesn’t appear why she should be. It must be hard to live in such a self-criticizing state.

Certaily, I fit the mold of an own worst critic. Throughout my life I have really borne the brunt of false or overvalued ideas about my self and how I appear to others. I have scarcely acknowleged that I can be a good-looking man at times and at times when I look at myself in the mirror, I feel displeasure that colors my mood for hours.

In recent months I have lost more than 20 lbs from diligent exercise and smart eating. Where I thought that a weight loss would be a cure-all for some of the feelings I have, instead I have come to realize that confidence in ones appearance and abilities is about more than looking in the mirror and seeing the things you like, but more so accepting your limitations, flaws and mistakes while factoring in that we can never really know what others think or feel about us.

I’ve never regarded myself as handsome. I suspect that to some people, I am and to others I’m anything but. If it were were a poll and 90 percent of Americans thought I looked like a burn victim and USA Today, Time, Newsweek and the New York Times detailed the results, in the end it would be my reaction to the findings that caused me displeasure, not the findings alone.

It is our reaction and our patterns of thinking that prompt us to feel one way or another. It is our choice to feel that way.

Certainly, I am not George Clooney when it comes to looks, but I am also not Sloth from The Goonies. In fact, were I to find myself in between, I may be closer to Clooney than to sloth. Regardless, perception of perception is a lost cause. One person can hold their feelings in, while others are blunt. Some say one thing but have a different view inside of themselves.

What attracts people–particularly a lover–is confidence and building confidence is not easy. I suspect there is practicality as well as the metaphysical to consider and right now, I’m on my lunch break and can’t delve into it. After all, my hair needs a little straightening, my tie some adjusting and if I do it just right, I may be able to tuck this now oversized shirt in enough so it doesn’t look like I’m fat.