You have probably heard the phrase, “Perception is Reality.” It’s common in everyday language and we say it just as often as we say hello. This phrase is true, but the way that I have seen it interpreted has been a little off. When I hear people say it, it’s as if they are saying that when we perceive something, it is the reality that is being created in the moment. Actually, how we perceive does not make our reality. It’s the opposite. Our reality creates our perceptions. We perceive something a certain way, because of who we are in our worlds.
We don’t see the world as it is – we see the world as we are.”Amanda Blake
Have you ever been a passenger in a car, and are freaking out because of the way that the driver is driving? For me, it is almost always likely to be an argument between fiance’ and me. I feel that every time he is driving, he is not be super aware to other cars on the road. Whether he is going awfully slow and holding up traffic or too fast and putting us at risk of an accident; either way, I am furiously upset at the way he is driving. For him on the other hand, he feels like he is going at the speed of traffic (when I think he is going too fast), or that we have more than enough time to get to where we need to go (when I think that he is going too slow). It drives me nuts every single time! And, every single time, I say to him, “I should’ve driven.” And his response to me is mostly likely to be, “I was thinking that.”
My perception of the way that he is driving is based on my reality of being in a car accident or have been a witness to one. I have also been in cars where the driver was literally driving so fast that they had to step on the brakes quickly or move into another lane to prevent an accident from happening. My reality is that driving can either get you to where you need to go, or it could be your last ride of life; so drive safely.
Now, go to our current day as we all deal with the Covid-19 pandemic that is affecting people by the thousands and killing people every day. There are some of us that are looking at this issue as the end of the world. The stock market is dropping, we have to shelter-in-place, lay-offs and small business closures, and we cant find basic essential items for our home, like toilet paper. These are all facts and it is reality, but sometimes it’s the only focal point for them, and they cannot see anything outside of it. Then there are others that are taking this as an opportunity to be closer to family, to learn something new, or to work on their businesses. The way you perceive Covid-19 tells a story about your reality. Are you an optimist and seeing the opportunity in this crisis? Are you seeing the love, care and concern for people that were on opposing sides prior to this happening? If you are an optimist, it’s likely that somewhere in life, you learned that everything is possible. That we can get through this. That there is something to be learned in this, and we will be better off on the other side.
How do you become aware of how your reality has created your perceptions? The next time that you find yourself in a disagreement, needing to make a decision, or getting annoyed by what someone is doing, notice how you are viewing that. Write it down if you can. Are you speaking words that invite opportunity, or words that put up barriers? Where in your world created that perspective? What was the situation or event? What was the result? After you do this, you will be able to better open yourself to seeing more perspectives and it will give you greater understanding of yourself and others.
Remember, your reality will cause you to perceive things in a certain way. It is what you have learned to be. You can change your perspectives, but you must be open to creating a new reality too.