There is often a world of difference in the way we see ourselves and how we are viewed by others.
This week First Minister Peter Robinson announced that the North is now a “prime location” for overseas investors and hailed the benefits of economic co-operation between North and South.
While this may appear to be good news, it starts to unravel on closer inspection.
Certainly, a number of large multinational companies have chosen to invest in the North and provide much needed jobs. However, such announcements are few and far between.
Whether or not the North is a prime location for foreign investment is open to debate and no doubt the DUP leader would readily provide a list of our attributes to support his claim.
It would be highly unlikely, however, that such a list would make reference to the year-long flag protests by loyalists - stoked up by DUP posturing - or the violence and ongoing street demonstrations around contentious loyal order parades.
Nor would it be likely to include his party’s refusal to sign up to a compromise agreement on the Haass proposals on dealing with flags, parading and the past.
Reneging on power sharing commitments and blocking the redevelopment at the former Long Kesh site would probably be absent too.
These are the things that keep the North in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in other parts of the world and, as a result, would cause potential investors to think twice.
His support for cross border economic co-operation, while certainly welcome, also rings somewhat hollow when taken alongside comments by senior DUP figures following attempts by the Dublin government to help solve our problems here.