When someone relatively close to you, such as a parent or grandparent openly tells you what kind of person they perceive you as, you will take it in whole heartedly and react how you were perceived by that person. You think about what they had to say in your mind and you start to believe it yourself. This is called reflected appraisal.
When I was a teenager, I would sneak out of the house, go to outrageous parties, drink, talk back, skip school, fight, and just plain cause havoc around the city. I was called a bad influence to my step sister, who was two years younger then I. The one thing I did have going for me was my personality. In my senior year of high school, I was chosen to represent the Class Act feature in the county newspaper, the Jackson Citizen Patriot. It talked about how good of a student I was in a couple of brief sentences. I attended an alternative school that a lot of people in the city would look down on because they thought my school was full of rejects. So, the fifteen minutes of fame didn’t make a difference to me, until one day my mom was introducing me to one of her colleagues. She talked about how proud she was about the article and how good of a girl I was. Watching those words come out of her mouth surprised me. It made me open my eyes and realize that I wasn’t a bad kid. I may have made some irresponsible decisions, but I never got into gangs, got into trouble with the police, or did drugs. I found myself liking school more, graduating on time, on the honor roll, and was a speaker at graduation.
Prior to this experience I would have labeled myself as a bad influence. When my mom expressed her perception of me being a good girl, I looked outside of what others said and I agreed with her. I was proud too.
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