Lorie Grace posted an interesting blog and I added some additional information so that she might have a better understanding of why we have trouble seeing ourselves as others see us.
Dear Lorie Grace,
This is going to be more detailed but I think it may be spot on in answer to your blog. I wrote this to another girl but it is applicable to all of us. I told her that she was beautiful. She was kind of taken back by the complement.
Human heads have an interesting way of seeing. They don't actually see what is there but rather see what they expect to see. Works real good for everyday things because it allows faster processing - see part of the picture, fill in the rest from memory. The bad news is that you don't see yourself as you actually are, how others see you. You see a composite of all the other times you have seen yourself. Unfortunately, for some of that time you were a boy (who probably didn't look near as good as you do now.) All you can do is understand and listen to what others are telling you. Yes, some of it may be fluff, but most of it will be real. Hear it enough and you can start to believe it. You are beautiful.
Believe me about the way your brain works and I'll bet the stares were the same any well put together women gets. Remember, the guys have no idea about your past they are just visually driven machines looking to make a donation wherever it may be left. The girls are jealous wishing they could look that good :~).
I learned that lesson from a couple of life experiences. There is a video that has a lot of examples of people filling in the blanks. They actually see something but they report seeing something else because it is what they expect to see. The training video is called the "Power of Paradigms" by Joel Barker - http://www.atsmedia.com/joel_barker_videos.asp.
Another part came from when I was a pilot in Viet Nam. Actually in Laos and Cambodia. I was a Forward Air Controller and my job was as a traffic cop on the Ho Chi Minh Trail stopping traffic bringing supplies south. I got to know the area so well that when something was different we would quickly recognize it because it was signs of something hidden. I found lots of boats and barges on the MeKong that were used to bring supplies across. It was a lot of fun blowing them up.
Point is that trans people have a lot of trouble with their self images because they can't see what is really there. Only answer I can give you is take lots of pictures, believe what your friends tell and enjoy the stares of those who see you in public. Stares are a good thing if you are put together well and looking good.
One other thing a lot of us have to overcome is our shame based upbringing. We were different and lots of not good things happened to us. There are two good books that will help you break the code. Cheaper then lots of time with a shrink and you can do them at your own pace. Both are by Dr. Sandra Wilson. The first is "Released from Shame." The second is "Hurt People Hurt People."