Da Vinci and Michelangelo were both fond of saying ogni pittore dipinge se, that “every painter portrays himself.” What they meant wasn’t that artists insert themselves into their own paintings (although they often literally do) but that ultimately art is created under a subtle belief that artist’s lens is in fact reality. The scene that an artist portrays is defined by how they see themselves and its difficult to know where to separate them.

In psychology this is often called the false consensus bias. It’s a belief that that your logic is logic and that the world is in step with your opinions. In everyday life, it’s how people overextend themselves and can’t see outside their own head.

Cynicism and sarcasm are highly underrated tools for avoiding this. My friends email each other examples of people saying things so lame that they couldn’t have possibly considered anything other than their own opinion of themselves. And that mindset is the leading cause of most douche chills. (my two favorites are here and here) We all know what’s coming if we do that stuff ourselves.

I see this with emails or people’s bios all the time, especially with people my age. They’re always these grandiose, absurdly generous descriptions of themselves. Like they never once thought “what would happen if someone who knew me saw this?” Same goes for people’s blogs. What do you get out of being overwrought? And why don’t you have any friends who call you out on it?

You know what you think of yourself and what you think you can become. If you’re on point, people will come to agree with it in time. For now, maybe try to come to terms with the reality of where you are and consider what that might look like to objective people with a few feet of distance. It’s ok to filter your actions and words through what others think, so long as you don’t believe it. It’ll prevent you from looking like a jackass.

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