An Eric Hoffer Quote About How We See Ourselves Through Others

“However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate, as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.” – Eric Hoffer, “longshoreman philosopher”

I find it very intriguing so many philosophers come from working class roots. Eric Hoffer was a longshoreman, an author, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. He is probably best known for his first book, The True Believer from 1951. If you asked Hoffer, he would tell you his best book was the Ordeal of Change. In his lifetime, he wrote ten books and several papers.

Self-esteem is often related to the perception of others which is incredibly intriguing if you look at the word on its own merit. As stated in the quote, even when we guard against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. This is great if those who have the image of us are trying to lift us up. But what happens when that is not the case? Do we then fall prey to the pervasive attitudes and ideals of those who are most influential in our lives? Parents, friends, family, leaders, peers, managers???

How do we develop a reflection of ourselves from the eyes of others? What words might they be using that would have us believing what they say versus what we say we believe about what’s possible? Two philosophies can make all the difference. First, you can do, be, or become whatever you are willing to commit to learning and becoming. Or, you can’t do that… Who do you think you are to do, be, or become… No one from around here has ever done any thing like that before… You’re not smart enough to… You’ll never amount to anything, look around you… You get the idea……

We must guard our minds with the same level of vigilance we guard our children, or the same way a mother bear guards her cubs. We all know what happens if you get too close to bear cubs… Guard Your Mind! Be vigilant!

Author: Bobby Kountz

Bobby Kountz is a former Oncology Nurse, a seasoned Oncology Sales Professional, and Personal Development Enthusiast. He is also an Inspirational Writer, Professional Speaker, Personal Development and Career Transition Coach, Dedicated Community Volunteer, Social Equality Activist, Mental Health Activist, and Loving Father and Husband.