My understanding is that there are three perceptions of self that make up the whole view we create of ourselves, to ourselves on a basic level.
1) How we view ourselves
2) How we view other people, and
3) How we think other people perceive us.
You might think it’s just a given that people can understand these things that contribute towards your identity, internally and externally. But that’s not always so. Did you ever meet someone who seems to give no thought to how others view them? Some people just don’t care, I’m aware of that, but others completely lack the ability to view themselves from an outside viewpoint. That old saying we have of ‘put yourself in their shoes’ is for this very concept I believe. But not everyone actually can it seems, so it’s just a phrase to them.
Firstly though, there is how you view yourself. The perception of who you are, what you are and how you came to be. Formed through various experiences and actions, people, places, thoughts, feelings and time. You. But it’s not that simple is it, because along the way through all of that, there have been outside influences which have helped to shape that viewpoint and not everyone has had the time, space or incliniation in their life to give it real thought. So is it really you?
Secondly, how we view others. This is also based around you, and what you have taken in over your lifetime as with above. Many people have a judgemental view or like to presume things about others based on those perceptions, rather than facts. Others take a different view and fact find to build a sound assessment of someone, but it will still be based on perceptions usually, even once in possession of the facts.
And thirdly, how we think others view us, because we can’t really know for sure even if they tell us, we don’t see through others eyes, so can only have a projected imaginary view of this. Within that, that there are some people who have no concept of what others think of them, or the view they have, but we presume everyone can. We like to think though, that most people are able to understand that other people will see them in a certain way if they behave or act in a certain way. This is also influenced by a number of things, mainly how you present yourself to the outside world. Many people have suffered disappointment at not being viewed as they wished, although they have no idea why. The expectation not living up to reality. On both sides.
Perceptions of how we think we are meant to be and how we believe others should see us, is often at a discord to reality, (which is itself perceived) but possibly is why some people latch onto delusional thinking. It’s easier for them to remain in their own construct, rather than understand and learn about other peoples and yourself. And they often argue or fight to keep their delusions in place because it’s easier and familiar and take no work at all. It can just remain. It can sometimes be a long arduous process to think outside of yourself, but one that seems really important, even if it’s just to get to know yourself a bit better.