Friday, June 6, 2014

Color My World

Life is all about perception. I remember when I was in the ninth grade and my English teacher Bickell introduced this concept to me. It was life-changing at the time--something I'd never heard before. He talked to his often about seeing things from different angles, never accepting our reality as fact but, rather, a perception that changed based on who was looking.

Recently I was talking to a friend who happens to be several years older than me. She was telling me about an experience she's had where she feels rejected by someone whom she dearly loves. I made an off-handed comment that it's all perception. She suddenly stopped me. "It's what? What does that mean? Stop! Tell me about that!" She'd never heard that blew her away.

But it's a concept I think about a lot. Life is made up of perceptions that aren't necessarily--or usually--reality. We view life through the lens of our experience, beliefs, and values. Our agonies and joys culminate into a perception of an event, causing us to create meaning that may be 100% our own rather than reality. And that is why a single event can scar one person while another walks away unscathed.

The perceptions of others make us vulnerable. There have even times when I've considered just hiding away in my house because one never knows how others will perceive one's words or actions. If I think about it too much, it can throw me right over the edge.

But that is what brings truth to the reality that, when people are hateful or rude, or mean...or viciously talk about you behind your back...well, it's about them, not you. It's their perception; their reality. And since I can't control others...well, sometimes I just have to remind myself that I can't control how others perceive me.

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